Saturday, December 29, 2012

Coaches reflect on 'Cats 2012 All-American/All-Region Awards

The more I reflect on the 2012 season, the more I'm impressed what this team accomplished.  The 'Cats had a killer opening slate of games, lost key players after the early portion of the season, but this group found a way to battle and won the program's 4th consecutive Northwest Conference title (by an average of 36.5 points per game), and advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA playoffs before dropping an overtime loss to UW-Oshkosh.  It was a fantastic season in the 'Catdome as a number of players were recognized on the Linfield roster with post-season accolades.  Five Linfield Wildcats received All-West Region honors by and four were named as All-Americans ( and AFCA).  That's a large number of players to be named to All-American teams and speaks to the 'Cats entire roster that they are able to produce tremendous players season after season.  Coach Smith and the Linfield staff provided thoughts on each honor with Coach Smith leading us off with this overview on the selections: These five men are all from the pacific northwest, four Oregonians and one Washingtonian.  All five have a tremendous work ethic and a drive to improve to their utmost.  Their ability to pay attention to detail and master their trade is what has allowed them to excel, and their drive and competitiveness has made it happen.   This group of young men are just the tip of the spear, they get the limelight and do the damage, but it is the rest of the spear and the rest of the team that allowed them to get there.   They represent us well and we are very proud of them.   

#41 Brynnan Hyland, Junior, Defensive End
1st Team All-American
( and AFCA)

43 Total Tackles (26 solo, 17 ast.), 20.5 Tackles For Loss, 19 Sacks (led NCAA), 3 quarterback hurries, 3 Forced Fumble, 1st Team All-Northwest Conference, rated top defensive lineman in NWC, 1st Team All-West Region (, voted team's most valuable defensive lineman

Defensive Coordinator/D-Line Coach Jackson Vaughan: Brynnan's emergence into an All-American caliber defensive player has been one of the most enjoyable things to watch in my time at Linfield. He really is a great example of a guy who came into Linfield with some ability but was raw, undersized, and a little unsure of how good he could be at the college level. Then as freshman, a combination of Brynnan's work ethic, ability to grasp our system quickly, and some injuries allowed him to get some pretty significant playing time. During this time Brynnan was able to gain some experience and learn from the older guys that were playing around him – especially Eric Hedin.

Last year, as a sophomore, Brynnan came into camp much more confident and experienced and it began to show with his play. The other big component that Brynnan began to develop throughout the course of last two seasons was a true "feel" for the game. How to use all of the surrounding information around him to develop a pre-snap plan of attack. Throughout the course of his sophomore year you began to see some great plays and an improved ability to rush the passer. Then we ended the season on a sour note with the loss to Wesley and our defensive ends, including Brynnan, got a little bit of wake up call as we got worked over pretty good at times by their offensive tackle. I think that loss was a great motivator to Brynnan and all of our defensive lineman in the off-season as they knew we had to get improve for the following season.

Then this season rolled in and Brynnan had two years of playing experience and deep understanding of our defense to go along with improved strength and explosiveness. That combined with a conference schedule full of spread oriented – pass first teams led to a dream season for Brynnan where on many downs he could just pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. As a pass rusher he further developed his arsenal of outside, inside, and power moves where he had multiple ways in which to beat opposing offensive lineman. That accompanied with awesome desire and effort, the greatest thing he learned from playing with Eric Hedin, led to just an outstanding junior season. All along the way, the thing that has impressed me with Brynnan is his consistency in attitude and work ethic. Brynnan always comes to practice with the same level of dedication, work ethic, and desire to get better regardless of who we are playing or how much success he had the last weekend. I am very excited to see what another off-season and year of experience will lead to next year!

Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith: Brynnan did something that I did not think would happen again for another decade or so, and that is be talked about in the same sentence as Ryan Carlson (1998) and Eric Hedin (2010). His mastery of the defensive end position is just that. A true technical mastery of attacking an offensive tackle. He did so continually all season and helped lead a wrecking machine of a defensive line. I also look forward to him working hard to improve so that his senior season can even be better.

#5 Dominique Forrest, Junior, Linebacker
2nd Team All-American (
West Region Defensive Player of the Year (
NWC Defensive Player of the year

79 Total Tackles (38 solo, 41 ast.), 9.0 Tackles For Loss, 3 Sacks, 4 interceptions, 3 pass break-ups, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Recovered Fumble, Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Northwest Conference (2nd time (2011), 1st Team All-West Region (, voted team defensive captain and most valuable defensive player.

