Monday, November 30, 2009
From there the winner will be announced on Jan 6th. So what does the winner get? More than just a trophy, this Award provides each coach with $50,000 to donate to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 grant to donate to his school's alumni association.
Right now, Coach Smith current sits in 16th place and is only 45 votes behind Mike Sirianni of Washington & Jefferson College. We don't have to get Coach Smith into 1st place but just in the top 15 for him to advance to the evaluation round where he would stack up VERY well this year.
You can vote once a day, so take the few minutes, sign up and vote everyday to get Coach Smith into the top 15. Do it not only for Coach Smith (who would be well deserving) but for the college to get a nice check.
**Update (12/2) Coach Smith has moved into 15th place With over 830 votes! Great work Catdome Family. Let's keep the pressure on and try to get him over 1,000 votes to make sure he doesn't get overtaken. 5 Alrights to Everybody!
Saturday was a GREAT day to be a Wildcat. I really don't know where to start with this game recap because there are just so many different aspects of the game that jump out in terms of things going the 'Cats way. The final score of 53-21 isn't truly reflective of the talent level of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The 'Cru is a fine team and a fine program but they just ran into a Wildcat team that became a runaway freight train in the 2nd half and UMHB was on the tracks when the 'Cats came through.
This whole playoff run has been so enjoyable for this Wildcat. With the victory, Linfield has run their NCAA playoff program record to 11-4 since 2000 and has now 10 home playoff wins (9 at the 'Catdome and 1 "home" game victory at Willamette, BTW, Willamette only has 1 NCAA home playoff victory in their program history too...ZING!).
But for myself, this run is becoming one of the most enjoyable of them all since I've been around the Wildcat program (1994). In the prior playoff runs these type of deep pushes in the NCAA's where expected before the season even started. Linfield fans just expected those Wildcat teams to be in the West Regional final and make a push to the Stagg Bowl. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all of the success and memories of those great Wildcat teams but this year....it's something different.
I'm not saying the expectations where not there before the 2009 season kicked off, because they were. However, there was some uncertainty about what this team would do. Heck, the NWC coaches picked Willamette to finish first, other publications has Linfield finishing 3rd in the NWC behind Whitworth, and the Oregonian pre-season article mentioned that Linfield's winning season streak might be on the line with the monster schedule the 'Cats were facing. The 'Cats had big questions to answer and the only ones that might have truly believed that this team had stuff to make a run towards Salem might have been the staff and players themselves.
So here we are. Tomorrow the calendar hits December 1st and the Wildcats are still playing football. It's sweet and the tough road the program has been battling the past few seasons had made me enjoy this year a little more. Dare I say the adversity of the past seasons has made me a more "mature" Linfield Wildcat fan? Naw, probably not!
But now I'm saying to myself; Why can't they keep it rolling? Who is left standing to say "Linfield isn't good enough to win Walnut and Bronze?" I'm going to savor every moment of this playoff run but at the same time I'm saying to each of you: "Right now...why not Linfield?"
OK.....let's get to the game review at hand and dive into some The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
3rd quarter Defense. Remarkable how fast that game turned from a close contest to a full out roll job by the 'Cats. All phases of the Wildcat defense had a hand in making it happen. From the Defensive front pushing back and limiting the Cru running game, to the LB's and DB's making plays in the defensive backfield. That 3rd quarter might have gone down as one of the best quarters of Linfield defensive football and that's saying something.
Creating Turnovers. I have to correct people when they said after the game "If UMHB didn't give up the ball" That wasn't the case. It was Linfield taking the ball away from the Cru offense. UMHB wasn't putting the ball on the turf as much as the 'Cats were ripping it away and setting up the 'Cru quarterbacks for picks. Awesome playmaking.
Offense Got It Done: Mary Hardin-Baylor had a great defense. I mean, they were really good. But Linfield's offense is really good too and once the 'Cats made adjustments Linfield's offense really started to pick up steam and put together scoring drives of 58, 65, 79, and 72 yards to go along with being 5 for 5 in red zone chances. Just a gutsy effort by the Linfield offense.
4th down stand with 3:04 left in the 1st half: This was the turning point of the game. Linfield was down 14-6 with 3:04 left in the 1st half and The Cru went for it on 4th and 1 from Linfield's 34 yard line. If UMHB converts, then Linfield might have been looking at a 21-6 half time hole and the game might have had a different outcome. Instead, the 'Cats defense turns away UMHB and Linfield takes the ball and marches down the field to punch in a TD with :25 seconds left to make the score 14-13. That was a season changing moment.
Team's mental makeup: The early going of the game was shocking to say the least. The 'Cru just marched down the field twice and took what looked like was a commanding 14-3 early lead in the game. Instead of panicking and getting tight, the 'Cats just kept chipping away and adjusting their game plan. I didn't see panic just some frustration because Linfield knew they were not playing up to their standard. The 'Cats handled the adversity with grace and tenacity.
Linfield's older fan base: The Linfield alumni fan base just keeps getting it done. With the college closed for Thanksgiving and the student support was once again small it was up to the older Linfield fan base to knock it out of the park in terms of their support for the 'Cats. The crowd was loud and proud. I saw so many former classmates and former players that I haven't seen in years at the game and they rallied around this team. The official attendance was only listed as 2,500 but it seemed much bigger to me than that. Awesome showing.
