Linfield is going back to 'Cali after the bye week looking to move on from a first game loss to California Lutheran 47-42. Linfield has had two long weeks to examine the CLU game and work on the issue that hurt the 'Cats in game one. As a fan, this has been a brutal wait as the DIII season is now three weeks old and Linfield only has one game down.
The 'Cats will head to La Verne to battle the Leopards who are also coming off the bye as they took an opening season loss to NAIA power Azusa Pacific by a count of 59-14. La Verne is on a 12 game skid dating back to the end of the 2008 season but Linfield would be mistaken to sleep on the Leo's as they dropped a number of close games in the 2009 season and almost knocked off Occidental (a team that took Linfield to the wire in 2009) by a score of 14-13. As this Linfield teams found out that any given Saturday a team can rise up and challenge.
That leads into what I'm looking for out of our 'Cats this week. They are an obvious favorite but road trips, when you have to get on a plane, are always difficult. Then you compound the fact the weather report is calling for 99 degrees at kickoff and the built-in excuses are there to excuse the 'Cats if they are a little sloppy on Saturday. What I'm hoping to see is this team not to use the travel or the heat as an excuse and for Linfield to methodically put La Verne away and snuff out any hope of the Leos have of hanging around the contest. That's the growth that the 'Catdome should hope to see with this Linfield team on Saturday: be mentally ready, execute the game plan, be more physical, put La Verne away, and don't let them off the mat.
Get to know a Wildcat: Eric Hedin, Senior, Defensive End (6' 7" - 245 lbs)
Hometown: Silverdale, Washington
High School: North Kitsap
Major: Business Management Major
Favorite Place in Mac to eat: Thai Country, if you haven't tried it you should!
Favorite Movie: Either Caddy Shack or Super Troopers
Favorite Music: Classic Rock, favorite artist Tom Petty
Favorite TV Show: Sons of Anarchy right now, Entourage season just ended
Favorite Pro Football Team: Was born and raised a Seahawk fan through thick and thin
Class you look forward to the most at Linfield: Currently it's "Topics in Management"
Mac or PC: Mac
What's is your CPU homepage set to: I have several tabs that open but the first tab is always D3football.com
Dog or Cat: Dog
Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox 360
Favorite NWC road trip: PLU, because its close to home and most of my family can make it to the game
Least Favorite NWC road trip: Whitworth, the 9 hour drive is bad enough but when you add a bus with no leg room into the equation it gets ten times worse.
Wildcat11's Keys to Victory:
Stop the Leo's rushing attack: In 2009 La Verne was a pass happy, spread 'em out, and throw it till it falls off offense. However, the Leos have had an offensive philosophy change this season and have made a commitment to be more balanced and establish the rushing attack. The 'Cats need to put a premium taking away the rushing attack and make the Leos try to move the ball through the air.
Keep Boehme's jersey clean: Boehme's jersey was way too dirty after the CLU game. The protection in the 1st half was solid but as the game moved it CLU was able to get to our QB. WC11 really wants to see AB be able to set his feet and deliver strikes all game long.
Establish the running game: I'd love to see Linfield be 50/50 this game in their run/pass ratio and let the big fellas up front move people. The key to the Linfield offense is being able to rush the ball and the better running team we are the more effective the offense is going to be as the season moves along.
Better team tackling: Against a team that is trying to force their will in the run game we have to eliminate the arm tackling that plagued us at times vs CLU and get in better positioning to make technically sound tackles.
Smash the peddle down early and don't let off the gas: Linfield didn't put CLU away and we all know the story by now. I want to see the 'Cats remember that feeling and when they get La Verne down, we don't let them back off the mat. Linfield is suppose to control this game so I want to see it from the start.
'Cats by +24. Not trying to denigrate La Verne but this is a game Linfield is expected to control and dominate. However, Linfield can't just expect to hop on a plane and roll out on La Verne's home field and think the Leos are going to roll over. They're not. I expect La Verne to be hyped up to take on a team of Linfeild's caliber and for them to give the 'Cats all they have. But I expect Linfield to be ready to play LINFIELD football and if that's the case the 'Cats should be coming back home 1-1 after a convincing victory.