Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Legends Blog: Joe Dominey "You damm well better believe you are going to get to the QB"

Former Linfield All-American Defensive Tackle and newly minted "Linfield Legend", Joe Dominey, was gracious enough to pen an truly epic blog entry that recalls some great stories of Joe's days at Linfield, catches you up with where Joe is at now, and reflects on how the lessons of Linfield still impact Joe's drive for success today.

For me, this is probably the best thing I've posted on the blog to-date and that is saying something. This is a MUST read for not only any Linfield fan but for anyone that loves football.

Thank you Joe! -Wildcat11

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“What did you say paper champion,” said Dominey.

“I’m going to beat you like a dog,” shouted back Gillson.

“Klubber, what’s your prediction for the fight,” questioned Dominey.

“Prediction, pppaaaaaiiiiinnnnnnnnnnn,” said Gilson.

And so would begin another day of daily doubles at the Catdome. Man I miss those days. Chase Gillson and I would recite lines from Rocky III every day during doubles while we stretched at 7:30 a.m. in 1994. We would go back and forth out loud with Chase playing Rocky and me Klubber, and then we would switch roles the next day.

We loved it. Chase and I would carry on getting louder and louder during the stretch.

“There won’t be no quick knock down this time, I’m gonna torture him, I’m gonna crucify him, real baaaaadddd,” said Dominey.

As we got louder and louder the offensive lineman would bitch and moan because that’s what fat cow offensive linemen do. They bitch it’s too hot, it’s too cold, practice is too long, they are too fat. For crying out loud go eat another half dozen sandwiches. The pretty boy quarterbacks wouldn’t say anything because they knew that Chase and I along with the rest of the defense could absolutely care less about the stupid stop on contact rule. Red jersey or not, pretty boys were live too every day.

Man I miss those days something fierce. I miss stretching, I miss one-on-one pass rush drills, I miss goal line situations, I miss messing around in the locker rooms, I miss meetings and film sessions. I miss it all.

If only we could start everyday at work by stretching, reciting Rocky III lines and going seven-on-seven live. Nothing like it in the world. We could solve a lot of problems in the work force in America if everybody had to strap it up and go live. “What did you say paper boss. I’m gonna beat you like a dog for making me stay late.” Like the Terry Tate office linebacker commercials, only with a d-lineman in the starring role. It’s all about casting.

It truly is an honor to get a chance to blog on catdomealumni.com. First of all some major attaboys to Wildcat11. What a tremendous job he has done on this website. WC11 contacted me by email a couple of months ago and told me about the site. I spend a lot of time in hotels with my job and I would sit and watch the videos and think about the good old days. The work that he puts in to catdomealumni.com is tremendous. Ryan was a great football player at Linfield. His desire is what made him great and you can see that he still has the desire to be great at what he does with the website. The videos improve each and every year because he strives to get better, just like a Linfield football player should. Plus he showed great intelligence early in his career by moving from the QB position to DE. Talk about moving up in the world, I mean outhouse to the penthouse.

I have endured a crazy road here to San Antonio. I currently work for the San Antonio Rampage in the American Hockey League as a radio play-by-play announcer. We are the top affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes.

If you knew me in college you know that I never stopped talking. I repeat NEVER. “Come on; let’s drop the hammer on these guys. It’s safety time, it’s safety time” and this was usually preceded and followed by a whole lot of profanity.

Working in radio I have had to tone down the profanity (although if Howard Stern starts returning my calls I am back to my old self baby), but I am still running my mouth for a living. If you want hear some of the samples of my work here are a couple links.

http://sarampage.com/fanzone/center/index.html?c=3&id=278&t=0

http://sarampage.com/fanzone/center/index.html?c=3&id=268&t=15

In my broadcasting career I have worked in Astoria, OR, McMinnville, OR, Portland, OR, Billings, MT, Yakima, WA, Seattle, WA, Boise, ID, Memphis, TN, Laredo, TX and now San Antonio. Much traveled certainly describes my career.

There have been many ups and downs in my broadcasting career. Some of the highs were working the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Seattle in 2001, calling two championship hockey teams 2003 and 2006, one championship baseball team 2000, and three state championship basketball teams. Some of the lows include getting fired two days before my wedding, and to top that getting gassed on my fifth anniversary (Told you it could get worse honey). Broadcasting is a tough business and people who know me understand that I have a bit of a big mouth and I tend to tell the truth (Coach Casey at Linfield told me I had a responsibility to do this) which doesn’t always endear me to people.

Thru it all there have been some things that have stayed constant. My wife has put up with me for almost six years and we have known each other for eight years total (she says it feels like 80, aren’t women great for the ego). My parents have stayed behind me all the way thru my lucrative (major sarcasm here, I once got offered a job for $200 a month and all the hot dogs and nachos I could eat at the ballpark) broadcasting career. Another is my following of Linfield Football. I check scores and standings after games and my Dad sends me clippings from the paper.