Limited Running Game: This falls more into giving credit to The 'Cru because they did a great job in limiting the 'Cats run game to only 1.7 yards a carry (58 total rush yards) on Saturday. Obviously, I know Linfield's better than that and are going to have to be successful running the ball if the 'Cats will want to move on in the NCAA's.
Drops: During the game there we about 3 dropped balls in the passing game. I'm not too upset about it because the drops came from guys that I know are sure handed and I know Boehme wouldn't hesitate throwing the same passes to them again. That may seem nitpicking but those passes could have been big gainers for the 'Cats.
First two defensive possessions: Again, this falls more towards credit to the Cru but they moved the ball so dang well those first two possessions. We all know that Linfield made their adjustments but the Catdome was holding their breath for that first quarter.
Come on...perfect late November day, Linfield winning 53-21 over a great program, and finding out that Linfield gets to host the West Region Finals. I don't think there is anything ugly about that.
Wildcat11 talked to Defensive Tackles Tyler Steele and Paul Nishizaki and Defensive Ends Eric Hedin and Ian Estrada about the 'Cats defensive in Linfield's 53-21 2nd round victory over the Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Oh yeah, we couldn't leave our kickers out in the cold so we also chatted up Punter Josh Repp who had a great day pinning UMHB.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wildcat11 talked with offensive guard Jordan Barnes and Wide Receiver Trevor Patterson after the Wildcats 53-21 2nd round playoff victory over the Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor. What a day to be a Wildcat!
Friday, November 27, 2009
News-Register.com: 'Cats clobber Kingsmen for first round NCAA win.
The Oregonian: Linfield use ground game to ground up CLU
Portland Fox Sports (Video): Linfield over Cal Lutheran Highlights
News-Register.com: Linfield's Defense delivers the salt in 1st round of NCAA's
Statesman Journal: Linfield's 1st half too much for Cal Lu.
LA Daily News: Cal Lu gets taught a lesson in 1st round of NCAA's.
News-Register.com: Linfield's Aaron Boehme is damn good.
The Oregonian: 'Cats, 'Cru, 'Catdome, need we write more?
TDTnews.com: UMHB player thinks '04 Cru had a better team than Linfield. Guess that's why they took second.
The Oregonian: Aaron Williams gives Linfield offense a rush.
TDTnews.com: The 'Cru is thankful to still be playing.
kdhnews.com: Mary Hardin-Baylor gets rematch with Linfield...Too bad the players on each team were still in high school when these teams last played.
TDTnews.com: UMHB's coach has memories of loss in '04 Stagg Bowl.
Theoutlookonline: 'Cats Fisher picks twice to help land Linfield the win.
kdhnews.com: 'Cru turns away the Dutch to advance to 2nd round.
Statesman Journal.com: Linfield's Slezak gets shot a playoffs.
D3 Daily Dose: D3football.com crew makes their round 2 picks.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wildcat11 stuck his camera in the mugs of some 'Cats to get some feedback on Saturday's 38-17 NCAA 1st round victory over the Kingsmen of Cal Lu. We spoke with defensive end Ka'ohu McCabe, Offensive Guard Scott Millenbach, Running Back Simon Lamson, Corner Taylor Skore, and WR Gunnar Cederberg.
YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Now that’s what I’m talking ‘bout! It was a great day to be a Wildcat as Linfield jumped all over the Kingsmen of California Lutheran to advance from the 1st round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Man, it felt like old times in the ‘Catdome with a crowd that was into the game from the opening kickoff to the overwhelming energy that was radiating off the players as they came up with big play after big play. It was just a fun day to be a Linfield Wildcat. I couldn’t be happier for the players, staff, fans, parents, and everyone that helps support the ‘Cats. A very satisfying day of Linfield Wildcat football.
I don’t want to jump right into the next round match up with Mary Hardin-Baylor because there is plenty of time to do that, so let’s just take the remainder of the day as fans and finish soaking in this past Saturday. Yeah, the wind was brutal but once again the football gods blessed the Catdome with not a single drop of rain. It was pretty wild because just a few hours later I thought that we were going to need to build a raft with the amount of rain coming down. It reminded me so much of the 04/05 playoffs when the weather looked awful but by the time kickoff would roll around it was near perfect conditions for late November football. It just feels like everything involving Linfield football has their Mojo working…from the performance of the team, the contribution from the alumni and older fans, to the weather. Great things are going on in the ‘Catdome.
The Defense: It wasn’t too long ago when people were freaking out about the Wildcat defense when a defeated UPS squad came into the ‘Catdome and looked like the Oregon Ducks offense. I was getting heckling phone calls from my SJU “friend” and the Northwest Conference board was near implosion. However, everyone associated or that has been following the team knew this was a very good defense. The stats have been fooling some because of some late scores against the young backup defensive units and a single bad performance vs UPS.
So it was great to see this defense get to shine and really put on a great performance vs what has been an explosive Cal Lu offense. Linfield sacked, harassed, and hammered CLU's quarterback all game long and the Wildcat defensive backs put on a show with play making picks and blanket coverage. Their best performance of the year and I believe they are just beginning to peak.
