Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game 6 Preview: Linfield (4-1) at Pacific Lutheran University (5-0)

The 'Cats will be aiming to inflict more than just a flesh wound on PLU this Saturday.
All eyes will be focused in the Pacific Northwest this Saturday as a MAJOR Northwest Conference/DIII showdown is on the horizon. Your Linfield Wildcats will once again load up the Wildcat Wagons and head up North on I-5 (while making a stop at the Country Cousin) to Puyallup, Washington as the 'Cats will square off versus an undefeated and red hot Pacific Lutheran Lutes team. If we thought the Willamette game was big (it was) just turn the knob up a few slots on the importance scale for this old fashion Linfield/PLU hoedown.

If Linfield wins then the 'Cats just have to win one of their last two games (Whitworth or L&C) to claim a co-championship and since the 'Cats would have the head-to-head over Willamette and PLU the 'Cats would earn the auto-bid. If PLU wins then it wouldn't matter if they lost to Willamette or not as per the NWC auto-bid criteria states that if head-to-head and overall record are a wash then the bid goes to the team with longest time since participating in the postseason. That would be PLU (2001). Bottom line, the winner of this game has the NWC title in a choke-hold.

As for the game itself we have a senior laden PLU team that is executing their game plan at a high level on offense (more balanced with big play threats at WR) and has been a very good bend-but-don't-break defense that has been very stingy in the Red Zone (#1 in the NWC with giving up only 53% of Red Zone chances). On top of this PLU has been great at home in handling solid victories over California Lutheran and Whitworth. The 'Cats will have to bring their "A" game in order to get over on what will be a hostile environment and a very confident host.

Get To Know A Wildcat

Kole Krieger, #9, Junior - Rover

Hometown: Sherwood, Or.

High School: Sherwood High School

Major: Finance

Favorite Place in Mac to eat: Muchas, Oregon Burrito is the best

Favorite Music: Rap, Reggae, Rock basically anything

Favorite TV Show: Entourage and The Office

Favorite Pro Football Team: Not a huge fan of any one team but i like the Jets the most

Class you look forward to the most at Linfield: Managment

Mac or PC: Mac

What's is your CPU homepage set to: Yahoo!

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

Favorite NWC road trip: Willamette

Least Favorite NWC road trip: Whitworth

Favorite Movie that Coach Smith has picked for a bus ride home: The Shawshank Redemption

Yes or No on Linfield's All Purple Look: Yes, we looked good

Who is the funniest DB and who thinks they are the funniest DB? Eric Biege thinks he is funny and is the funniest. He's a big moral booster for the secondary.

Would you rather get the pick or lay out a light's out hit? Pick, you don't get em as often.

Wildcat11's Key To Victory

Be At The Right Tension: The 'Cats need to be like an old school wind up wristwatch: You wind it up too tight and it breaks; you don't wind it up, it won't run. The 'Cats just need to have it wound to the right tension and be ready to play Linfield Football.

Be the more physical team: Linfield has to be the more physical team up front on both sides of the ball. If the 'Cats are able to force their will up front it will cause all sorts of havoc on the PLU game plan. Take pride in trying to dominate the man across from you for a full 60 minutes.

Take away PLU's run game: PLU's bread and butter isn't the run game but they try to run enough to keep the defense honest. In order to stifle the 'Lutes offense the 'Cats need to take away the PLU run game and that means the DT's and Linebackers need to answer the challenge of PLU's traps and inside hitting plays. If Linfield can render the 'Lutes run game meaningless that will just allow the 'Cats to bring more heat.

Putting a premium on ball security: PLU currently leads the NWC in Turnover Margin (+6) and turnovers where huge aspects of the 'Lutes wins over CLU (3 picks, 2 fumble recoveries) and Whitworth (3 fumbles, 1 returned for TD). PLU is will gamble and try to force the big defensive play so the 'Cats have to make it a priority to secure the ball.

Keep Boehme on his feet:  PLU runs a big risk/reward defense where they will send multiple bodies at Boehme from a 3-4 look.  It's paramount for the 'Cats offensive line and running backs to have great communication and understanding where PLU is blitzing defenders from in order not only keep Boehme off the ground but allow him to step in his throws.  If our big boys and RB's can pick up PLU's stunts and blitzes then the 'Cats should be able to strike through the air.

Park Ford and Ice Isaac: Linfield's defensive backs will be facing their biggest challenge to date up at PLU. The 'Lutes are ranked 2nd in passing in the NWC and have tossed for 16 TD's in just 5 games. This will be the most complete WR core Linfield has faced to this point in All-NWC staple Greg Ford (speed) and big play threat Isaac Moog (size at 6' 3"). Ford and Moog have combined for 11 out of the Lutes 16 passing TD's and both average around 15 to 16 yards per catch. I'm looking forward to seeing if our DBs rise to the challenge.

Run Downhill: A team that plays a bend but don't break style of defense is trying to keep everything in front of them and the best way to counter that is to gash them with the running game. The 'Cats have to run the ball with purpose and efficiency. It's no secret...the better the 'Cats run the ball the better an offense Linfield is.

Enjoy the environment/Savor the challenge: This type of game is why these kids came to Linfield in the first place. To play in meaningful games with a lot riding on the line. There is no need to be nervous...just enjoy the moment and savor the fact you get to play in such a big contest and get after those 'Lutes.


'Cats by 10. I'm telling you if Linfield comes into this game after a great week of preparation and if Linfield executes to their level of expectations....the 'Cats are going to win this game. No doubt. However, don't take your opponent lightly. This is an experienced and explosive PLU team that wants this game badly. Linfield will face adversity but if the 'Cats rise to the challenge then our 'Cats will be leaving Sparks Stadium with another victory. Go 'Cats!


CH said...

Good analysis. However I disagree on the spread. I think it should be more like Cats -14.

Wildcat 11 said...


I'll take it. I usually go a little conservative on my number.