Thursday, January 31, 2008

Player Blog: Jaymin Jackson "Why I came to Linfield"

We're starting a new player blog segment on Catdomealumni.com's ADvantage Catdome. I wanted to give the opportunity to current players to share their Linfield experience with the fans of Linfield football and hope to give our Catdome faithful an insight on the players they support and cheer for on Saturdays in the fall.

I contacted Sophomore Linebacker Jaymin Jackson about being our first player blogger and within hours he had poured out his thoughts to me. Jay had a stand-out sophomore season and was rewarded by being named to the Northwest Conference 2nd team defense. As you will read below Jaymin is very passionate and proud to be a Linfield Wildcat and I'm looking forward to watching him next fall.
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The reason why I came to Linfield was because I wanted to be a part of a program that mattered. Of course winning and national titles matter but what truly mattered to me were the things that most people don’t really get a chance to see.

Things like the pride that the former players, coaches, and current players have in this program. Knowing that the coaches are truly motivated to make you a better person than what you came to them as. Knowing that it matters that you play and practice as hard as you can because you have Linfield across your chest. Knowing that if the game is on the line that you EXPECT TO WIN. Having no doubt in your heart that your brother next you is playing for the team not his self. Developing a work ethic that none have come close to matching. Driving by the football offices at 2:00am and seeing lights still on. Busting your butt in the weight room and not thinking anything about it because that’s just how it is at Linfield. Seeing guys like Kyle Warner who break their back, not for individual gratitude but for the team. I came here to be a part of a family that will last a lifetime.

I wanted to become a better person, better football player and WIN. I wanted to be a part of something that was pure and not tarnished with selfishness and greed. I wanted to step on the field with 125 guys who it mattered to as much as it did me. This is the reason why I wanted to be a part of Linfield's program. Being able to love something as much as I do; Linfield football. I can honestly say that I don’t believe that you can find a place where it matters as much as it does here. You truly can’t put a price tag on what you will learn from being a part of a program like Linfield's, that’s why I came to Linfield.

I feel privileged and blessed to be able to wear the purple and white. I can’t wait to strap it up next season… and the cats of '08 are ready to get back on top and keep the streak rolling on.

CATDOME!
-Jaymin Jackson
Linfield Class of 2010

Friday, January 25, 2008

Red and Purple Interview: Pacific University AD Ken Schumann


Welcome back to the Red and Purple Interview on Catdomealumni.com. This is our first interview for 2008 and I had the absolute pleasure to trade email with long time Pacific University Athletic Director, Ken Schumann. For us that follow football in the Northwest Conference over the past few years there have been rumors about the return of football at Pacific. So instead of just let rumors float around I thought I’d go to the driving force behind Boxer athletics to find out more.

AD Schumann was great in being open to talk and I wanted to publicly thank him for taking the time out to give all of us the scoop about Boxer football and more.
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(Wildcat 11) Thank you AD Schumann for joining us here at Catdomealumni.com. For the past three years fans that have been following Northwest Conference football have been hearing rumors and have seen the occasional article about Pacific considering a return to the gridiron. As of today, where does football stand on the priority list at Pacific? Have you been able to gain the support of the faculty and Board of Trustees?

(Ken Schumann) Football is a priority along with several other initiatives which we have been implementing over the past couple of years with the goal of upgrading the athletic program as a whole. Since the completion of our Business Plan in 2005 we have been in a fundraising phase. Upon successful completion of the fundraising process we would then take the football initiative before the University Faculty for a vote. If that vote is positive the initiative would then go to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

(WC 11) In reading the article, “University considers return of football” from Pacific Magazine in spring of ’07, it mentions that estimated start up costs would be in the neighborhood of $1.25 million dollars. How close are you to this number and how has the Pacific alumni base responded to the fundraising campaign?

(KS) We currently are slightly over halfway toward our goal for funding start-up costs over a three-year period. All of the support we have received so far has come from alumni and friends of Pacific.

(WC 11) In 2008 the NWC will now be awarded with an automatic playoff bid for our conference champion. However, many teams in our conference still face the big issue of scrambling for non-conference opponents each season to fill their schedule and wind up either playing NAIA or DII teams or having to take costly flights to the Mid-West. Have the other football members of the NWC been in full support of football coming back to Forest Grove? Do you think the NWC is in great need of an 8th member to help bolster our schedules and to help alleviate some travel costs?

(KS) From the feedback I have received from other football playing members of the NWC there is solid support for the sport of football returning to Pacific. I believe that other conference members understand that it would be of great benefit to the football institutions to have a football program at Pacific for a variety of reasons; scheduling, budgeting and enhanced competition within the conference are just a few of the benefits.
(WC 11) From an outside perspective it appears that Pacific is in a transformation period within the athletic department. The Lincoln Park Athletic Complex opened up this past fall with soccer. In a short time, the spring sports teams move into their new digs. It feels that the University is making a push to increase the profile of athletics on campus. Is that a fair statement and do you see Lincoln Park being the future home of Boxer Football?

