Armando Allen vs. Lorenzo Booker

Allen gives the Bears more out of the backfield, but Booker provides more help on special teams. If either running back can show something in the area where the other player is stronger, that could be the deciding factor.

Isaiah Frey vs. Greg McCoy

The Bears chose Frey in the sixth round of the draft and McCoy in the seventh, probably with the idea that the best cornerback would stick. The competition has been close, Air Max 95and could be decided against the Browns.

Tyler Clutts vs. Kyle Adams

This is a fullback against a tight end. It's really a matter of how offensive coordinator Mike Tice wants to set up his offense. Adams is more versatile, but the Bears might miss Clutts' backfield blocking.

Jabara Williams vs. Patrick Trahan

These linebackers contributed on special teams last year, and special teams likely will be the deciding factor this season. With the release of Dom DeCicco and the uncertain status of Brian Urlacher, it is possible the Bears will keep both.

 
How will Urban Meyer get Ohio State to go all-out in 2012 despite a postseason ban?

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes Meyer will preach the importance of rebuilding the program.

“His appeal will be: Let’s make this the best we can,” said Herbstreit, the former Buckeyes quarterback. “Everyone will (one day) be celebrating Urban Meyer’s championship year. We want to be the class that people look back to and say: Without this foundation, we wouldn’t be where we are today. That’s the legacy these seniors want to leave.”

Herbstreit did interviews as part of an Allstate promotion called “60 Seconds of Mayhem Sweepstakes”cheap Air Max 95 in which two fans will compete in a field-goal kicking contest before the Sugar Bowl to win prizes. Enter at www.allstatecfb.com.

“I think Urban will do a great job of making this year matter,” Herbstreit said. “He has a senior class sitting there wondering: Everybody is talking about the future, but what about us? I think they have the right focus and energy and will hit the ground running.”

Quarterback Braxton Miller will be the key. Thrust into a starting role last season as a freshman after Terrelle Pryor’s suspension and Joe Bauserman’s ineffectiveness, Miller is viewed as the perfect signal-caller for Meyer’s read-and-react spread attack.

Most see Miller as raw, but Herbstreit said: “I think he will be off the charts. I’ve seen this kid play since he was a freshman at (Wayne High School, near Dayton, Ohio). To start as a 14-year old and compete at very high level against (Cincinnati) teams like Moeller and St. X (Xavier) … I don’t think people realize how good he can throw the football. You could not hand-pick a better offense to fit his style than an option-oriented, up-tempo offense with play-action pass.”

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

 
The Great Communicator was born in Illinois but made his name in California, playing George "The Gipper" Gipp in "Knute Rockne, All American" decades before ascending to the White House.

Northwestern now has its own Ronald Reagan in the secondary.

His name: Davion Fleming. Born in California, he's making his name in Illinois.

"A great communicator," cornerback Nick VanHoose said.Cheap Nike Air Max "He's a loud talker and has great signals. That's all you need, really."

So maybe it's a stretch to compare an NU safety to the nation's 40th president. But, hey, it's election season, so play along.

And do not overlook the importance of a safety who can get all the defenders in proper coverage. Last year at Iowa, after Marvin McNutt caught a 35-yard touchdown pass with no Wildcats in the same zip code, cornerback Demetrius Dugar acknowledged that called-out "checks" left defensive backs unsure whether to play zone or man coverage.

"Communication," VanHoose said, "was a really bad thing for us last year."

Fleming, a redshirt junior who until now mainly has been used on special teams, said his strength is recognizing how offensive coordinators are trying to attack.

"I know what I'm going to get most of the time," he said. "I just have to trust my eyes."

NU's opener will represent a huge challenge for a secondary that lost starters Brian Peters, Jordan Mabin and Jeravin Matthews.

Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for more yards (2,685) in 2011 than Donovan McNabb's most productive season (2,488) for the Orange, and coach Doug Marrone has had eight months to dig into the playbooks he used as the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006-08.

"We will see a lot of formation variations, shifting and motions," coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

And a whole lot of throws down the field.

