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ChiCubs54
08-13-2008, 03:19 PM
Babich enjoys ride as Bears coordinator

BOURBONNAIS — Three years after North Dakota State fired Bob Babich as football coach, Bison fans still wouldn’t let his son forget.

Bobby Babich was a three-year academic all-conference cornerback. His senior year, the NDSU student paper wrote about five things you’ll never hear at a Bison game. No. 2 was: “Good game, Bobby.”

“That’s a tough place, but it’s a great place,” said Bob Babich, now the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator. “Football is really important there. The fans are always rough, even when you lose one game.

“Being a head coach up there helped me grow and mature. And to end up in the NFL, which is the pinnacle of our profession, was a sweet move.”

In a way, Babich seems as if he’s landed in the same place. Fargo, N.D., is so crazy about football and so used to success (eight NCAA Division II championships) that it used to draw sellout playoff crowds of 15,000 in sub-zero temperatures before building a dome 15 years ago.

It’s a place where even a 46-22 record in six years didn’t cut it for Babich; he’s the only coach hired there since 1957 not to win a conference title.

So after going 2-8 in 2002, NDSU’s only losing season since 1965, Babich was ousted. But he was immediately hired by his good friend Lovie Smith, who was then defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.

Babich followed Smith to Chicago after Smith was named Bears coach in 2004.

As Chicago’s linebackers coach, Babich was on top of the world again. The Bears ranked No. 2 and No. 5 on defense his second and third years, won back-to-back NFC North titles and reached the Super Bowl in 2006.

It’s enough to make a coach pinch himself.

“Oh, yeah,” Babich said. “I’m just fortunate that Coach Smith gave me an opportunity. Things have gone well. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m enjoying the ride.”

Except the ride turned bumpy last year. Babich was promoted to defensive coordinator, replacing the popular Ron Rivera, a linebacker on Chicago’s famed 1985 Super Bowl champs.

And the Bears’ defense, ravaged by injuries, fell apart, finishing with a No. 28 ranking.

“That was never a concern,” Babich said of replacing Rivera. “I was just excited to be the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator.

“I learned an awful lot last year. It helped me grow up and mature. We went through some tough times. That tested my mental toughness, my beliefs and my confidence. But I’m very pleased with the way things are going this year.”

Chicago’s defense, with 10 healthy starters back from the Bears’ 2006 Super Bowl season, could be one of the league’s best. Babich has the defense feeling re-energized.

“He always talks about AT&T. That’s attack, tackle and takeaway,” cornerback Nathan Vasher said. “That’s our new motto.

“He’s a great teacher. He knows all the ins and outs of every position. And he’s a straight shooter. He would never tell us anything wrong. You can trust the guy. That makes you go out and play that much harder.”

Defensive end Alex Brown said Babich “brings a lot of energy” to team meetings, but mostly he brings trust to the defense.

“You can trust he’s going to put us in the best position to make plays,” Brown said. “He’s had to change some since he was the linebacker coach, but for the most part he is still Bob Babich. And no one has a problem with Bob Babich. He’s a great guy who really shoots you straight.”

He’s a guy who has been Lovie Smith’s close friend since the two started out together coaching in college at Tulsa in the early 1980s.

“I was the linebacker coach and he was the graduate assistant way back in the day,” Smith said. “I just liked the way he coached.”

Babich said he and Lovie “think the same way” and just naturally hit it off.

“You would think we wouldn’t,” Babich said. “He’s from Big Sandy, Texas. I’m from Aliquippa, Pa. But we were both young and had young children, so our families had a lot in common. We’ve been friends ever since we met.”

Smith said he hired Babich as a coach, not a friend.

“Our families have been friends for a long time, but I have a lot of friends that I don’t coach with,” Smith said. “Bob is on our staff because he’s a good football coach.”

And Babich is back in a good spot again, with a defense that should be among the NFL’s best. But, then, Babich always thinks he’s in a good spot. Even at NDSU.

His son wound up marrying a forward on the school’s women’s basketball team. Babich still follows the Bison, talking about their win at Minnesota last year and coach Craig Bohl’s new contract. Bohl is 43-12 in five years since replacing Babich.

“It wasn’t that bad of a situation,” Babich said of his Fargo days. “We had one tough year out of six, but we were going to have a great year the next year. And they did.”

He expects the same scenario will now repeat itself with the Bears.

“We’re excited,” he said.


