Tuesday, October 13, 2009
'Cats Win! Linfield Keelhauls the Rats
One of the best parts for anybody that's on the team or have been following Linfield from game to game is that the West Coast Road Trip of 2009 is officially over. The 'Cats logged over 4,596 miles on the road over the past month and came out with a 4-0 record vs a pretty stiff list of opponents. I have to say it was a pretty gutsy move by Head Coach Joe Smith and AD Scott Carnahan to set up the 2009 schedule with this huge month but risk has been rewarded with a 5-0 overall record and the 'Cats preforming as a pretty damn good football team.
On a personal note, Wildcat11 wants to say thanks to Mrs. 11 for being so great about this past month. Mrs. 11 rocks and I just want to publicly thank her for backing 11 and The 'Cats.
OK...enough of the mushy stuff let's get to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of last week's handling of the Rats.
Road Warriors Finishing Strong: I have to admit I was a little concern when Coach Smith said that the team was tired during his press conference this past Monday but he was right. Everyone was tired after being on the road for so long but once again, Linfield had prepared well and was wound to that right tension before the game and came out and flat dominated that 1st half. Great team mental toughness.
Lock Down Defense: Besides the opening Whitworth drive that was stopped by a great one handed pick by Safety Kole Krieger, the 'Cats defense just spent most of the first half blasting the Rats offensive line and only surrendering 100 1st half yards and 243 total yards on the day. This group continues to improve and I love their physical nature as a defense.
Offensive explosion out of the gates: First two possessions = 14 Wildcat Points. That set the tone for rest of the game as the Linfield offense piled up 24 first half points and had stretches where Whitworth couldn't do anything to slow down the 'Cats offense. Aaron Boehme and the 'Cats WR really showed their skill during large chunks of the game. They have to be one of the better QB/WR batteries in DIII.
Linfield Pass Protection: The big fellas up front reminded me of a protection detail for the President...no Pirate came close to Boehme all day long. Really, since the SOU game the 'Cats offense line has been lights out in their pass protection and have only give up 2 sacks during the entire year. Outstanding effort big fellas.
D-line and defensive play making: Whitworth is the type of team a defensive line loves to play against because there is nothing tricky...it's just who's tougher up front. The 'Cats D-Line was great during the day in causing all sorts of issues for the Whitworth running game. They flat out got after it. Also, the Linfield LB's and DB's continue to make play after play in the backfield and created 4 more picks and 6 total turnovers. This is a ball hawking defense and they are a fun group to watch.
100 Yards and 3 TDs: A big day for 'Cat Back Aaron Williams and the O-Line as they produce another 100 yard day and Williams was able to blast across three short TDs on the day. I love watching this team run the ball with Williams, Abbott, and Avritt. Just wish that I could include Lamson in that list of RBs too....(continue to get healthy young man).
Kickoff Coverage: Again Linfield was hurt in the special teams game with another huge kick return by the opponent. It was the only offense the Rats had in that first half and it did give them some life. Not to be an alarmist but Linfield HAS to get this worked out because we have an opponent in a few weeks that has a habit of making big plays in their special teams game.
Dropped Passes: The 'Cats had about 4-5 straight drop passes on the day. I'm not talking about a WR and DB going up on a fade and fighting for a pass but just dropping passes. I don't even need to really point this out because I know that WR corp wasn't happy with it and will be cleaning that up as the season goes along.
Whitworth Injuries: I hate seeing it and it sucks. We've talked about it before that injuries are part of football and Linfield has their fair share of bad injuries in the past and currently (Lamson's collar bone break) but I want ALL of these young people playing football to stay healthy during the course of a game. They all work too hard on the field and as students to suffer bad injuries. I felt horrible for both Whitworth quarterbacks Andrew Durant and Cub Jansen who left Saturday's game with what looked like pretty bad injuries. I hope those young men can bounce back in a hurry.