(KS) I would agree that athletics at Pacific are in a transformation period. It is my goal as Director of Athletics to have programs which are very competitive within the Northwest Conference and Division III across the board. The new facilities at Lincoln Park are a part of that effort and are first class in every way. If we are successful in bringing football back to Pacific the home for the program at least in the short term will be Hillsboro Stadium. I do not anticipate football being played at the facilities in Lincoln Park.

(WC 11) The NWC is rather diverse in its style of play, and this is probably putting the cart in front of the horse, but do you have an idea of what style of football you want your future Head Coach to bring to Pacific?

(KS) My belief is that the style of play is secondary to other characteristics the coaching staff would bring that are even more important. First, the Head Coach needs to be an individual of strong character and one who understands and is committed to the D-III philosophy and fits with the philosophy and culture of Pacific. Also, the head coach and staff need to be strong in the area of recruiting and committed to recruiting student-athletes who will be successful academically, athletically and socially at Pacific. As far as style goes, I would think that it would be difficult for a start-up program to have much success with a run first philosophy. Spreading out defenses can be somewhat of an equalizer until the size, depth and athleticism in your program is built up.

(WC 11) This is a little off topic but there’s a movement on a national level within Division III that is looking at a possible split into a 4th division of classification. There is a lot of speculation and unanswered questions about who would want to move and how the divisions would be split. It appears that there are some clear philosophical differences between the newer membership in Division III and the old guard in terms of various regulations within the current DIII. Have you been involved in these discussions at this past National Convention and do you see Pacific and the NWC supporting a possible “Division IV” classification?

(KS) No I do not see the NWC or Pacific being in support of a Division IV or a possible subdivision of Division III. I believe that the conference is united in our belief of the merits of Division III.

(WC 11) OK, last question. With the best case scenario when can we expect the Boxers to take the field again? 2009, 2010?

(KS) If we are able to reach our fundraising goals in the next few months the most optimistic scenario would be to play in the fall 2009 season. However, the most likely scenario at this point is 2010. But again all of this is based on meeting our Business Plan goals for fundraising monies for three-year start-up costs as well as affirmative votes by the University Faculty and Board of Trustees. If those goals are not reached then we will not be bringing football back in the near future.
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Previous Red and Purple Interviews:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Senior Moment: Andrew Woods

video
During this past season at Linfield home games, The local McMinnville Quizno's sponsored quick interviews with Senior Linfield football players called "Senior Moments". These spots were ran during timeouts, halftime, or pre-game. I'll post up the raw footage of these clips over the next couple of months (without the intro/outro bumpers and background music) with the first being of Cornerback, Andrew Woods.

Monday, January 14, 2008

NWC’s 2008 New Year Resolutions:

A small unknown fact is like many people, the football teams in the Northwest Conference also start each new year with a resolution to help guide their next 365 days of existence. Everybody knows that following a resolution is a pine-knot tough thing to do but our programs out in the far west are up to the task.

Catdomealumni.com’s investigators were able to uncover these New Year resolutions for the 2008 season and as your independent world wide news leader of all things Linfield football it took a few days to collate this information.

Menlo: To install cup holders in their visitor’s coaching box and to upgrade their sound system.

Since Menlo has to blow a great majority of their budget on flight when the Oaks travel to any away game that leaves very little left over for minor items….like facilities. However, Menlo has committed itself in 2008 to install new cup holders in their scissor lift….er…I mean coaching box and to upgrade their sound system to this sweet new Ipod docking station.

Willamette: The Bearcats 2008 resolution is to milk their first win over Linfield in eight years for everything its worth.

So far, they’re off to a great start with any article on their athletic site that deals with football has to mention their 1-point win over our Wildcats.

Lewis & Clark: Around Christmas, my sources were able to take this photo of a note left for Santa that was found in HC’s Chris Sulages office.

I know, I know…a note for Santa isn’t a New Year resolution but we’re going to go with it.

Puget Sound: To assemble the greatest collection of football talent ever assembled at the Division III level or to at least to maintain their great pre-season rhetoric.

Before the 2007 season, Coach Phil Willenbrock stated that the passing ability of his quarterbacks “is better than any I think I’ve ever had in Division III.” It must be nice to have quarterbacks that can both run and throw the ball. I’m just looking forward to read the UPS season preview this fall where he’s bound to say something along the lines of “our linebackers this year are incredible. Not only can they drop back in pass coverage but they can also play the run too.” The talent at UPS is crazy.

Pacific Lutheran: Start a new facial hair trend in Division 3 football.

The ‘Lutes gained media attention for their fast start and their sweet stashes during 2007. The Lute Seniors have narrowed their 2008 choices down to three: The Van Dyke, The Balbo, and The Napoleon III Imperial.

Whitworth: Deliver Redland’s Coach Maynard a batch of crap cupcakes to open the 2008 season.

As much as I rag on the Rats, they did get hosed by the DIII national selection committee when they were snubbed out of the ’07 playoffs. Redlands and Coach Maynard beat the Rats twice last season. The first time was the Dawg’s 24-12 victory over the Rats to open the ‘07 season and the second time was when Coach Maynard and the National Committee sunk the Rats ship in the playoff selection process.

