Monday, October 13, 2008
Cats Win!!! Keel Haul Rats season.
It was a picture perfect October Saturday at the always perfect Catdome and the ‘Cats corrected a wrong from the past two seasons. It wasn’t easy as the Rats hung tough all game long and Linfield again gift wrapped some nasty looking turnovers but in the end our boys overcame an almost tragic 1st half and found a way to win and set up a GIANT showdown in two weeks vs Willamette. Let go to the hooks!
-Mental toughness. This group of ‘Cats have not had an easy one yet but once again the ‘Cats faced down the adversity and overcame. The team could have been down for giving up so much that first half with the turnovers but the ‘Cats adjusted, cleaned up that aspect of the game, and when out and got the job done in the 2nd half. Excellent
-Offensive Improvement. I’m sure the offense would have liked to do some things better but the bottom line is when the ‘Cats needed the score or the first down to clinch the game, the ‘Cats offense had the answers. I do think the passing game will continue to improve but I loved what I saw in terms of running the ball.
-Team Defense. After giving up a Tug on the first drive the ‘Cats defense settled and really did a great job versus the Rats and Adam Anderson (who is a heck of a player). Whitworth did punch in a short porch drive but really the ‘Cats defense closed the door on the run game and especially when it mattered most…the 4th quarter.
-Line play. Both sides of the ‘Cats line have been getting it done all year long and Saturday was no exception. While they may not get the glory like the skill guys the upfront players on both lines are bring home the proverbial bacon for the ‘Cats.
Turnovers: Four 1st half turnovers. Man that was just bad. It wasn’t like the Rats were ripping the ball out of the running backs hands or making incredible ball hawking plays but they were more self inflicted wounds. Bobbled snap, dropped ball out the backfield, a VERY questionable fumble on a punt return (bad call but we shouldn’t allow it to come to that), and a pick that I’ll give the Rats credit for (good break on the ball and not great placement on the pass). Willamette has lived on the misfortune of others this year so we have to clean up these types of flubs.
Special Teams: Special teams for me on Saturday were a mixed bag. Of course Scott Birkhofer nailed a game winner and the punt team did a great job in coverage and protection, but I just didn’t think as a whole, special team, played their best game. We had a turnover on a punt return, gave up a TD on a broken field goal attempt, I thought our kickoff return blocking was below avg, and we gave up too good of field position in kickoff coverage. I think our Special teams have been solid all year but I didn’t think Saturday was our best effort.
The All-Purple Uniforms. I know, I know…call me a hater but I do hate the all purples. I’ll admit it I’ve never been a fan since the team first broke them out in 2005 versus Puget Sound. There are some guys on the team that the whole purple gimmick looks good but for a number of guys (especially the big fellas) we’re creeping up on Grimace territory and that’s not a good thing. Thankfully, the all purple look is just once a year because I may have to pour acid in my eyes if Linfield adopted this look on a weekly basis. While I’m at it, I might as well rank Linfield’s four uniform combos in this order:
1. Traditional Home Uniform (Purple Top/White Pants): classic Linfield look and a clean traditional college uniform. Great looking uniform.
2. Road Whites (White Tops/White Pants): Have always liked the look with the white helmets, jersey, and pants while on the road.
3. Road White/Purple (White Tops/Purple Pants): I believe this look is for any away game played on grass since the purple pants are easier to get clean and grass stains out of than the white pants. The look is ok but not in the same ball park as the first two
4. Home All Purples. Already said my peace and I feel much better now.