Chicago Sun-Times

Bears adjust to power outage at ONU

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Another bizarre chapter in an anything than normal training camp for the Bears.

At about 8:08 p.m. Wednesday, after more than an hour of practice, the lights went out on the practice field the Bears were working on at Olivet Nazarene University.

The special teams portion of practice continued, since there was still light. But team officials huddled with ONU officials to figure out what was happening.

ComEd had lost power to a large portion of the campus, including the lights the Bears and their fans were relying on Wednesday night.

Unwilling to lose anymore practice time in an already abbreviated training camp, the Bears called an audible, bussed the players to a nearby high school and resumed their session about an hour after the lights initially went out at ONU.

"Every once in a while, things like this happen. But as a team, this is a night we needed to get in," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Great weather. We missed a day, of course, a few days ago. But players came over, got a chance to work on FieldTurf, it was a good, lively practice; we got better tonight. That's what we wanted to do."

Added quarterback Jay Cutler, "It's been a weird series of events for us.

"So hopefully we can get back on track at the end of this week and have a good showing Saturday."

That's when the Bears will play the preseason opener at Soldier Field. Last Friday, of course, the team's schedule practice there, on Family Night, was cancelled because the grass wasn't safe enough for the players.

Asked about that and the storm that cut an hour from practice on Monday, Smith said, "It's not all bad.

"You want to put guys in different situations. As I said earlier, we're going to London. We'll have to get out o the routine. But, eventually, it's good to go through that, and then to see that we got a normal sized field and we're able to get the same work that we would have gotten in over there."

The Bears defense had a stronger showing on the FieldTurf than the offense, with safety Craig Steltz twice picking off quarterback Caleb Hanie. In fact, Hanie had five interceptions on the evening.

"Great night for the Bears," Smith said diplomatically. "That's the only way you can look at it. But you have to go through some of these situations. We do have a good defensive team, and that'll happen from time to time. But looking at it offensively, we have to protect the ball. It's as simple as that."

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 10, 2011 11:08 PM.

NFL constantly in touch with officials from every venue was the previous entry in this blog.

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