It’s been four years since Linfield played Occidental College out of Los Angeles. In fact, 2005 is the last time that Linfield has played anyone in the SCIAC as some of our SCIAC brothers have had their dancing shoes on the past couple of years *cough* Redlands *cough*. Regardless, Linfield and Occidental will be matching up for the first time ever in the regular season as the ‘Cats will be looking to run their series record to 3-0 over the Tigers and 11-0 over SCIAC schools since Linfield first started playing the SCIAC back in 1998 (A 24-23 win at Redlands).
Little can be predicted about this Saturday match up using the 2004 and 05 playoff games as there are no players left from those rosters and neither teams has any common opponents to measure against. However, both squads know that there are large implications for the winner and loser in Saturday’s game. For Oxy, it’s a chance to stake claim at possible inside track for a post-season home game if the Tigers can claim another SCIAC title. Also, you know the entire SCIAC will be pulling and rooting for Oxy to take down Linfield and break up the ‘Cats unblemished record vs their SoCal peers. For Linfield, the stakes are just as high as a loss on Saturday would tarnish a great opening game victory over then #4 Hardin-Simmons and start the ‘Cats off on the wrong foot of what is going to be a treacherous 4 games road trip. Linfield’s 2009 season has little margin for error so the ‘Cats can ill afford a loss to Oxy.
Like WC11 mentioned before, we’ll be headed down to the greater LA area to take in the action and make our first trip to Oxy’s Eagle Rock. I’m expecting a great group of California ‘Cats to be at the game and the atmosphere should be electric. I’m ready to drink a Red Bull, grow wings, and fly on down right now.
Get to Know an Oxy Tiger:
Senior Wide Receiver, Trevor Deussen (6’ 3”, 210 lbs)
Hometown: San Jose, Ca
Previous School: Piedmont Hills HS
Most Influential Person in your life: His coach
Why did you choose Occidental: Great academics and sports
Favorite Movies: Braveheart
Favorite Music: Everything
Favorite Foods: Mexican
Favorite Sport: Basketball
Favorite Teams/Athletes: 49ers, Lakers/ Jerry Rice
Favorite TV Shows: ESPN
Favorite Quotes: "Live free or die hard."
Hobbies/Special Talents: Running, reading, writing
Wildcat11 Keys To Victory:
Control the Line of Scrimmage. No doubt about it that the ‘Cats need both sides of the ball to perform and compete vs an Oxy team that is going to try to take it right at Linfield on both sides of the ball. When you’re on the road with a short roster the road team has to be able to control the line early in the game because Oxy is going to keep throwing fresh bodies at the ‘Cats. Linfield has to make it their mission to be the more physical team.
Weather the Storm. Just my own feeling here but Oxy is going to be jacked for this game. They’ve had two weeks to do nothing but eat, sleep, and think about this game. This is their home opener and probably one of their biggest non-conference home games in school history. There is going to be a flood of emotion coming from Oxy and the ‘Cats have to be ready to starve off the Tigers till the game settles into a rhythm.
Continued balance offense. A key to Linfield’s explosion last week was the balanced attack of the ‘Cats spread offense. We need another dose of that balance to keep Oxy blitzers off of Boehme and we need the passing game to be efficient to help open holes for Lamson and Williams. If the offense can remain balanced and efficient then I think we should be able to put points up on the end zone.
Travel well. Long road trips are HARD. Linfield knows this from tough losses out in Abilene in 2006 and 2008. There are examples of this all over the place as Willamette went out to Northern Minnesota and were jumped by Concordia. You have to shorten up the roster, drive to PDX, get on a plane for hours, drive through LA on a Friday afternoon while trying to squeeze in the final practice, sleep in a foreign bed. The ‘Cats have to be of a single and focused mission to offset the travel…strictly business. Games vs. top 25 teams are tough enough without getting distracted by being in a different part of the country.
‘Cats by 10. That pick is based on IF Linfield can build upon what they did last weekend. If Linfield is content with one game and comes out flat then you can throw the pick right out the window because Occidental is going to try to hit Linfield right in the mouth. However, if the ‘Cats come out an execute the game plan and play a clean game there is no reason why they cannot turn a hard fought game into a solid road victory. This is going to be a battle but in the end I love the physical nature of our line play to set the stage for the ‘Cats offensive and defensive backs.