Linfield: Get back to winning the darn conference.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Elliott to be a 'Cat once again.

Catdomealumni.com sources have let us know that former Linfield 2x All-American Quarterback, Brett Elliott (2005) has inked a deal with the defending Arena Bowl champions, The San Jose Sabercats. There hasn't been an official announcement as of yet but the news is expected to break in the next week or two.

San Jose's current QB, Mark Grieb is the incumbent starter (10th year with San Jose) and is a AFL stand-out. Stay tuned for more news later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

‘Cats will Cowboy Up for at least 2 more years

Linfield Sports and Linfield head coach, Joe Smith announced the 2008 football schedule on Thursday and our mystery opponent was revealed as none other than the Hardin Simmons Cowboys. There were some good guesses from the Linfield posters on the d3football.com northwest conference posting board but when it came down to it, Coach Jimmy Keeling and Coach Smith wanted to continue the series that currently stands at 1 win for each team.

The agreement will be for the next two seasons with Linfield traveling back to Abilene, Texas on September 13 to open their season and with the Cowboys flying back to the ‘Catdome in 2009. I’d like to give Coach Keeling “five alrights” for responding to Linfield’s request and continue a trend of top division III programs hooking up during non-conference play.

In giving the remainder of the slate the eye ball it looks like Linfield is going to have to put on the hard hat and grind out another challenging season. The ‘Cats will have the bye after HSU and have the home opener with long time NAIA rival the Raiders of Southern Oregon. SOU was a physical squad last season and I’m sure will be hyped up to take on Linfield in ’08.

After the SOU game, Linfield will have two more home games in a row with Menlo coming up on Oct 4th for their annual loss to Linfield before we really get down to brass tax. Oct 11th will have the Rats of Whitworth coming into the ‘Catdome with a 2 game winning streak over Linfield that disgusts me to the core. I’m not going to make excuses for the losses to the Rats but I’m not going to put a shine on it either…the losses to them have blown the past two years and it has to stop.

The ‘Cats have a short road trip on Oct 18th to L&C to see if the Pios will have taken any steps forward and then another big revenge game will follow the next week on the 25th with Willamette…nuff said.

Linfield will round out the season with two trips up to Tacoma to play in the Morgue on Nov 1st and then up at Sparks (PLU) for the season finally on the 15th. Sandwiched in-between is the final home game of the year with non-conference opponent, Western Oregon. I’m curious to see how WOU develops next season. They lose a huge senior class that has been responsible for bring WOU into respectability but they seem to have to have talent in the wings to reload rather then rebuild.

Overall, I’m excited with the different order of how the games will be played in 2008. Once again, Linfield has a monumental challenge in 2008 and every Linfield backer is excited to see how our ‘Cats respond.

Links:
Linfield Sports

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Schedule thoughts and musings.

Even though the 2008 Linfield football schedule has not be released there are some heavy rumors floating around that should be dispelled before the next thing you know people will have Linfield playing at App. State to open up 2008.

-Azusa Pacific is not happening. It’s true that if the ‘Cats couldn’t find a D3 game to replace Hardin-Simmons that most likely it was going to be Azusa. If that would have happened it would have meant that the only D3 games on Linfield’s schedule would have been NWC opponents. Thankfully we have avoided that misery and have about 99.99% locked up another D3 opponent with a two-year deal.

-The mystery team is not from California. Obviously we know it’s not Redlands or any of the SCIAC schools. Redlands and Linfield had a perfectly matching open date in 2008 but the Dawgs declined Linfield’s offer (again) and choose to front load their schedule with the Spartans of Dubuque (IIAC). I guess Coach Maynard is still sore from those curbings the ‘Cats put on the Dawgs earlier in the decade. Let’s just face facts people…the SCIAC wants nothing to do with Linfield. It’s been four years since Linfield paired off with a SCIAC school during the regular season and I have my doubts if it will happen again in the near feature. Cowards.

-The mystery team is a name that the Linfield faithful know. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

-Yup we’re still going to be playing SOU and WOU. If Linfield is struggling so bad to find D3 games then you have to know we’re still going to be playing our in-state/out-of-division rivals. Thankfully we have both at the ‘Catdome in 2008 but these are going to be two of the ‘Cats toughest tests. It does look like we’re going to be playing WOU through 2009 and I wouldn’t think that SOU isn't going anywhere either. I feel rather confident when I say that Linfield has one of the toughest Division III schedules in the country.

-Get ready to reset your calendars. Another nugget of information is that there's going to be massive changes in the order of the games in 2008. It sounds like the ‘Cats are going to be kicking off the year at the mystery team’s home field and then we’re going to catch a bye week. After the bye, the ‘Cats are going right into NWC play. The NWC schedule has also been shuffled so there are going to be a couple of HUGE NWC games right at the jump of 2008.

When I get the green light we’ll pull back the curtain and reveal the mystery team but until then just be thankful there is someone in D3 outside of the NWC who has the testicular fortitude to dance with the ‘Cats.