Linfield Rushing Attack: Awesome. I haven’t seen a Linfield team run the ball this well since the great 2002 squad. Cal Lutheran has a good defensive backfield so Linfield really needed to get the run game going and they did that with a balance of bone jarring runs between the tackles mixed in with speed and execution on the edges. The Linfield offensive line AND wide receivers did a great job in the run game on Saturday and should get the offensive game ball.
Pass Rush: Eight Sacks on the day and it wasn’t just one guy carrying the load. The ‘Cats had 7 different players get a piece of a sack on Saturday and they did a great job of keeping Toilolo contained in the pocket while putting constant pressure on the CalLu QB. It was a Jailbreak!
Pick City: Along with the 8 sacks, Linfield also piled up 4 picks on the day. It was a perfect blend of sometimes the defensive front forcing a bad throw for the pick or sometimes it was the coverage of the DBs that were allowing the rush to get there. This young defensive backfield is growing up right in front of us and its fun to watch.
Maika Kunioka getting’ it done: Our Frosh place kicker was a perfect 5 for 5 in PAT’s and nailed a 38 yard field goal try. Getting those PAT’s converted and pinning up those field goal tries are huge aspects of playoff football and Maika passed his first playoff test with flying colors.
‘Cats Backs: I know these guys deflect attention away but quarterback Aaron Boehme, and RBs Aaron Williams and Simon Lamson need to get called out individually for their hardnosed effort on Saturday. Yes, it’s a team game but these guys played brilliantly on Saturday and should get their props. Well done fellas.
Bad 1st half Turnovers: These were bad turnovers where Linfield just put the ball on the ground without CalLu having to do much work and a bad overthrow that led to a big end of half score for CalLu. The turnovers (along with the kick return) gave CalLu everything they put up on the scoreboard on Saturday and it’s just a reminder that taking care of the ball is paramount in the playoffs.
Giving up big kick return: Linfield’s special teams had a good day at the office except for the one bad moment which led to a huge return for the Kingsmen. It was a momentum stopper and allowed CLU to hang around the contest. It only takes a handful of plays to change a game and you don’t want one of them to be giving up a big kick return.
Instead of again bashing the Linfield student body for another lackluster showing (they were again pathetic), I’m going to praise the alumni base for getting out to the game and getting loud for the Wildcats. I saw former players that now live in Seattle/Tacoma, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and just from all areas of the Pac NW at the game. They and the Linfield faithful were awesome on Saturday. They were loud and helped give the ‘Cats that little sharper edge that a home crowd should. I think all the players would want to thank you guys for coming out and getting behind this team. It’s filled with fun and hard working young men so it was great to see so many that have come before them out at the ‘Catdome giving all they could from behind the sidelines. Great work Catdome family!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Portland Tribune: Linfield's hard work all leads to "Right Now"
News-Register: The 'Cats makes sure PLU can't find a way.
LA Daily News: Cal Lu is confident as they head up to the Catdome
Oregonlive.com: Linfield has their playoff dancing shoes back on
Statesman Journal: 'Cats back in post season for 21st time
Santa Cruz Sentinel: The Wildcats Aaron Williams is gettin' it done.
LA Daily News.com: Cal Lutheran QB Toilolo happy to be here
WeOneHumble: The Top 10 Linfield games I wish I would have seen since moving to STL.
Statesman Journal: James Day likes Linfield to win 34-17.
VCSpreps.com: CalLu's trigger man has come into his own.
PLU Mast: Lutes made it look respectable but it was never in doubt.
D3dailydose: The D3.com staff picks scores for round one. Guess who they like for the Linfield game?
D3football.com: Around The Nation's Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
News-Register.com: Linfield's Delta Alpha chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity extends a helping hand to local Mac charity. Good work brothers!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
California Lutheran, the Champions of the SCIAC, will be Linfield's first round opponent and they are a good one. From watching their games on KadyTV.com, Linfield is playing a complete team that has speed, play makers, and is well coached. This is no gimme for our Wildcats and if Linfield thinks that CalLu is going to just roll over because we're Linfield then it's going to be a long day.
It's going to be a classic mid November day in the Northern Willamette Valley (To all those Wine Snobs, I refuse to call if Yamhill Valley) and by classic I mean wet and cold. ADvantage Catdome's offical weather service, Accuweather.com, is calling for rain and wind with a high of 46 on Saturday during game time so there is an added story line to the ball game in regards to how each team can handle the elements.
This is going to be the Wildcats biggest test to date. Is this Linfield team going to be able to elevate their play even a step further and handle what looks like to be a evenly matched opponent? I believe that Linfield is going to answer the bell and I hope our 'Cats prove me right.
Wildcat11's Key To Victory:
Start strong: Linfield needs to continue to get out of the gates playing great football. I've said this over and over again, the 'Cats don't need to be so jacked up that they're bouncing off the walls or so low that they are not ready....but just find that right tension where Linfield is ticking away like a Swiss watch. That readiness comes from good preparation so I hope the 'Cats have been having a heck of a week so far.