I have sat in hotel rooms on the road prior to games listening to the Cats play online thru the World Wide Web. During the 2004 National Championship game I sat on my couch yelling at the television. Once again those who know me understand that this is not atypical behavior.

One of the most important things that has stayed with me is what I learned playing football at Linfield. I still consider myself a defensive lineman (the very top of the food chain, the sexiest, smartest, best looking and best athletes on the field). People sometimes say “You try to bulldoze people.” Well no kidding, that’s what we d-lineman do. See the ball, get the ball. I don’t mess around. I am very effective at my job because of this; although I’ve had to mix in a little finesse over the years to survive (several firings will do that to you). Sort of like adding a spin move to the pass rush repertoire.

Coach Ad Rutschman was a huge influence. Frankly I would do anything he asked. I consider him to be the Godfather and if he wants someone whacked, I do it. They will sleep with the fishes by sundown.

Rutsch always talked about a five step plan in terms of how to accomplish things.

Goal
Plan
Believe
Execute
Evaluate

1. Goal - You must have a goal. Football, get to the QB. Life, get a job.
2. Plan How are you going to do this? Bullrush first three times to make o-lineman prop forward then pull and swim. Life, get experience and become as proficient as possible as your craft.
3. Believe You damm well better believe you are going to get to the QB. You better go into the game with the attitude they’re going to have to literally kill you to stop you from getting to the QB. Life is going to kick you in the nuts, many times, and you better have the belief in yourself and your plan to see it through or you will fail.
4. Execute How many people do you know that talk endlessly about what they want to do? Shut up and do it. The best laid plans aren’t worth anything if you don’t get off your ass and pour yourself into the job at hand. Don’t like your situation? You better be willing to do something about it.
5. Evaluate Sometimes you do the previous four steps and you still don’t reach you goal. Do you sulk? Do you quit? Or do you evaluate the situation? What did you do well? What do you need to improve on? Then you go back to step one, reset your goal and repeat the process.

Linfield football teams generally got better through out the season, because we constantly went through these five steps then started over raising our goals each and every time. Our coaches were more prepared than any other coaches in the world. Coach Casey was my position coach. The man knew ever damm play that those freaking Lutes had ever run. He would come into the meeting and say “PLU ran their sissy little hand-to-hand play in 1985 with the ball on the right hash mark at the PLU 43 yard line. The play, which pulls a tight end for no other reason other than to look pretty, because that’s what the Lutes want to do, is look pretty, gained three yards. So-and-so made the tackle.”

Guys who were there in the defensive meetings with Coach Casey will back me up that this is the gospel truth. I will say however that Coach Casey steered me wrong one time and it was a doozy. In 1992 we’re playing PLU in the second round of the playoffs. All week long Coach Casey is telling us, “They run a running back screen, that’s all the Lutes run, a pretty little running back screen. They never run a wide receiver screen back over the middle. I repeat they NEVER run a wide receiver screen.” I wasn’t much for slowing down on the pass rush. Didn’t give a whole lot of thought to playing the screen because usually we were by those big pig offensive lineman so quick we couldn’t detect whether it was a screen or not. If so I just went ahead and buried the QB after he threw the ball. No red jerseys boys, you’re not safe today. Anyway, somehow, someway I read screen. It was like I was in the Lutes huddle, I mean I’m all over it like white on rice, stink on dog poop, I mean I KNOW it is a running back screen. I MEAN I REALLY KNOW. The QB drops back; I am crouched like a panther slowly shadowing the running back drifting out of the backfield like he is lost to try to fool the defense. I am licking my lips knowing that when the QB does toss up that little floating screen pass I am going to pounce. My fraternity brothers are all in the end zone, I am going to do the Lambeau Leap into them, the Maxwell Mosh if you will. I already have my celebration planned. I drift along, cunningly waiting, waiting, exhibiting great patience and the damm QB throws a WIDE RECIEVER screen back over the middle right to the very spot where I had vacated. I literally could have strangled Coach Casey when I got to the sidelines. I didn’t talk to him for almost a week, and in films on Monday he had the gall to say that I should have kept my head on a swivel and seen the wide receiver coming and stayed where I was. HE TOLD ME THEY DIDN’T RUN A WIDE RECEIVER SCREEN. I am still pissed.

Despite that lone example of misinformation Linfield teams prepared harder than other teams, we conditioned harder than other teams (Lewis & Clark conditioned one week a year, the week they played Linfield. Yeah that worked fellas. Go get a haircut you hippies.) and we practiced longer than other teams (well at least the defense did). I’ll never forget the offense would go in, shower up, go eat and we would still be going thru step it on the field on Friday in the pitch dark. Coach Locey would be shouting “one more rep, one more rep”, but we came to play Saturday didn’t we boys.

I loved how paranoid we were. If we spotted someone watching practice, a detective was immediately dispatched over to find out who they were. We stopped practice if helicopters went by overhead. No way could Bill Belichick have filmed our walk thrus. Just try it Bill. He would have been eliminated in a hurry and never found.

