Monday, September 15, 2008

Cats get Texas “2” Stepped

Sorry this is late but I've had a few rough days in getting back to Oregon and trying to take the sting off of Saturday's loss. On to the recap.

That sucked. Guess there’s no better way to put it than that. Yeah, our ‘Cats came back and took the late lead and came “this close” of pulling it out but bottom line is that losing sucks hard.

We can sit here and do all of the what-if’s but the bottom line is that Linfield didn’t do enough things right. We went down early, mounted a great comeback to only see it slip away in the waning moments of the game. The main lesson on this game? Don’t wait to get your back against the wall to start swinging.

Here is Wildcat 11’s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” recap of week 1’s loss

The Good

2nd half adjustment/fire: Now this will come back in the “bad” category in terms of 1st half effort but the ‘Cats defense came out and did a great job in the 2nd half in clamping down on HSU. QB pressure that was pretty non-existent in the 1st half started to get to the ‘Cowboys QB Feaster and the ‘Boys running game started to get stuffed up. Throw out the slip and fall on 3rd down during the last drive and the ‘Cats showed some heart and skill on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Travis Masters: It’s not a very complicated formula. You get Travis Masters the ball and good things happen. #5 led the contest in all purpose yards and scored two Linfield touchdowns (via the ground and the air). Keep finding ways to get him the ball.

Play of Cole Franklin: Linfield fans held their collective breath when starting quarterback Aaron Boehme took off his shoulder pads and was in obvious pain. But, Linfield fans have to feel good about the play of sophomore quarterback Cole Franklin. The kid is flat out electric in the open field. The thing I was most worried about is that Cole would get in the pocket, check his first receiver and if it wasn’t open he would pull it down and go. This wasn’t the case at all. He showed patience in the pocket but he does need to keep growing in terms of accuracy. The offense under Cole moved the ball well and I’m sure that the staff will tailor parts of the offense to his skills.

The Bad:

Coming out Flat: I don’t know if it was just trying to get their legs under themselves or jitters of a first game but I have no good explanation on why this group came out flat. I don’t buy talk of the extensive travel, getting in late, weather, etc. As a player you have to mentally prepare yourself for the hardship of not sleeping in your own bed, getting out of your comfort zone, and the breaks the home team’s can get. This isn’t about a lack of effort in the off season or in fall camp because these young men have been really busting their tails. This is a question that the players need to answer themselves but they cannot afford that type of uneven effort in two weeks.

Negative in Turnovers: Just a killer. Our ‘Cats really were moving the ball in the first half but the two turnovers at mid-field lead directly to 14 points for HSU. That was a big hole to get into. I know that both fumbles have Simon Lamson’s name next to it but the second TO is at no fault of the Sophomore. Option play, ball is pitched; the corner slipped the block and put a helmet right on Simon’s chin right when the ball got there. The first fumble is on Simon (he’ll own it and move on) but the second was a team turnover IMO. We’ve harped on this subject way too much and everyone knows that your chance of winning drops when you give it away more than the other team. I’m done with this subject.

Closing out the game: I don’t need to write much here besides we have to make plays when you have the other team on the ropes.

Not containing Carrillo: HSU’s #2 is gone after this season and I’m thankful for that. Once again he killed us with two TD’s and a two-point conversion.

The Ugly:

Bad injuries: For the second time down in Abilene the ‘Cats starting quarterback goes down in a bad manner. I can’t speak on the extent of the injury to Linfield starting QB Aaron Boehme but it didn’t look good….at all. I don’t like the fact when any player on any team goes down with a bad injury and this one hurts. Boehme earned the job, has the tools (physically and mentally), and I felt had a great year in store.

Also, our starting running back, Reggie Ford, left the game early with an injury. I don’t know the severity and I’m not going to guess on this blog. We really need his speed and play making ability back and I hope it’s not a bad injury.

While injuries are part of the game they do expose the depth and quality of your program. For those that fear the worse let me point to some injury examples of the not too distant Wildcat past.

-In 2000, Linfield’s 3-year starting tailback, Carl Haberberger, is lost early with an ACL injury when it looked like he was having an All-American type season.

-In 2002, returning 1st team All-NWC running back Marty Williams suffers a horrible knee injury early in the year.

- In 2003, Ray Lions who was the ‘Cats returning 1st team All-American safety is lost for the year in the first game with a broken vertebrae.

-In 2004, Linfield’s incredibly talented Defensive End, Kelly Bertrand, tears his ACL in the first game of the year and misses the first 7 weeks of the season.

-Later in 2004 Linfield’s starting tailback Thomas Ford breaks his thumb in the first round of the playoffs and is lost for the season.

However in each of these examples a Wildcat stepped into the vacant roll and got the job done. 2000, a young Marty Williams and young David Russell stepped in and help Linfield to a prefect 9-0 regular season. 2002, David Russell assumes the great bulk of the running back duties and turns in a 1st team All-American season while helping Linfield to a 10-1 season. 2003, Ty Smith fills in for Lions and helps the Wildcats to an 11-1 season. 2004, a young Nick Soo fills in for Bertrand and becomes a key player for that championship team. Then, we all know that Riley Jenkins steps in for T.Ford during the playoffs and winds up being the Stagg Bowl MVP.

The lesson? When it’s your time to step up in a Wildcat uniform, seize the opportunity, because you never know just how good it might turn out.


d1shima said...

Thanks for the report.

MacQuiz said...

I went out to watch the team practice Tuesday afternoon. They looked different...
Our coaches were driving the practice at a pace I don't recall seeing for awhile. They were encouraging (as usual) and upbeat.
This practice was noticably lifted to a level of focus and intensity that was encouraging. The team was upbeat and responding well to the coaching. Coach Smith was leading the orchestra with precision, encougagemnt and purpose.
I feel better.

Wildcat 11 said...


That's the word the came across to me today....Our 'Cats are moving past Saturday and have been working hard this week on the little things.