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Mike Tice settling into role as offensive coordinator

Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he was glad be back field rookie minicamp Friday. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he was glad to be back on the field at rookie minicamp Friday. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: June 13, 2012 8:11AM

For a while Friday, Mike Tice sounded like an offensive coordinator.

‘‘We’re going to play fast,’’ Tice said after the first session of the Bears’ rookie minicamp. ‘‘We’re going to make sure the players are able to show us their speed and their explosiveness and their quickness and their toughness, if you will, upfront because we’re
going to make sure they know what we’re asking them to do.

‘‘They can go out and play fast. Not going on the football field thinking, but going on the football field and being athletes and athletic.’’

Tice has been a player, an assistant coach and a head coach during his career, but he’s an offensive coordinator for the first time.

Tice spent the last two seasons as the Bears’ offensive line coach and couldn’t resist defending
that unit.

Asked whether he’s satisfied with the offensive line, particularly the tackles, Tice chuckled and replied: ‘‘I think if [general manager] Phil [Emery] and [coach] Lovie [Smith] — with the help of the scouts and the staff — if we felt tackle were a dire need for us, I’m sure they would have
answered the bell on draft day.

‘‘With the change in scheme and the change in personality, if you will, and an offseason and getting some guys healthy, I think we’ll make a big jump in the offensive line.’’

Tice said young players need time to develop and round out their game. While he didn’t specifically name left tackle J’Marcus Webb, he certainly seemed to be referring to him, among others.

As for right tackle Gabe Carimi, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, Tice said he’s ‘‘right on track.’’

‘‘We expect to see him at some point before the session is over,’’ Tice said, presumably meaning before training camp in July. ‘‘Sooner than later, so we’re pretty excited about that.’’

Tice said he was glad he finally could get on a practice field, even though contact isn’t allowed.

‘‘I never knew I’d like bags so much,’’ he quipped.

He also downplayed his transition from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator.

‘‘I mean, you’re talking about managing people and putting people in position to do their jobs as best they can,’’ Tice said. ‘‘I’ve been blessed to be a head coach in the league before, so I’ve had to manage people. You’re talking about taking a bunch of ideas from a bunch of guys that have a chance to have some input.’’

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