This is a true story. I was getting taped up before a game at Willamette (what the hell is a Bearcat) in 1993. I came onto the field 30 seconds late because the line was really long to get taped. Locey had this habit of hiding the entire defense for our pre game walk thrus. I came out of the tunnel and can’t find the damm team, well the offense was screwing around on the field as usual, but I am talking about the real guys, the defensive guys. Locey had trooped the boys a quarter of a mile away from the field into the WOODS. I eventually find the team with the help of an Indian guide and they were hunkered down in a small clearing in the woods apparently trying to ride out an air raid. UNBELIEVEABLE.

We had to turn in our game notes that we collected throughout the week. One time as a freshman I left my notes at home when we played PLU in the playoffs. I borrowed someone’s d-line notes and walked two miles to a store to make a copy so that they wouldn’t find out I forgot my notes. I probably would have been court-martialed and whipped if they had found out. Later on when we got back home I ate the papers to cover up any traces of my crime (alright you got me, this is a lie about eating the papers. I am pretty sure they would have whipped me though.)

On that same trip we are eating at a buffet at a team meal. I am going thru the line and I am dishing up a salad. One of our svelte 300 pound offensive lineman starts yelling at me. “Stop it, Stop it!”

I responded “Stop what?”

The o-lineman screams “Stop it! Stop dishing up all that salad, they want you fill up on that stuff. Go for the meat and potatoes right away.”

THIS GUY WAS TRYING TO WIN THE BUFFET THE DAY BEFORE THE GAME. That’s the kind of program I dreamed about playing in. I played on awful teams in high school. We won seven games total my whole four year career at LaSalle High School. I came to Linfield and during my four years we spent two weeks total ranked outside the top ten in the country. It was awesome.

For my first three years we had a team event during doubles called the Swim Olympics. Now the d-line absolutely dominated the Swim Olympics, they actually won it the year before I got there so it was four years in a row 1990-1993. There was the big splash contest (a natural for d-line), the backwards relay (required extreme athleticism, once again a natural for d-line) and synchronized swimming (you would think a natural for the sissy QBs or maybe those girly o-linemen, but once again the d-line dominated).

We actually used props during synchronized swimming and practiced year round for the Swim Olympics. It was like the Dream Team taking on Angola in basketball in Barcelona in 1992. It was a massacre each and every year. Ever year after we won the d-line would pass up a water break at practice the next day and run around the field taunting everyone. After our third straight win we chanted “Sweet Three-Peat”, then after four straight wins it was “Four more years” like a presidential re-election campaign. Nothing stirs creativity like hours and hours stretching in the morning with fellow d-lineman. The d-line actually forced the cancellation of the Swim Olympics because the rest of the team couldn’t handle getting destroyed every year during doubles. My senior year they decided to hold an educational seminar about drugs and alcohol instead of the Swim Olympics. Well just to let you know we turned the Q&A into a Jeopardy style contest and the d-line, led by Ryan Haack captured the first and only Drug Bowl title. What can I say, we just didn’t lose.

My favorite story involves me, Haack and Joe Smith (Linfield’s current head coach). At Linfield everyone takes a turn on scout team. Didn’t matter if you are a backup, a three year starter, an All-American (well not the QBs, what a bunch of pansies. Go style your hair.) Anyway, Haack is running scout team QB, how in the hell a defensive end wormed his way into the scout team QB position is beyond me, but then again how in the world Haack actually graduated is also beyond me. Anyway, they need a wide receiver. Bingo, I race for the wideout position.

The team we were playing that week had been running a lot of quick slants on the goal line. Locey orders Haack and I to run a quick slant. Everyone knows its coming and Haack hits me with a quick pass inside of Joe Smith and I turn it up for a touchdown. I have the ball up as I cross the line and Joe takes a little exception to this. He wants to run it again. Locey says “Okay, run it again.” Once again Haack finds me on a quick slant inside of Joe Smith for another touchdown. Now Joe is steamed (keep in mind Joe was an All-American DB). So away we go one more time. I mean talk about tension, I know its coming, he knows its coming, Haack hits me with a perfect pass for the third straight TD. Joe Smith will deny it to this day, but it happened. Ask Haack, he wouldn’t lie. When Joe Smith got the job as the Linfield head coach I called him up and left a voice message wishing him well and told him I knew the program would be in good hands. I also told him that he needs to bury his past and admit what happened that long ago fall afternoon. After all he needs to evaluate what went wrong so that he can go back to step one and come up with a new plan so that he can improve.

I would love to hear from any Wildcats. My email address is j_dominey@hotmail.com. Just put Linfield in the subject line.

-Joe Dominey
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Catdomealumni.com Video: Linfield Legend Joe Dominey

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe was a monster for the 'Cats and a heck of a nice guy to boot.

Catcrazy8590 said...

Dominey will always be a WILDCAT! chew 'em up and spit 'em out.