MUST limit the Cal Lutheran running game: The Kingsmen has a balanced offense but their most explosive weapon is Senior running back Brian Stuart. The speedy and powerful Stuart, is avg 5.2 yards a carry, racks up over 100 yards a contest and has punched in 14 rushing TDs on the year. Linfield has to put a premium on trying to take away Stuart and the running game and try to force a balanced offense to turn to the air. The Wildcat defensive line has to have a big day.
Linfield has to force their will on the ground: Linfield has been pretty balanced throughout the year, and while we need to limit Cal Lutheran from running the ball, this is something Linfield has to be able to do effectively in order to make the other aspects of our offense click. The Cal Lutheran defense likes to play with a 3 man front and really bring blitz after blitz (run blitz and pass blitz). If the Wildcats can get the run game going that will create all sorts of issues for Cal Lutheran in trying to defend the play action passing game.
Special Teams has to match Cal Lutheran: The Kingsmen have a pair of outstanding kickers that avg 39.3 yards punting and have hit seven touch backs on kickoffs. This is a phase of the game that Linfield needs to have a great effort in with regards to pushing back Cal Lutheran's starting field position on kickoffs. I'd love to see the Kingsmen not start a drive past the 35 yard line all game long. The deeper Linfield can push them back the better off 'Cats will be.
Contain Jericho Toilolo in the pocket. Well, that was easy to type, but I'm not sure how easy it will be in practice. The 'Cats need to try to take away the legs of Cal Lutheran's quarterback. Toilolo is Cal Lu's second leading rushing and in all the video I've watched I haven't seen one designed run for the QB. He's very unconventional with his play and that has to give defensive coordinators fits. This is sort of a "darned if you do" type of situation because Toilolo has a capable arm and good receivers but I'd rather make him beat us throwing the ball in the pocket than killing us with his legs.
Which team will be better on 3rd down? Linfield has converted 46% of 3rd down situations this year while Cal Lu has converted 44% percent of the time. This will be a huge stat on Saturday in determining who's going to be moving on.
The Linfield passing game vs Cal Lu's play making defensive backfield. Aaron Boehme and the Wildcat receiving corp have their work cut out for them in the passing game this weekend. The Kingsmen has a fantastic set of DBs and they're touted as one of the best groups in the country. Linfield's passing game has been stellar all year but this is where the rubber meets the road. The conditions are not going to be ideal for passing the ball but Linfield has to find success in making plays in the passing game.
'Cats by 7. Beyond the above there are other things that could impact the outcome (turnovers, ball control, penalties, etc) but the bottom line is that the team that comes out and is better at executing, handling adversity, and is able to make more plays is going to win. I think this is a special Linfield squad and has a chance to go deep this post season but they are facing an excellent team this weekend. This will be a good game for 60 minutes but in the end I just think Linfield will have enough to move on. It's going to be a battle but I see Linfield playing a home game over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I prayed all summer long that Russell would have a good senior year in football. The kid has been a football workhorse since the 6th grade. I just wanted it to pay off for him, finally. We talked about how his experiences would at least help him in a future coaching career. There have been some awful lows (breaking the right elbow the day after being called up to varsity as a sophomore in HS for example). The beginning of his junior year in HS there was a change of . He played every down of every game both sides of the ball. They had winning seasons, but just barely, and there were no playoffs. (Now that same team has found some traction and routinely goes to playoffs!)
Then he decided to go to Linfield over Cal Luth and various other D3s that recruited him. We were so excited!! What a program! Whoops there goes the head coach and Linfield struggles a bit (that's no insult to Joe Smith, it just takes some time to establish yourself). Russell was cool with playing on thehis first year. He said it was really hard work! Today he will tell you that the 2009 scout team is the best ever and is one of the reasons the team is so well prepared. Well, you know the rest of the story with him and you know the kind of guy he is, so I can say for sure that I've never seen him happier. That is what I am thankful for. The Linfield tradition has been upheld and Russell was able to contribute.
My husband and I have traveled a lot this fall and spent a lot of money to see the Wildcats play. We know this is it. After this year, no more football. It's not like basketball where you can play in rec leagues and still have fun. It's not like Russell will be going to the NFL. Hey it is only money and we will have these fantastic memories all the rest of our lives. We always take Russell and his roommate out to dinner at GVB and have breakfast the next morning at the Wildwood Cafe. We have so much fun going to the game and hanging out with these guys.
Finally, it has happened, the football gods have smiled upon my boy!!
Thanks for all you do,Kathy Sells
Monday, November 16, 2009
I don't think this blog had anything to do with it but the NWC coaches did a great job in bring back some great shine to the All-Conference team by limiting the 1st team offense to 12 players (11 position players and 1 specialist). The defense still had a few too many, but the 15 total defenders (14 position players, 1 specialist) is a step in the right direction. It has to be a tough decision but it's the right decision for the coaches to make. This the best of our best and I applaud them for the make up of the 2009 All-Conference team.
Head Coach Joe Smith was named NWC Coach of the Year and Quarterback Aaron Boehme was awarded NWC Offensive Player of the Year. Both are well deserving and in speaking to them I'm sure they both would say that the honor is just a reflection of the success of the team. IMO, these are sweet for different reasons for the both of them.
