Martz mum on college opportunities

The football programs at UCLA and Arizona State need a head coach. Rumors are circulating that both schools have an interest in Mike Martz for the position, although he's not talking about it.

--If Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is a candidate for head-coaching positions at Arizona State and UCLA, he's not saying.

"Anything about those kinds of things, I would never discuss," Martz said after Wednesday's practice. "I have a job, and this job is the only one I can discuss. I appreciate what you are saying, but it would be very inappropriate for me to talk about anything like that."

Martz was an assistant at Arizona State for eight years (1984-91), but he declined to say even if he was aware that his name has been mentioned in connection with both jobs, which came open on Monday.

"If the shoe was on the other foot," Martz said, "I think you would probably feel the same way."

When a reporter joked that he'd be happy to discuss his candidacy for both jobs, Martz laughed and said: "There's always a guy, isn't there?"

Head coach Lovie Smith claimed to know nothing about Martz being mentioned as a head-coaching candidate.

"He has been?" Smith said, feigning ignorance. "I'm sure if you talk to Mike, he's going to talk to you about Kansas City and taking care of business right now. That's the job that we have at hand. Hopefully, on a personal note, I would hope that every coach on our staff that wants to advance has an opportunity. But all of that comes when you have a good football season, when you take care of things that are in front of you. And for us it's all about Kansas City and nothing else."

Asked if Martz's departure would be a disruption in the offseason, Smith changed the subject.

"How about today," he said. "Can you promise me that I'm going to be here a little bit longer? No. Let's just talk about today. We had a great practice today. I'm excited about all the guys on our staff and our players really went out hard and worked today."

--He joked at first, but quarterback Jay Cutler confirmed his engagement to Kristin Cavallari that the former "Hills" star tweeted earlier, but he said they haven't set a date.

"I just heard about that, too," Cutler cracked. "I'm joking, don't write that. No, there's no (wedding) date for that."

The couple's first engagement ended in July, shortly after it was announced.

--Brian Urlacher was voted as the team's recipient of the 2011 Ed Block Courage Award. The award is voted on by teammates and is presented to one player on each NFL team who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room, is a community role model and who symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication.

--Defensive end Julius Peppers was named NFC defensive player of the month. He had six tackles, four sacks, one tackle for loss, 10 quarterback pressures and three pass breakups in November.

BY THE NUMBERS

12 -- Games in which Bears RB Matt Forte has 150 or more yards from scrimmage, which is second in franchise history. Walter Payton is first with 45.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"Now I think I'm good to go, so no excuses this week." -- Caleb Hanie, approaching his second NFL start on Sunday.

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Matt Forte is third in the NFL with 6,206 yards from scrimmage since he entered the NFL in 2008. Only Chris Johnson (6,573) and Adrian Peterson (6,340) have more yards since 2008.

--QB Caleb Hanie is the first quarterback in the league to throw for more than 250-plus yards (254) and rush for 50-plus in his first start since the Vikings' Rich Gannon on Sept. 30, 1990.

--DE Julius Peppers is the first Bear with back-to-back seasons of eight or more sacks since Rosevelt Colvin in 2001-02. He's also tied for second with Jason Taylor for the second-most sacks (97) since 2002, trailing only Dwight Freeney's 99.5.

--PK Robbie Gould is the third-most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, having connected on 182 of 211 attempts for 86.3 percent. He's fifth this season at 92.0 percent (23 of 25).

--P Adam Podlesh is sixth in the NFL with a net average of 40.7 yards. He has just two touchbacks on 56 punts.

INJURY IMPACT

--CB Charles Tillman (knee) did not practice Wednesday but is expected to play Sunday.

--CB D.J. Moore (sprained ankle) had limited participation in Wednesday's practice and will probably be questionable for Sunday.

--S Zack Bowman (groin) was limited Wednesday.

GAME PLAN

Against a Chiefs defense that is in the bottom quarter of the league in rushing yards allowed, the Bears hope to get back to the run-pass ratio that served them so well during their five-game win streak that was snapped last week against the Raiders. In Oakland, offensive coordinator Mike Martz called for 45 pass plays and just 22 runs, although the Bears had 27 runs when you add in five scrambles by new quarterback Caleb Hanie. During the win streak, the Bears averaged over 32 rushes per game, and with backup Marion Barber looking better each week as a complement to Matt Forte, the Bears will try to get both backs a lot of work.

Defensively, the Bears will prepare for the Chiefs to use both quarterbacks, Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton, who spent his first four seasons in Chicago (2005-08), but they will be more concerned with the running of Jackie Battle, Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones, who was a Bear from 2004-06.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Bears CB Charles Tillman, who did an excellent job on the Lions' Calvin Johnson, but was torched by the Chargers' Vincent Jackson in recent weeks, vs. Chiefs go-to WR Dwayne Bowe.

Bears DRE Julius Peppers, the NFC's defensive player of the month for November, vs. Chiefs LT Brandon Albert. Peppers has six sacks in his last six games, including two last week.


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