"Definitely," VanHoose said. "We expect the first play out of the gate to be something deep."

Said Fleming: "I expect them to try us, from the very first play. We have to be on our P's and Q's and be ready to take the ball back for six."

Fleming grew up in Southern California, about 35 miles east of the Rose Bowl. He fit NU's profile as an honor roll student with a flaw (he's listed at 5-foot-10) that scared off the Pac-10 schools.

But Fleming said that even if Stanford had offered, he would have picked Northwestern.

"I always wanted to get away from home," he said. "I never did much traveling when I was little, so I thought coming to Chicago would be a good experience. I wanted to try things out on my own and get away from my parents."

Please don't take offense, Gerald and Glennetta Fleming.

"They know," Fleming said. "I told them plenty of times."

Fleming went by his middle name, Jerell, in his younger years. He finally embraced Davion (DAVEY-on) the same way he relishes being a starting safety for Northwestern.

"I took it," he said of his first name, "and I owned it."

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

 
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees reacquired outfielder Steve Pearce in a trade with Houston on Monday, giving them another right-handed bat on the bench for the stretch drive.

The Yankees sent cash to the last-place Astros for Pearce, who began the season in New York's farm system before he was traded to Baltimore on June 2. Pearce was cut by the Orioles on July 21 and claimed off waivers by Houston a week later.

The strong-armed Pearce, who can also play first base, cheap Air Max 95batted .254 with eight RBIs and five extra-base hits in 63 at-bats for the Astros. He is a .277 career hitter against lefties with eight homers and an .831 OPS in 213 at-bats.

"He's been a guy that's had a lot of success off of left-handers," manager Joe Girardi said before the Yankees opened a three-game series with Toronto.

Minus injured slugger Alex Rodriguez, the AL East leaders have been vulnerable against left-handed pitching at times. New York acquired corner infielder Casey McGehee, also a right-handed hitter, from Pittsburgh at the July 31 trade deadline but he was batting only .186 with a homer and six RBIs in 43 at-bats with the Yankees.

Girardi wasn't sure if Pearce would join the team Tuesday or Wednesday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated minor league infielder Brandon Laird for assignment. They will need to make another move to open a spot for Pearce on the 25-man big league roster when he reports to the team.

Because he was obtained before September, Pearce would be eligible to play for the Yankees in the postseason.

The 29-year-old Pearce batted .318 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs for New York's Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate early this season. He was leading the International League in hits and batting average when he was traded.

Pearce played for Pittsburgh from 2007-11 and is a .237 career hitter with 12 homers and 74 RBIs in 234 major league games. He has played first base, third base and both corner outfield positions.

He is hitting .254 with three homers, 22 RBIs and eight doubles in 134 big league at-bats this season.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- Sporting Kansas City will have to chase an Eastern Conference championship without forward Teal Bunbury, who will miss the remainder of the season after tearing ligaments in his left knee during a draw with the New York Red Bulls.

The team announced the extent of the injury Monday, one day after Bunbury was hurt while leaping to make a pass to Kei Kamara for Sporting KC's only goal of the game. Bunbury crashed to the turf and held his knee, but played several more minutes before he was substituted out.

The team initially called the injury a sprain, Air Max 95but coach Peter Vermes said that Bunbury would undergo an MRI exam on Monday. That's when the extent of the injury was revealed.

Bunbury tore the ACL and damaged the LCL in his knee. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Luallin is scheduled to perform surgery on Friday, and Bunbury is expected to miss six to eight months.

"The injury is extremely unfortunate, but Teal has a great attitude and he will be back stronger than ever," Vermes said in a statement issued by the team.

Bunbury is a big reason why Sporting KC (14-7-5) leads the East by two points over the Red Bulls with eight games remaining in the regular season.

The former fourth overall draft pick is tied with C.J. Sapong for second on the team with five goals, and he also has one assist in 22 regular season games. He trails only Kamara, the team's leading scorer, and Graham Zusi for the most shots on goal.

Bunbury led Sporting KC with 11 goals in MLS competition last season.

