Sunday, October 21, 2007

'Cats Deliver The Salt

Waking up Saturday morning to a monsoon the first thing I though of was the weather we had for last year’s Whitworth game but as the day moved along it turned out to be a beautiful day in the valley. This wasn’t just due to the fact that the Catdome only experienced some limited showers during the PLU/Linfield game but for the fact the ‘Cats shutout our long time rival 24-0. Any long time fan of Linfield football would have loved the way the ‘Cats played ball on Saturday with a swarming pressing defense and a grind it out offense that would salt away the game late.

It was a huge game for Linfield and they answered the call and now control their destiny for the remainder of the season. It’s not time for Linfield to ease up on the gas peddle but let’s enjoy yesterday for what it was: an old school Wildcat victory. Now let’s review our weekly “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

The Good

Linfield Defense

What more can you say than this was the first time PLU has been shut out since 19 freakin’ 79. That is a rather remarkable run by the ‘Lutes but yesterday was a defensive clinic by the ‘Cats. We pressured the quarterback, play great on the option, super efficient tackling, filled gaps, threw blankets on receivers, created turnovers, big stops on 4th down, etc. It was a great game plan by the defensive staff that the players executed very well. It was a total team effort with players just playing to their responsibilities and not trying to do more than their job. A+ effort.

2nd half offensive effort

I mentioned last week that I don’t recall Linfield playing a good 3rd quarter this season. That trend came to a stop yesterday as the Linfield offense controlled and cashed in on 10 points in the 3rd frame and set the tempo for the remainder of the contest. PLU’s defense lived up to their billing as athletic and speedy at the defensive end and linebacker positions. Linfield had some opportunities in the first half but the Lutes defense did a nice job in getting to Linfield QB Trevor Scharer and causing Linfield to sputter. However, the offense needs to be praised for showing some tremendous toughness and desire for their performance in the 2nd half. Most of the praise needs to be given to the big fellas up front as they naturalized the rush and did a fantastic job in the running game. I see a mean streak with this group and I love it.

Stan Fisher/Special Teams

Linfield punter Stan Fisher doesn’t get very much pub for being a punter but he was a huge field position weapon yesterday. He averaged below his typical punt yards per game but when Linfield was twice pinned deep in their own territory Stan and the punt team came up with a 48 yard punt and solid 38 yarder. Stan has been great all year long and the punt team needed a shout out today for their solid play.

Overall Attitude

This team is finding an identity and has had some great growth since the Willamette disaster. If this group can continue to take the attitude of trying to improve each day they will have an opportunity to reach their pre-season goals but they cannot feel like they’ve made it just because we rattled off a few wins. Enjoy the win but let’s get ready for next week.

The Bad

Not being able to pay my respects to Frosty

(Editor's note: I didn't look hard enough for the Frosty one but thanks to a few PLU fans for letting me know he was in attendance in yesterday's game. Very happy that he was able to make the trip down and hope he has been doing well.)

I love a win over PLU more than just about anything. Linfield has rivalries but any Wildcat would tell you that PLU is enemy number 1. However, I respect and appreciate what legend Frosty Westering did for the NWC and for Small College Football. He showed that you don’t have to be a screaming, cussing, tyrant to be a winner in football and he is what is right about college athletics. That’s why I was disappointed that I did not get the chance to pay my respects to Frosty and his yellow sweats.

The Ugly

PLU Warm-Up

For the past two weeks we have seen two extreme examples of pre-game warm ups. Last week down in Ashland we had the taunting mean muggers and this week we had the happy go-lucky goof balls. This is nothing new for PLU as they do just about everything different and I really don’t know how to properly communicate their routine. The team roving jumping jacks was just bizarre. This is a note to Menlo: Please leave the Haka at home next week. I don’t know how much more I can take.

5 comments:

Daniel Harris said...

Good stuff Ryan, thanks for this page. The Oaks do the Haka every home game, I've seen it 4 times now. Do they do it on the road too?

MacQuiz said...

Ok...this may seem a little silly; but here goes.
If the Cats continue to improve each week at the same rate as they have the last three games...they will have the talent to go to Salem again. It's just math!!!
I admit it's a little goofy to fill blog space with this dribble, but it's how my head works when I'm thinkin Wildcat Football. Go for it lads...stranger things have happened!

Wildcat11 said...

macquiz,

That is great enthusiasm but all the 'Cats need to do is think about getting better next week and set up a show down with Whitworth.

They've been playing great ball and Coach Smith has them focused.

Claire said...

Wow that was a great game. We watched it via stretch on a big screen projected from our computer. The commentators did a fantastic job.
Next Sat. we are having a tailgate party at Menlo. Woo-hoo! -can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Frosty was at the game.