Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Ryan Poles’ Favorite Caleb Williams Game Is The Last One You’d Expect


Each of the Chicago Bears’ two previous 1st round picks had specific games that helped sway the organization to draft them. For Mitch Trubisky, it was his valiant effort in the Sun Bowl against Stanford, overcoming poor offensive line play and stone-handed wide receivers to almost pull off the upset. For Justin Fields, it was his six-touchdown performance against Clemson despite a vicious hit to the ribs earlier in the game. One has to imagine GM Ryan Poles had a particular game that helped sway him on Caleb Williams.

They would be correct.

So which was it? Maybe it was the first when Williams came off the bench against Texas as a freshman to engineer a comeback from down 28-7 to win 55-48. Or there was the absurd performance in Utah, where he combined for over 400 yards and five touchdowns during his Heisman campaign in 2022. One can’t forget the six touchdowns he put on Deion Sanders and Colorado. Nope. It was the Notre Dame game. That’s right. Williams’ statistically worst college performance was Poles’ favorite. He explained why to Albert Breer of the MMQB.

USC fell behind 24–6 at the half. Williams finished with three picks, failed to hit 200 yards passing and took six sacks. And as it was happening, Poles focused closely on the young quarterback, getting the chance to see his lowest moment as a college football player with his own eyes, through a set of binoculars.

You saw a lot of encouragement with teammates, even after the interceptions,” Poles says. “You saw frustration, too, because it matters to him. But you never saw it become disruptive. You never saw teammates run away from him, or him run away and be by himself, away from his teammates. You saw him talking with the coaches trying to find solutions.”

Ryan Poles needed to see how Williams handled adversity.

The USC star hadn’t encountered much of it during his time at USC. Notre Dame changed that, throwing things at him that he and the Trojans had no answers for. It was one of the ugliest first halves a future #1 pick ever played, with three interceptions in six drives. It would’ve been so easy to let the game spiral out of control after that. Yet, to his credit, Williams regrouped. He led USC on a field goal drive to end the half. Then, after the teams traded punts to start the 3rd quarter, he got them into the end zone to make it 24-13.

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Sadly, the defense allowed a touchdown on the next drive. Williams was undaunted. Two series later, he took advantage of great field position to again reach the end zone, cutting it to 31-20 with nine minutes left. From there, his teammates let him down. Notre Dame immediately scored on a 99-yard kickoff return. A turnover on downs by USC on the next drive, punctuated by another sack, saw them add a field goal. The final nail came when Trojans Mario Williams and Quinten Joyner lost fumbles on consecutive drives.

It was a brutal loss that sent USC into a spiral, causing them to go from 6-0 to 8-5. Even so, Ryan Poles saw what he needed to see. Williams overcame the rough start and gave his team multiple chances to get back into the game. A better supporting cast might’ve taken advantage. This was critical information that helped solidify the quarterback’s evaluation.


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Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
May 15, 2024 4:48 pm

First adversity, then perseverance = survival or improvement or winning.

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
May 15, 2024 11:12 am

FOX FAUX NEWS is cultish, toxic, bigoted, and the opposite of truth, integrity, professionalism, and any form of justice. It is warped entertainment with a Murdoch agenda at best. I do not like or trust their football cast either–manly macho high schoolers with simple-minded intelligence with poor taste creating a new normal at the lowest levels. Never trust a billionaire pretend populist with a hidden agenda.

May 15, 2024 9:09 am

Fields is gone……next man up.

Bubba Ho-Tep
Bubba Ho-Tep
May 15, 2024 8:46 am

There’s an article on Fox News about how Field’s relationship with Nick Foles and Andy Dalton was toxic. Whats more interesting is all of the comments below talk about Fields being the problem, and having the wrong attitude. Interesting because all I heard here was how great a teammate he was. But the comments really pointed toward him not taking advice and being very “me first”.

May 15, 2024 8:10 am

Put it this way. Fields is a great athlete. Not a QB. I was the one pushing to trade the 1st pick. I was wrong. Bears haven’t had a legit QB in my lifetime, So, I’m not used to having an offense worth a shit. But what’s cool is the fact that the Bears will have a top 8 D, and an offense that should be able to put up 28 a game. Bear down!

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