Coach Smith took over the program at the last second before the 2006 season and had folks knocking him in terms of the direction of the program. Coach Smith was my position coach when I was a player and I had complete faith from day one that he would get the 'Cats back to this stage. I know he wanted to get back to the playoffs sooner but it wasn't meant to be. Now, I really feel the identity of the program is reflective of his personality in terms of their aggressive nature on both sides of the ball and the overall discipline of the program. He was and is the right person for the job and I feel this is the first of many NWC Coach of the Year honors for Coach Smith.
For Aaron Boehme, this has to be sweet. We all know the story already with Aaron suffering a bad injury that cut short his 2008 season. This has been a season of watching him come into his own. He's a leader and a talent.
Linfield and Willamette led the way with 20 All-Conference selections each. The breakdown for Linfield goes: 9 1st team selections, 4 2nd team selections, 7 Honorable Mentions
RB - Aaron Williams
LB- Alex Tkachuk
Congrats to the Linfield players for the honors and while these are fun, they are ultimately a reflection of the hard work the entire program puts into the season. From the scout team players busting their butts pushing the 1st team offense, to the guys that may not get the glory but are vital cogs in the Linfield machine. Without everyone working together all of these post season awards are meaningless. Congrats to the entire Linfield program!
Now that's what I'm talking about! Besides the 4th quarter when PLU was able to put up a gaggle against our young bucks the Wildcats absolutely double barrel blasted a PLU team that has been playing some pretty good football. By the time Linfield lifted the bulk of the starting units the 'Cats had built a 48-14 lead late in the 3rd quarter and wrapped up the 'Cats 1st NWC title since 2005 (7th this decade, 34th overall conference title). That means the 'Cats will host in the 1st round of the NCAA playoffs against the winner of the SCIAC, Cal Lutheran.
In regards to the game on Saturday you had to be impressed with the sense of urgency the 'Cats displayed. Linfield knew they had to come out early and execute and that they did on both sides of the ball. The Wildcat defense did a great job in covering down field and did the job up front (6 sacks) while the 'Cats offense was just unstoppable once again. This team is poised and ready for the playoffs and if they play to their potential there is no reason why they can't make a deep run during the 2nd season. Let's get to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
1st Unit Defense: A great effort from the Wildcat defense coming in that 1st half and 3rd quarter against a team that had really been putting up some impressive 1st half numbers over the past 6 games. The 'Cats defense held PLU to 85 1st half yards and made huge plays including Linebacker Alex Tkachuck's 22 yard INT return for TD and then Paul Nishizaki's forced fumble that led to the 'Cats really breaking the game wide open on a Patterson TD with :02 left in the half as Linfield took a commanding 41-7 halftime lead. Fantastic effort.
The Offense: I don't know what else to write besides they were fantastic on Saturday. Linfield scored TD's on 6 consecutive offensive possessions and if it wasn't for a tipped INT on the goal line it might have been TDs in the 'Cats first 7 tries on the day. I don't want these guys to get a big head but they looked as smooth as the silk shirt I wore to my high school MORP in 1995. Trust me, it was tight.
Offensive Line Domination: Once again the big fellas did the job up front and help set the stage for Aaron Boehme to have another HUGE day and the offense to pile up video game type numbers. Coming into the season there were many questions about how this offensive line would perform and I think the group has answered them with an emphatic "We're going to be just fine."
Team Sharpness: I loved the vibe that I picked up lurking around the locker room before the game. Guys were not too amped up or too mellow. The players that are more serious were deep in thought, the players that are a little looser were cracking some smiles and overall the tone was that the team was prepared and ready to take the fight to PLU. Nobody looked nervous or complacent...just ready.
Kickoff depth: I really like our kickers but we're still not getting the ball deep enough on kickoffs. The coverage was good but PLU still had prime starting field position all game long (37, 32, 45, 32, 43, 40, 42, 41). Way too many 40's for my liking. We need someone to step it up and get the ball deep.
PLU's 4th quarter 2 point conversions/DB rushing the line during knee down: Now, I have a ton of respect for PLU, always have and always will, but I don't get why they started going for 2 point conversions that late in the game (under 5 minutes left). Mrs 11, a self confessed PLU hater, told me to quit being a baby about PLU try to score as much as possible, but I still contend that was out of bounds and un-PLU like. All of that put Linfield's staff in a bad position. If they kept the 1st team in and poured it on, folks would have been questions Linfield's character by "running it up" on PLU but instead Linfield was in an awkward position of PLU going for 2 with little time left. It was just a weird situation.
But what really was stupid was the PLU defensive back that was charging the line TWICE when Linfield was taking knees at the end of the game. Totally unnecessary and someone was just asking to get hurt. With that said, it's now water under the bridge and I'm done talking about it as Linfield has better and greater things ahead.
