Sick bay: Urlacher on track for Detroit?

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Sick bay: Urlacher on track for Detroit?

It wont be this weekend in Arizona, but the specter of Brian Urlacher returning for the game in Detroit against the Lions is seeming more and more possible, with coach Lovie Smith speaking in terms of getting the veteran middle linebacker back.
The key may be whether the Bears can dispatch the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday, a game for which they hope to have NFL interception leader Tim Jennings and possibly defensive tackle Henry Melton, third among defensive tackles with six sacks despite missing the last game and a half.
The defense has performed well with reserves Geno Hayes against Minnesota and Blake Costanzo vs. Green Bay. But even a diminished Urlacher is viewed as the second-best linebacker in the corps.
But you know with hamstrings is just hard to say when you will get back, coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. I just know he's here, and some of the things he's doing is better than what it was before. But it's pretty hard to come back from a hamstring injury in a week or so.
That's why we just have to keep -- well, no, not keep, we have to play good football, this week against Arizona, and just bide time for him to get back.
A less obvious but significant concern, however, is the hamstring strain suffered by right tackle Jonathan Scott in the Green Bay loss. The Bears went through a reduced practice on Wednesday and Scott joined Urlacher as the only two players not to practice at least on a limited basis.
That includes No. 3 receiver Earl Bennett, coming back from a concussion, and pass rusher Shea McClellin (knee) as well as Hayes.
The Cardinals were without wide receiver Early Doucet (concussion) and safeties Rashad Johnson (hamstring) and James Sanders (foot). None of the three are starters, however.
Among those limited for the Cardinals were defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) and nose tackle Dan Williams (hamstring), two-thirds of the starting front in Arizonas 3-4 base. Also limited was starting linebacker Quentin Groves (foot). Williams was inactiveinjured for the Cardinals win last weekend over the Detroit Lions.

Photo: Thad Matta dons Ohio State basketball uniform

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Photo: Thad Matta dons Ohio State basketball uniform

Baseball is unique among the sports in requiring managers and coaches to suit up in the same uniforms the players wear.

Could you imagine football coaches having to wear pads and jerseys? Or basketball coaches ditching their suits for the sleeveless-and-shorts look?

Well, for better or for worse, you don't have to imagine any longer.

Before Ohio State players arrived Thursday for photos in the team's new uniforms, head coach Thad Matta decided to give the new duds a test run himself.

What resulted was one of the better pictures in recent Twitter memory.

I think Matta is starting a trend here. Time to bust out the petition to get all college hoops coaches to wear their teams' uniforms on the sideline.

Looking good, coach, though I doubt they'll let you wear that watch while you play.

Penn State AD says James Franklin is not on the hot seat

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Penn State AD says James Franklin is not on the hot seat

Is James Franklin on the hot seat?

Perhaps fans and observers think the Penn State head coach should be, but the Nittany Lions' athletics director certainly doesn't.

Sandy Barbour told the Altoona Mirror that Franklin is not on the hot seat and gave a complete vote of confidence in the coach, who's coming off a blowout 49-10 loss against Michigan.

"He's not on the hot seat, and he's not going to be on the hot seat in December," Barbour told the Mirror's Cory Giger.

"James is going to be our football coach. I believe in where this football program is going under James Franklin, and I think he's going to be our football coach, period."

Franklin is in his third season at the helm in Happy Valley, and while he's had his fair share of recruiting successes, he hasn't experienced much success on the field. After last weekend's loss to Michigan, Franklin is now 0-7 against ranked opponents since arriving at Penn State ahead of the 2014 season.

"When Penn State is where we ought to be, where we should be, where we're all striving to be, we absolutely should go toe to toe with anyone in the country. Clearly we're not there," Barbour said. "We're not a finished product. I don't think anybody thought we would be a finished product four games into the season.

"Was Saturday disappointing? Of course it was. But no one's more disappointed than our coaching staff and our student-athletes in our football program. So I certainly understand where our fans are coming from and the disappointment."

Back-to-back 7-6 finishes could be seen as mild successes, perhaps, considering the program is still working out from the shadow of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But Penn State's historic status as one of college football's power programs is certainly not applicable right now, and the Lions competing for any kind of championship seems completely unrealistic in the ultra-competitive Big Ten East Division.

All that has led plenty to believe that Franklin's job might be in jeopardy, but Barbour at least verbally put those notions to rest.

"I believe that James is the right guy, and yeah, he's going to be our football coach."