CSN to air live coverage of 'IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show' on Oct. 20

CSN to air live coverage of 'IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show' on Oct. 20

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO TO AIR LIVE COVERAGE OF IHSA PLAYOFF PAIRING RELEASE SHOW ON OCTOBER 20

CSN to carry LIVE announcement for every first round match-up on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 PM; to also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com & IHSA.tv

For the second-straight year, network to also carry live coverage of all eight IHSA Football Championships from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL (Nov. 23 & 24)

Bloomington, ILChicago, IL (October 16, 2012) -- In conjunction with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the IHSAs production partner, PlayOn! Sports, Comcast SportNet Chicago, the television home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, has announced it will once again be the home for postseason high school football in Illinois in 2012. This joint partnership will include the airing and live stream of the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show on October 20 and the IHSA Football State Championship games on November 23-24.

Comcast SportsNet will be the first media outlet to reveal the first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes during the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show, which will air LIVE from CSNs downtown Chicago studios on Saturday October 20 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fans can also watch the brackets unveiled via live interactive stream on the internet at IHSA.tv and CSNChicago.com.

Five weeks later, Comcast SportsNet will air the culminating event of the season as 16 teams from around the state converge upon the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium in Champaign. The Class 1A-4A championships will unfold on Friday, November 23, with the Class 5A-8A tilts coming on Saturday, November 24. The first game will kickoff at 10 a.m. each day, with each subsequent game to follow.

We are always focusing on providing our viewers with the very best local sports coverage available and being able to feature some of the finest preps athletes in the state of Illinois is something were definitely excited to showcase once again, said Phil Bedella, VPGM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show and our live coverage of all eight state title games will be an excellent addition to our already stellar line-up of local sports programming. We also appreciate the support of the IHSA and PlayOn! Sports in helping us make the pairings show and the championships available to our viewers.

High school football in Illinois is a special tradition, said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. From the unique playoff pairing show, to the state championships, it is a very special time for so many communities. Comcast SportsNet Chicagos commitment to the IHSA and our member schools means that we will be able deliver a superior product to a larger audience in Illinois and beyond.

The pairings show and title games will be distributed to Comcast SportsNet Chicagos entire viewing territory. Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com to find the exact channel locations in their area.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS FOR IHSA FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PAIRING RELEASE SHOW (Sat, Oct. 20 at 8pm)

Fans will be able to interact with the playoff pairing show in a real-time chat on Saturday, October 20 by visiting CSNChicago.com, where they can make comments or ask questions that may be read on the air. Fans can also interact via Twitter by using the hashtag IHSA. Teams who are gathering to watch the program are encouraged to submit photos to be shown during the program, by tweeting them with IHSA or directly to @IHSA_IL or emailing them to mtroha@ihsa.org. All submitted photos will be included in CSNChicago.coms online gallery.

The show will be hosted by Comcast SportsNet anchorreporter and Downers Grove North High School alum Susannah Collins, along with longtime IHSA TV Network personality Dave Bernhard and Kankakee Daily Journal prep writer & the states resident high school football bracketologist, Steve Soucie.

The show will feature:

-The release of the 32-team brackets in all eight classes, as all 256 playoff qualifiers find out their first round playoff opponents and path to Champaign for the first time.
-Highlights from nearly 100 schools from around the state
-Analysis from experts on nearly 100 teams from across Illinois
-Live look-ins and photos from schools hosting playoff pairing parties
-Interviews with coaches and media
-State Championship game picks from a statewide media panel
-CSN Interactive segments with fans

Nicole Darin will host IHSA on CSN Interactive, a live web stream and chat that will offer viewers the opportunity to interact directly with Collins, Bernhard and Soucie. Viewer questions and comments will be featured throughout the show and posted on CSNChicago.com.

Follow IHSA on Twitter @IHSA_IL (IHSA)

Follow Comcast SportsNet Chicago on Twitter @CSNChicago

Become a fan of IHSA on Facebook at http:www.facebook.comIHSA.IL

Become a fan of CSN Chicago on Facebook at http:www.facebook.comCSNChicago

Sunday on CSN: Sale, White Sox close series with O's

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Associated Press

Sunday on CSN: Sale, White Sox close series with O's

The White Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at noon. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 3.91)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Nick Kwiatkoski Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

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Nick Kwiatkoski Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Nick Kwiatkoski (LB), West Virginia

6’2” | 243 lbs.

2015 stats:

85 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 INT

Selection:

4th round, 113rd overall to Chicago Bears

Scouting Report:

"Kwiatkoski is known for his weight room work and has transitioned his body type from safety to inside linebacker. He has some physical limitations that could prevent him from becoming a full-­time starter, but his mean streak and ability to finish as a tackler could serve him well as a special teamer which is likely how he will have to make a team." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Evaluations will come, but Bears got players, traits, intangibles they wanted

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Evaluations will come, but Bears got players, traits, intangibles they wanted

And the grade for the Bears’ 2016 draft is… let’s wait at least until, as coach John Fox consistently says, the players get “on the grass.”

Collective bargaining rules prohibit real competition between offense, defense and special teams units. Five of the Bears’ top six picks were on defense, which aren’t allowed to hit the offensive guys until camp (and vice versa), and the sixth – second-rounder Cody Whitehair – is a guard, and linemen evaluations are really only worthwhile when pads come on.