Linfield Student Body Support: Excuse my language here but what the hell is wrong with our student body? Our stadium is within 200 yards of the bulk of on-campus housing, the games are free for students and at the start of the game you could have lobbed live grenades into the south end zone bleachers and not hurt a single person. By the middle of the 1st quarter there were people filling up the South End Zone but it was a mix of alumni, fans, and some students. Does the student body know that they have one of the best teams in the country playing on their campus right now? It was a Lewis and Clark type of effort by the student body and they should be ashamed by their showing. I'll be curious to see if they come out for the playoff game but it looks like the Alumni base is going to have to get it done for this awesome group of Wildcats.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
ESPNnews ran the Division III playoff selection show, featuring Publisher of D3Sports.com Pat Coleman, and the news is what we pretty much figured in regards to our first round opponent. California Lutheran, the champions of the SCIAC, will be headed out to Linfield this upcoming Saturday for the Noon kickoff of the 1st round playoff game.
Linfield was awarded the 2nd seed in the West Region bracket and have a chance for at least two home playoff games if the 'Cats can win their first round game.
Find out more information about tickets and brackets at the Linfield Sports site and D3football.com
They deserve the bulk of the credit for getting Linfield back on top of the conference and headed into the NCAA Playoffs. Thank you guys for your hard work!!!!
Friday, November 13, 2009
YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! It's almost Saturday and almost time for Linfield vs PLU. This is one of the best time of the season around the old WC11 household as Mrs. 11 is a big time Lute hater and WC11 is a major fan of victories over PLU. So much on the line and I'm expecting a better than-you-think PLU team will be making their way South on I-5 tomorrow morning. Remember, get OUT TO THE GAME. The weather forecast is calling for no rain during the contest and we need all hands on deck to cheer on our 'Cats. So grab your wife, girlfriend, kids, husband, boyfriend, cousins, uncle, neighbor, and get to the 'Catdome tomorrow! Lets get it done!
The Newberg Graphic: Our condolences to the Lever family as Dan Lever, age 74, has passed away.
Linfield Sports: Russell Sells is the type of person and player that Linfield football has been built on.
The World Link: Former Wildcat players lead Willamina High into Oregon 3A playoffs
ESPN.com: Former Linfield All-American QB and Oregon State O.C., Danny Langsdorf, has a Q&A
D3football Daily Dose: The D3 crew kicks around some mock playoff brackets.
The News Tribune: Lutes turn Oak tunovers into big win.
The Mast: PLU airs it out in victory.
The Mast: Life in the Afterglow
Bearcat Press: Bearcats hits the Loggers with Thunder and Lighting
The Mast: Wildcat11 isn't the only one crying about their team's home attendance.
LCpioneers.com: L&C may not be able to buy love but they are trying to buy attendance.
Daily Record: Be thankful for the Catdome, #1 Division II CWU plays in a dump.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Now for the opponent; Pacific Lutheran has been a very interesting team this season. Their first two games of season were downright disasters as they were crushed at home vs St. Olaf 46-7 and then pasted on the road by Cal Lutheran 49-7. Then, an off the field move by PLU Head Coach Scott Westering paid immediate dividends for the 'Lutes as he left the sidelines and started calling the 'Lute offense from back in the booth. Since the move, PLU's offense has improved dramatically in putting up 43, 33, 17, 35, 21, and 35 points over the past 6 games. The Lutes have gone 3-3 over that stretch and really they were just a few plays away from running off 6 straight including a game where they had Willamette on the ropes.
Even though the record says 3-5, a very worthy and competitive team is headed down to the 'Catdome this weekend. So I'm throwing away the 'Lutes first two weeks of the season and their past two performances vs Linfield to try to get a better idea in just what Linfield needs to do to control and win this contest.
Wildcat11's Keys To Victory:
Offense comes out strong: In their last 6 games PLU has outscored their opponents in the 1st quarter by a combined score of 62-0. During the second quarter of play over the past 6 games PLU has outscored teams 41-28. Quick math will tell you that PLU has been great in the 1st half 103-28 (17.2 to 4.7). If we take the same sample of game for the 'Cats you'll see that Linfield hasn't been slouches in the 1st frame either by outscoring teams 82-7 over the that time. For the first halves of games Linfield has averaged 24.7 to 9.7 during the last 6 contests. Linfield would be doing themselves a huge service by being able to jump the Lutes early in this game.
Tackle well in the short passing game: I'd bet my bottom dollar that PLU has been wearing out the Linfield/UPS game film in putting together a plan to attack the 'Cats. PLU is a passing team that is going to try to protect their QB, Joradn Rasmussen, with quick timing/underneath routes and let their WRs make plays after the catch. Linfield needs to do a better job of tackling once those short completions have been made. Let's keep their Yards After Catch to a minimum.
Force PLU to start drives deep: We need our Kickers to step up and have a day on Saturday along with the coverage team getting it done. Let's eliminate starting position from their own 40 yard line or worse. The deeper we can pin PLU the better the advantage for our defense.
Defensive Line getting after Rasmussen: I'm putting it out there to my boys on the defensive line. If Linfield can get after Rasmussen with just the front 4 then Linfield is going to control this game. PLU is not going to out physical Linfield and run it downhill so the defensive front needs to let Coach Vaughan keep the blitzes down and allow his LBs to stay under the zone. STRONGEST LINK BABY!