Linebacker Coach Phil Rombach:When I recruited Dom to Linfield I thought he had something special. I don’t think I realized how special he was until I saw him play his freshman year. Once I saw him in action at Linfield, I knew he had the potential to be an All-American Player. Dom is blessed with a great deal of physical talent. Speed comes to mind, smooth, controlled, crazy fast speed. Watch film on Dom and you will see a player that kicks it into another gear when closing on a ball carrier. He’s also very agile, strong, has great power for his size, incredible hops, great hands, etc. But we all know it takes a lot more than talent to be a successful linebacker at Linfield or anywhere else.

Dom possesses many of the intangibles that make a physical talented player great. The first thing I will say is that Dom is dedicated and hard working. He works hard in the off-season, putting on weight and gaining strength while still maintaining his speed. Dom also works on his weaknesses. He takes criticism well, identifies area he wants to improve, and focusses on them throughout practice. His hard working attitude enables Dom to be a great leader on our team. Dom has become the vocal and emotional leader of the defense and the team. He is a guy that we count on to lead the team next year. The last intangible that I want to mention is that Dom has a nose for the football, he is a play maker. We talk a lot about executing our assignment, finding the ball, and making plays when plays present themselves. That’s what Dom does, and that’s what people saw in the playoffs. He was physical with blockers, his tackling was sound, he stripped the football, and made plays on the ball in the air.

Dom Forrest is a pleasure to coach. He always has a smile on his face, a quick joke, an uplifting word for a teammate, or an enthusiastic rally cry for the defense. He is one of the most talented players on our team, he is a hard worker, a leader, a playmaker, and a great teammate. I’m very proud of Dom and what he’s accomplished this year. I look forward to great things from him in the future. 

Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith: Dom had as fine a season as any of our storied linebackers have had. I loved seeing him step up into the emotional and schematic leader of our defense. When Tyler went down much of that leadership mantle fell to Dom. I think he rose to the occasion and more than met the high expectations that our staff had for him. I am excited to see him recover from his injury and have an even better senior year. I have no doubt he will train to his utmost for it.

#61 Drew Wert, Senior, Offensive Guard
2nd Team All-American

1st Team All-Northwest Conference, 1st Team All-West Region (, Voted team's most valuable lineman

Linfield Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach Doug Hire: By far one of the most physical and toughest players I’ve coached. Knows how to play through pain, every game and every down. Andrew played consistently through out the season where he matched up with some of the best DT and DE and made them look silly at time in how he physically dominated them. Even during the playoffs he performed at a high level against some of the most elite teams and interior defensive lines in the country.

Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith: Andrew was an incredible lifter and his work ethic in the wt. room allowed him to be a physically dominant lineman for us the past two years in particular.   His physicality was contagious and made others better around him.   His ability to play through injury and pain this year was remarkable, and shows the mental toughness that Andrew possesses.    Everything was always about team with Andrew, as he was the consummate team player.   Andrew’s wit and intelligence stands out, as he was a joy to coach not only because of the great on field performance, but also because of his outgoing personality.

#11 Mickey Inns, Senior, Quarterback
4th Team All-American (
Northwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year 

3,288 Passing Yards, 30 TD passes against only 8 picks, 60.8% completion ratio (253 completions, 416 attempts), 274.0 passing yards per game, Northwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Northwest Conference (2nd time (2011), 2nd Team All-West Region (, voted team offensive captain, most valuable offensive player, and team MVP.

Linfield QB Coach Aaron Boehme: Looking back on Mickey's career, you cannot help but be impressed. Ending up on top of the season and careers record books in many of the passing categories, Mickey will be touted as one of the all-time great Linfield quarterbacks. The thing that set him apart, as he moved his way up the depth chart, was his attention to detail and willingness to work. Like many of the players in our program, Mickey put in countless hours, honing his craft in the off-season. From the first game he started, he showed a true grit and feel for the position. He had a knack for making big throws and standing in the pocket, taking the defense's best hit.

This year was challenging for Mickey, just as it was for the entire team in several ways. With the loss of two All-Americans and senior leaders, a lot of pressure was placed on Mickey to pick up the slack. He answered the call. I was very proud to see him grow as a vocal leader and become the true heart of our offense. We put a lot on Mickey. At times, he had checks on every play in some games. He handled it all in stride and performed under pressure.