But poor drafts undid two Bears general managers in the span of four years (Jerry Angelo after 2011, Phil Emery after 2014) and the evaluation process now moves from college campuses, bowl games and scouting events to NFL venues.

The Bears are in major need of GM Ryan Pace equalling or exceeding his first (2015) draft. His head coach thinks that’s happened.

“Obviously experience helps,” Fox said. “The more you do it, the better you get. Ryan’s got a great skill set and we’ve got a great relationship between the coaches and personnel. I think he does a tremendous job. I thought we had a tremendous draft a year ago and I anticipate this year being even better.”

Pace came to the Bears from a New Orleans Saints background heavy on the pro-personnel side. But one school of NFL thinking is that personnel evaluators with roots on the pro side are better suited to oversee drafts simply because their expertise is in seeing what NFL players look like.

Pace’s first draft netted starters at nose tackle (Eddie Goldman), center (Hroniss Grasu), running back (Jeremy Langford) and safety (Adrian Amos), plus theoretically wide receiver (Kevin White) but for a season-ending stress fracture to his left leg. Not all of those are guaranteed starting jobs this season because of the organization’s commitment to competition, but it was a better start than most recent Bears drafts.

Several key directions were evident within the nine picks made by Pace, coach John Fox and their staffs this extended weekend.

Defense, teams priorities

While the prime draft directive was best player available, the Bears moved around in the various rounds to suggest that they were targeting players, and most of them were on defense.

Of the Bears’ eventual nine picks, six were on defense. Of those, four were defensive backs. Among those are expected to be impact players on special teams, and if one wins a starting job the way Adrian Amos (fifth rounder) did last year, the 2016 draft stands to be special.

“You saw us struggle [on special teams] early in the season a year ago,” Fox said. “Getting to know your team, understanding how they react, the speed – trying to increase our team speed even to the deadline to start the season. We got better as the year went on and I think we’ll get better this year.”

QB-lite

Despite indications that the Bears liked some of the quarterbacks down in the mid-round range, they did not select a quarterback for the third time in the last four years. One scenario is that they would add a veteran backup, which they did with the signing of Brian Hoyer, who worked with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains as a Cleveland Brown, to a one-year deal.

“I like the idea of having an experienced backup there,” Pace said. “It’s important for that position and it just gives us security going forward. I think it’s key, like we’ve talked about in free agency, I love it when we have familiarity with these guys from coaches. I feel like it reduces some of the risk and some of the questions we may have. Dowell was passionate about this player and then watching the tape, I was to. I’m glad we got him in the mix.”

The Bears did trade two first-round picks to the Denver Broncos for Jay Cutler in 2009. But they have actually not drafted a quarterback higher than the fourth round (Kyle Orton, 2005) since 2003 when they took Rex Grossman in the first round.

With all of the draft choices (9) at their disposal going into this draft, the Bears made trades to move up or back for targeted players. None of them were quarterbacks.

Old guys

Not every pick will work out, but the Bears minimized risk in one area, taking college players with extensive resumes on tape, Pace’s stated standard of evaluation. Of Pace’s first eight picks, six of them were four-year college players, with only first rounder Leonard Floyd and fifth rounder Jordan Howard passing up their senior seasons for the NFL. Seventh-rounder Daniel Braverman missed his sophomore season due to injury but played the following two years and will turn 23 in September.

“Some of these guys are three or four year starters,” Pace said. “I think it talks about the caliber of players they are. A lot of these guys are team captains. We talk about that. But really it’s just individual tape and who are the best guys when looking at the talent. But the fact these guys are multi-year starters, and team captains, that is significant.”

Competition stoked

Pace and the entire coaching staff has wanted intense competition, not simply for starting jobs, but also for roster spots. And that was created with more than just numbers of picks, but the quality.

No. 1 pick Floyd projects to take a job from season-end regulars and sack leaders Lamarr Houston or Willie Young, both of whom reportedly were shopped during the early rounds of the draft.

Despite signing interior linemen Ted Lawson and Manny Ramirez this offseason, and drafting center Hroniss Grasu in the 2015 third round, the Bears used a second-round pick on Whitehair. It will be an impossibility for Grasu, Lawson, Ramirez and Whitehair to all start. And that does not factor in Matt Slauson, one of the Bears’ best linemen as recently as 2014 but now clearly on the outside looking in.

“I’m not getting into that,” Fox said. “It’s a fluid process. But right now we’ve helped build competition on our football team.”

The use of a third-round pick on defensive end Jonathan Bullard improves the pass rush of the down-linemen portion of the 3-4. But that likely comes at the expense of Ego Ferguson, returning from knee surgery, and Will Sutton, a seven-game starter and all-purpose defensive lineman but who had zero sacks for his two Bears seasons.

Just as with the interior offensive line, linebacker signings (Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan) did no signal any end to serious competition. The Bears used the first of their three fourth-round selections on West Virginia linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, whose abilities in coverage make him a threat to starters.

Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford impressed coaches enough that Matt Forte was not brought back. But the fifth-round pick spent on power running back Jordan Howard was not done for special teams.

‘Teams competition was addressed in part with the picks of two safeties and a cornerback in rounds 4-6. How much those additions challenge for starter jobs is one thing, but they were not picked up just to fill out a training-camp roster.

“The common trait with all these guys,” said Pace, “I would say is toughness and instincts, something we've emphasized and something we've drafted today for sure.”