Balancing Act: Let's soften up that PLU blitz game and zone with a steady dose of our physical run game. The more we can pound PLU up front the more chances we'll have for the homerun ball and one-on-one chances on the outside. I'd love to see a 55-45 run to pass ratio on Saturday.
Forget the past and welcome the challenge: I hope the players on this team have flushed the previous two games with PLU and understand this is a much improved PLU team. Coach Westering has his groove back in terms of calling plays and PLU has some mature and explosive play makers on each side of the ball. Along with that our team should continue to have that swagger and confidence in knowing they are one of the top damn team in the country in division III and have it in their minds to come out this weekend and reconfirm that with a thunderous performance.
'Cats by 14. If our defensive line can get constant pressure up front and we do a good job in making plays in the defensive backfield then there is no reason why Linfield shouldn't control this game. The 'Cats offense has looked stellar and unless we pee down our legs I don't know if PLU can stop the 'Cats Offense. This Linfield team in so close to greatness but they just need to own it and have a trademark performance this weekend. I have the utmost faith in these young men that they will rise to the challenge.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So bring some food/drink and get out to the Keck parking lot before the game and hook with the 'Cats to share some great memories and then go watch the 2009 team make some more great memories later in the day.
If you are a parent/guardian of a member of the 2009 senior class I want to extend to you an invitation to you to write to the ADvanatage about your son and his time at Linfield. You can write it directly to your son or just write about his/your experience as a Wildcat. I'll post them up during the course of the week so feel free to send in your thoughts/letters to Catdomealumni@yahoo.com
Our attendance this year as been very so-so and that ticks me off because we have a great team this year. I know, I know...the season has been rather disjointed with a home opener then a month long road trip and our last two games haven't really been against marque teams or rivals but there is no excuses this weekend.
The Linfield students needs to step up, the Linfield alumni need to step up, and the Linfield faithful need to step up and make it out the game. Our fan base is always expecting the best out of our teams so they should expect the best out of us.
Bring a friend, family member, neighbor, strangers...whoever...just make it to the game this weekend and yell your brains out!
If the 'Catdome isn't packed this weekend and if you're local then you should be there. If you don't have a very good reason for not being there then I might have to ask you to hand in your Catdome card.
So tweet/email forward/facebook this post and put the challenge out there to your fellow Wildcat. Catdome 3000!!!!!
Friday, November 6, 2009
The Linfield Review: Despite slow start, 'Cats continue winning streak
Newsregister.com: 'Cats run to 8-0, clinch playoffs and NWC Title
The News Tribune: UPS Zuhl's catches 18 passes but Linfield's offense was too much.
LinfieldSports.com: Linfield's Jaymin Jackson is a warrior
The Oregonian: Oregon Colleges look to add football to attract more males to campus. This causes some to get their undies in a bunch.
NWCsports.com: Linfield's Aaron Boehme and Jaymin Jackson are names NWC offensive and defensive players of the week
YouTube.com: (Video) Linfield Pep Band's halftime performance during UPS game. Great Job!
Spokesman.com: Rats go out with a bang.
SWXrightnow.com: (Video) Rats close out home season with goal line stop.
The News Tribune: Pirates sink Lutes in overtime.
Palo Alto online: Oaks win 3rd in a row...Parents have nothing to say in comment section.
VCSpreps.com: Cal Lutheran wins huge game over Oxy and puts the Kingsmen on cusp of NCAA big and a possible trip to the Catdome.
KadyTV.com: Video reboradcast of the Occidental vs Cal Lutheran game
The Whitworthian: Letter to the Editor: Women's Soccer getting short end of the stick from student paper.
The News Register: Linfield's Scott Brosius throws out 1st pitch of game 6 of the World Series
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It's time for Wildcat11's annual plea to the Head Coaches of the Northwest Conference regarding making the 1st team All-Conference selection elite. It has almost become an annual tradition where the NWC coaches put way too many players on the first team offense or defense or it seems there is always Co-Offensive and Defensive players of the year in the conference. It's almost a running joke at this point and it's a shame because we have great players in the conference that should be pointed out as our very best and not hidden by a mass of other good but not great players.
Just look at last year. The conference names Linfield's Taylor Summers and Willamette's Tommy Grove Co-Defensive players of the year. I know Willamette had a outstanding season but I'm sorry...Tommy Grove was nowhere near the player as Summers and shouldn't have had a piece of that honor. I don't even think Grove was the best LB on that team (Bevins).
Then on the offensive side of the ball we had Whitworth's Anderson and Willamette's Woo as co-offensive players of the year. Now that was a legit debate but at the end of the day the coaches should have made the tough choice and either named Anderson or Woo the offensive POY. (I would have taken Anderson)
In fact 4 out of the past 6 seasons the Conference has named Co-POY's either on offense or defense. That includes 2003, when the NWC inexplicably named TRI-POY's on both offense and defense. That's crazy considering there were only 6 teams in the entire conference at the time!
Again, we look at the 2008 1st team defense where there were four linebackers named to the 1st team defense but only 2 defensive backs. Really? There were only two defensive backs in the entire conference that were worthy of being name first team? I guess the conference was trying to balance out when they named 6 DB's 1st team in 2007. It's really all over the map.