The knee injury will also rule Bunbury out of potential international duty. He debuted for the U.S. men's national team in November 2010, and has played several games since, assisting on Zusi's winning goal in a game against Panama in January.

The U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying at Jamaica on Sept. 7, and is scheduled to play at Sporting KC's Livestrong Sporting Park against Guatemala on Oct. 16.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that the team has a set of guidelines in place for Dez Bryant to hold the talented young receiver accountable.

Garrett didn't go into specifics or describe potential discipline for not abiding by the rules. He said the Cowboys (No. 15 in AP Pro32) wants to support Bryant and his family.

"What we've tried to do is come up with a plan for Dez like we would for any player who we feel like needs our support, and help him be his best as a player and as a person," Air Max 95Garrett said. "And the accountability factor is an important part of that with him and with anybody on our football team."

According to numerous reports, Bryant will attend weekly counseling sessions, have a full-time security team and not be allowed to consume alcohol or attend strip clubs.

Bryant was arrested in July for allegedly assaulting his mother, who has since said she doesn't want authorities to pursue charges against him. The Dallas County district attorney's office has yet to make a decision about charges.

There have been other off-the-field issues as well, though Bryant was having a solid offseason until his arrest two weeks before the start of training camp. Bryant's adviser, David Wells, and the player's attorney, Royce West, didn't return messages to The Associated Press.

"We have some things in place and we are still in the process of working out the rest," Wells told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a story published Monday. "We are all working together to accomplish some things to help him succeed."

Bryant hasn't been available to speak to reporters since the start of training camp because of his pending legal issues.

There is also still the chance of discipline from the NFL. Garrett said he didn't know the status of that.

"We're going to control what we can control as an organization, and Dez has done everything that we've asked him to do up to this point both on and off the football field," Garrett said. "Any decision about that is out of our control."

Bryant is going into his third season with the Cowboys, who got him with the 24th overall draft pick.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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AUSTIN (AP) — David Ash never doubted he would be the starting quarterback at No. 15 Texas. Now that he has won the job, the challenge is keeping it beyond Saturday's season-opener against Wyoming.

Ash, who rotated last season with Case McCoy, won the preseason battle to take over the job without an "or" between their names on the depth chart. Coach Mack Brown announced the decision last week and Ash met with reporters Monday.

"I expected it," Ash said. "I worked really hard. The coaches have given me a shot. That's all you can really ask for."

Ash still has a lot to prove on the field. Air Max 95He was 3-3 as a freshman starter last season with just four touchdown passes and eight interceptions. His completion rate was under 58 percent and Texas ranked 86th nationally in passing.

Ash seemed to be asserting himself as the Longhorns' No. 1 when he played every snap of Texas' Holiday Bowl win over California. Ash was named the most valuable player of the game after passing for one touchdown, catching another and not committing any turnovers.

But even with that game under this belt, Texas opened their 2012 training camp with Brown refusing to name a starter and he insisted McCoy was battling Ash for the job. Despite the competition, Ash said his confidence has grown as he's matured and had more time to learn just how to be a college quarterback.

"I can play football," Ash said. "I can play quarterback as good as anybody else."

Some of his teammates said Monday they thought the competition was close until Brown announced Ash was No. 1.

"For me, it was a tossup," linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "We had no clue."

McCoy, the younger brother of former Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy, could still get playing time against Wyoming. Brown said McCoy and Ash are friends but Ash revealed little about their relationship.

Ash said both wanted whatever is best for the team. When asked if he said anything to McCoy after the decision, Ash said, "Um, not really."

Ash knows his play will be the focus of a lot of scrutiny. The Longhorns expect to have one of the best defenses and running games in the Big 12. Even a decent passing game could be the difference between another mediocre season and one where Texas again competes for the league championship.

Texas went Texas went 69-9 from 2004-2009, won two Big 12 titles and appeared in two national championship games behind Vince Young and Colt McCoy. The Longhorns are just 13-12 over the last two seasons, including a paltry 6-11 in Big 12 play.