Source: http://www.sj-r.com/sports/x1481395497/Babich-enjoys-ride-as-Bears-coordinator

fukudome.ftw
08-13-2008, 03:29 PM
ah jeez.. we went out and got a former NDSU (wtf?) head coach? ugh.

cambovenzi
08-13-2008, 03:35 PM
ah jeez.. we went out and got a former NDSU (wtf?) head coach? ugh.

alot of coaches dont start off in high positions:eyebrow:

Bulldog76
08-13-2008, 04:27 PM
And we hired him from St.Louis not NDSU or wherever it was...He had NFL experience and was our LB's coach for a season before he advanced to Dcord... Not sure what the disappointment factor would be with his resume...

In fact... I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up a head coach at some point in his career...

I think Bellicheck started off as a volunteer scout for the Giants...Parcells started off at a small college...and Holmgren started off as a high school coach in the bay area...

Its not where you start, its how you finish...

beardown1985
08-13-2008, 08:13 PM
And we hired him from St.Louis not NDSU or wherever it was...He had NFL experience and was our LB's coach for a season before he advanced to Dcord... Not sure what the disappointment factor would be with his resume...

In fact... I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up a head coach at some point in his career...

I think Bellicheck started off as a volunteer scout for the Giants...Parcells started off at a small college...and Holmgren started off as a high school coach in the bay area...

Its not where you start, its how you finish...




And how did he finish? 28th in the league... he has a long way to go before he can call himself a head coach...

cambovenzi
08-13-2008, 08:31 PM
And how did he finish? 28th in the league... he has a long way to go before he can call himself a head coach...

well the LBs certainly turned out well w/ him being the LB coach.

it was only his 1st year.
not really his fault half of his players got injured.

m2j3
08-13-2008, 09:19 PM
We'll see what happens. He's not horrible yet, so don't get down on him.

stlfan544
08-13-2008, 10:28 PM
Yes like Cambo said it's not his fault key players got hurt on the defense.

If the defense can stay healthy, I think we will see a big difference in the defense obviously and Babich will look like a genuis more than likely.

freaknasty23
08-13-2008, 11:55 PM
Its not where you start, its how you finish...

thats what she said :nod: yeah i went there.

everybody starts out small really, so its no suprise that he started at a HS.

beardown1985
08-14-2008, 02:20 AM
well the LBs certainly turned out well w/ him being the LB coach.

it was only his 1st year.
not really his fault half of his players got injured.

The linebackers were set long before Babich got there...

I recognize all the injuries our D had to endure, but that still is no excuse for finishing 28th... I don't believe Babich handled the D-line very well, especially the Mark Anderson/Alex Brown situation on the right side.. and we probably would have been better off pulling the plug on Darwin Walker and Arch a little sooner. That being said, those ultimately might've been Lovie's decisions, but I think some of the heat still falls on the shoulders of the DC.

I liked what we did in '06... using the best front 4 in the league to rush the QB and dropping 7 in coverage. Our front 4 can get to the QB without having to blitz, but it seemed as though Babich wasn't running the stunts that Rivera used to and wouldn't really mix it up with the front 4, instead relying on linebacker and safeties to blitz... which works to an extent, unless we are playing a team with a good o-line that can pick the blitzes up, and we end up gettin exposed in coverage.

Tankjeep
08-14-2008, 06:21 AM
^how he handled the defense? the guy had crucial injuries and the offense surely didn't help in giving them rest. every game for them was a grueling contest becuz they were on the field sooooo much. they were exhausted by the end of most games and got burned for it. that is not the dc's fault.....that's injuries to the o-line, combined with the oc's playcalling that should be blamed. as the season progressed they got worn out.

beardown1985
08-14-2008, 01:21 PM
^how he handled the defense? the guy had crucial injuries and the offense surely didn't help in giving them rest. every game for them was a grueling contest becuz they were on the field sooooo much. they were exhausted by the end of most games and got burned for it. that is not the dc's fault.....that's injuries to the o-line, combined with the oc's playcalling that should be blamed. as the season progressed they got worn out.

I agree, that had a LOT to do with it. The offense totally screwed the D and left them out on the field the whole damn game. Still... i have pretty high expectations for our D, considering i think its hands-down the best unit in the league. i'm willing to give babich another shot, but he definitely doesn't deserve a pat on the back for last year

Tankjeep
08-14-2008, 01:27 PM
^yeah i wouldn't give him a pat on the back, but he deserves a second shot....