I'm begging the coaches to make the 1st team all-conference selections the elite of the conference...I mean make the decision on who is the best in each position throughout the NWC. Do we really need to see a case like in 2005 when Joel Clark, who was a fine QB, was named 1st team offense along with Brett Elliott? Or in 2007 where the coaches named two place kickers to the first team? I know both of those kickers were probably deserving but you couldn't tell me that coaches didn't know that one of the kickers was better than the other? Come on! Make a hard decision on who is the best in the NWC!
If the coaches do finally start making these tough decisions all it will do is help promote the best players in the NWC and the NWC itself. Conferences that put a excess numbers of players on their first team are pretty much negating any pull or influence the NWC conference team may have as a potential endorsement of the conference's best. I put the question to Publisher of D3football.com, Pat Coleman, about conferences that have a glut of players named to their all-conference teams and this is what he had to say: "In my mind, a voluminous All-Conference team basically makes the coaches' opinion unusable when we're voting on All-Region and All-American awards. We hope an All-Conference team can tell us who the best player is at each position, so that we know how to compare players across conferences."
Freaking Bingo Pat! I know the coaches hearts are in the right place and they want to fight for the respect of their players and programs but in order to help further promote the conference we have to legitimize the NWC all-conference sections. So please coaches, let's make the hard choices and select the best of our best.
NWCsports.com Football Archives
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
But lets take a step back and look at the big picture here. Linfield clinched a piece of the Northwest Conference title (33rd title overall) and with PLU's loss to Whitworth, Linfield also clinched the NWC's autobid to the NCAA Division III playoffs (21st post season appearance). What a great accomplishment for this year's team to be 8-0 and on the brink of clinching the program's 12th 9-0 season since 1896 (1961, 74, 80, 82, 84, 86, 92, 2000, 02, 03, 04). This team has the chance to do something rather remarkable and it has to feel even better knowing that there were folks worried if Linfield would be able to win 5 games this year when the season kicked off. Now we're talking about just how deep could this team go in the NCAA's.
But before we start talking about Lutes and playoffs let's take a look back at a game that the offense shined but the defense would rather just forget.
505 yards of total offense. UPS committed to slowing down the 'Cats running game so Linfield turned to the air where Linfield sliced and diced the Loggers for 409 yards through the air. After getting to watch the film of the game the Linfield offense just had their way with UPS and I continue to love just how diversified the offense has become during the year. Last week, Linfield punished Willamette on the ground, this past Saturday, the 'Cats killed UPS in the air. Great work
8 different 'Cats with receptions: Great work by Linfield quarterback Aaron Boehme and the receiving corp/RB's. Trevor Patterson continues to have a stellar year catching the rock and but the WR's are not lacking in other threats catching the ball.
Aaron Boehme: Look, I don't like to single out players in these sections very often because we all know it's a team game and all the players play a part in the successes/outcome of the game but I do have to mention the play of our quarterback. Boehme just keeps getting better and better and I'll say it without hesitation, he's one of the elite QB's in Division III.
Puget Sound Starting field position after kickoffs: UPS38, UPS33, UPS26, UPS40, Lin47, UPS40, UPS37, UPS43, UPS45. That's was the UPS starting field position after each Linfield kickoff. After a great week in the kickoff/coverage vs Willamette we came back with this stinker. That is just not going to get it done and if we don't improve in this area we're not doing our defense any favors by allowing teams short fields to work with.
0-2 Field Goals: I know we took some longer shots (39 yard miss and 42 yard miss) but we need be able to get it done from 40 yards in. The playoffs are just around the corner and having the ability to get 3 on the board is going to be a huge key in the 'Cats success.
Attendance of 1,728: Pathetic Catdome family. I'm responsible too because I was working on Saturday but that is a Willamette fan base type of effort for a team ranked #5 in the country and that has been on a roll. Yeah, I know the Linfield fans took over the Catdome Capital last week in Salem and I could see why some skipped out on the game vs a 0-7 UPS team but that is still a horrible effort from a traditionally great fan base. In watching the film it seems like the Catdome fan base was just flat and if you don't think that doesn't effect the players then you're crazy.
There is no reason we shouldn't be able to crack 3,000 for the season finale vs long time and our historical rival Pacific Lutheran. Does Linfield have to go all UW-Whitewater and start handing out free tuition or having 60's night? I hope we don't have to have gimmick promotions to get people out to watch one of the top Division III programs in the country. So what's it going to be Linfield fans...are you going to show or be a fair-weather/nice-weather Wildcat fan?
Do I really need to say it? The defensive kids and coaching staff are harder on themselves more than any of us fans could be in regards to giving up 36 points to Puget Sound. Give Credit to UPS for coming down and getting it done on offense but I'm not going to spend much more space here jumping on the defense. The 'Cats defense has been great all-year long and I'm not going to let one off day condemn a season's worth of shutting down teams and coming up with huge plays. The staff and players will chalk it up this and next week and get if figured out. I believe....do you?
***Note From WC11: The 2005 team would be on that list of teams to go 9-0 during the regular season but that was the year that L&C canceled their NWC games and left the NWC and Linfield short one game on the season. 2005 Linfield finished the regualr season 8-0.