Brown will have to hope Ash is developing into the quarterback the Longhorns need.

"The concern we had with David last year was he tried to make every play," Brown said.

Now he's making better decisions when reading defense and finding his escape routes, such as pulling back a deep pass into coverage to complete a shorter one.

"Trust your other players,' Brown said. "Drop it off to the back in the flat. He may score."

From top to bottom, changes abound in Big 12

 
Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:52am IST * Harrington fires a 64 to lead by one * Keeps his faint Ryder Cup hopes alive * Woods cards a 68, McIlroy a 69 (Updates at end of round) Aug 23 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods overshadowed playing partnerRory McIlroy while Padraig Harrington stole the limelight bytaking overall command in Thursday's opening round of theBarclays tournament in Farmingdale, New York. Wielding a red-hot putter, Irishman Harrington covered hisfinal nine holes in a blistering six-under-par 29 to card aseven-under 64 in the first of the PGA Tour's four lucrativeFedExCup playoff events. In pursuit of his first victory on the U.S. circuit sincethe 2008 PGA Championship, three-times major winner Harringtonpiled up eight birdies and a lone bogey to finish a stroke infront of Americans Nick Watney and Brian Harman. Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who ended a four-year title droughton the PGA Tour by winning the rain-delayed Wyndham Championshipon Monday, was among a group of four on 66 while FedExCup pointsleader Woods opened with a 68 and McIlroy a 69. Harrington, who also has one eye this week on earning a latecall-up for the European Ryder Cup team, was delighted with hisputting on the challenging,nike air max shoes 7,468-yard Bethpage Black layout. "I've been playing well for quite a while, but this is thebest I've putted, the best I've struck my putts, the best I'verolled the ball for a long period of time," the 40-year-oldIrishman told reporters after taking only 26 putts. "We had super conditions today. Bethpage is a big, stronggolf course, and we got it on a very calm day, which was in ourfavour." Harrington conceded he had learned a valuable lesson aboutthe scoring possibilities at a venue which has staged two U.S.Opens from his American playing partner Troy Matteson, whoeagled the fourth hole. "Wow, an eagle! Imagine making an eagle at a U.S. Open,"smiled Harrington. "If anything, it really helped me because Icould see that, 'Hey, this wasn't a U.S. Open, there werebirdies to be made.' "So you have to get out of that mindset because level parisn't winning the tournament this week. It isn't a U.S. Open,"added the Irishman, who won The Barclays at Westchester in 2005and tied for second at Liberty National in 2009. SIZZLING FORM Harrington hopes his sizzling form at Bethpage will help himearn one of two wildcard picks by European Ryder Cup captainJose Maria Olazabal on Monday, though he accepts he is on theoutside looking in. "I'm sure if I went and had a look at the odds, I would be along-shot to make the team," the Irishman said. Olazabal latertold reporters at the European Tour's Johnnie WalkerChampionship in Scotland that Harrington would have to "at leastwin" at Bethpage to get picked. Woods, the only triple winner on the 2012 PGA Tour,expressed mixed views about his round after failing to make themost of soft, receptive conditions on a benign morning. "I didn't quite hit the ball as well as I would like," saidthe 14-times major winner who was followed by huge crowds as helaunched his title bid in the company of world number oneMcIlroy and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson. "I'm going to do some work this afternoon and work on acouple things that I know I need to shore up for tomorrow. ButI'm very pleased with the way I putted. I putted great today." Woods, who totaled 28 putts, ended the round level withfellow Americans Johnson and four-times major winner PhilMickelson, British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa andformer world number one Luke Donald of England. Northern Irishman McIlroy, who clinched his second majortitle with a stunning eight-shot victory at the PGA Championshipearlier this month, was satisfied with his 69, despite losingmomentum after the turn. "It was good," the 23-year-old said after mixing fivebirdies with three bogeys. "I thought I played really solid,especially starting off, three under through six. "Got a little quiet around the middle of the round, and myshort game let me down a couple of times. It definitely couldhave been a few shots better, but I'm happy with how I played." (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing byFrank Pingue) Golf