The thing I am proud of the most, is how he was a great role model for the younger players. He always did the right thing. I know the younger QB's had an abundance of respect for him and would tell you that they learned from him every day. He was like having a second QB coach on the staff and made my job easy. I know Mickey will be a great leader in whatever field he goes into, and is certainly a Cat for life! I'm proud to call him my player, teammate, friend, and brother!

Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith: With the injuries to Tyler Steele and Josh Hill, Mickey had to take an even greater leadership role on this team.  In reality, I feel as if Mickey took this team on his back this year and said “I’ve got this, lets go!”.   I could not be more proud of how a young man has led this football team by example and vocally in all my years here at Linfield.    Mickey is embodiment of what this program is about, taking the talent you have and maximizing it to the utmost.   His play on the field was tremendous, as he completing tore apart most defenses we faced this year.   He was the steering the ship, making the decisions, adjusting our attack to what he saw in front of him.   I love the fire in his eyes when he was not happy with his performance, and I will miss that but not forget it.   Mickey is amongst the Greats that have ever played quarterback here at Linfield.

#78 Steven Schultz, Sophomore, Offensive Tackle
2nd Team All-West Region

2nd Team All-West Region (, 1st Team All-Northwest Conference, Rated as top offensive lineman by the NWC's head coaches

Linfield Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach Doug Hire:  Potential could be one of the best OT’s I’ve ever coached yet has 2 more years to improve. Steve is very athletic with great feet and technique.  His greatest strength would be his ability to pick up concepts and techniques with out a lot of work. He is by far one of the best at this- quick study. He will need to work on the physical part of the game.

Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith:
Steven moved to the left side and anchored down the blind side for us all season.  His athletic ability is quite remarkable for a man his size.   Steven has a chance to be a dominant tackle for us for the next two seasons as well.   He has the rare opportunity to be a 4 year starter, and if he continues to improve and train, could be one of the elite tackles to have played here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shaped Evil

Yesterday I received this email that Coach Smith sent out to his players on Monday.  Like most people across this country, the events that played out in Newtown, Conn. are a nightmare that came to life in a community that could be anywhere in this great nation.  The murder of children and their educators has rocked us all.  Evil. Cruel. Disgusting.  Those words hardly do justice in what was taken away by a sick and twisted young man this past Friday.  

This event has sparked debate across our nation on what this country needs to do to prevent these random shooting murders that seem to be happening with more frequency.  Along with that debate, I think that many people have taken a step back to reevaluate their own lives and what we can do better to effect those around us in a positive and uplifting manner.  

Coach Smith is no different.  

While he's our head football coach, he's also a son, a husband, a father, and a McMinnville community member.  He's been rocked by this just as much as any of us from the outside looking in on this shattered community.  

Coach often communicates to his players about goal settings, program business, etc.  However, what he wrote this Monday to the young men in his charge addressed what he feels what we can all do better to change this culture of aimless and destructive violence.  Coach Smith didn't write this with the intention of me publishing this on the blog but I felt so compelled by his message that I insisted that I republish this call to action.  He's brave enough to allow me to put this out there and I greatly appreciate it.

Coach Smith's letter isn't an indictment on any one aspect of our culture or placing blame in any one area.  Coach's letter is a call for his young men to think about the choices they make in their daily lives and how those choices will shape them as men and as leaders in their future households, places of employment, and their communities.  If more people took Coach Smith's words to heart we would be one step closer in making our country what we all want it to be.      -11


I write to you today with a heavy heart. I feel I would be remiss as your coach if I did not address this as a team, and give you whatever grain of wisdom and perspective I can. Forgive me if I am not well spoken in this, this really has impacted so many of us. I am not saying I have all the answers by any means, but this is just my honest opinion to you because I care so deeply about this Country, this State, and this Program. I believe we can do something about this. I know it is long, but I ask you sit somewhere quiet and please think on this deeply.

What happened twice last week in America was shocking. This is not the Middle East, or war torn Eastern Europe, but rather our own countrymen killing you and I, our sisters, our mothers, our children. A line was crossed on Friday in Connecticut that I never dreamed someone or something could cross; the purposeful execution of 1st graders.

Why did this happen? How could this happen?

How do we fix it? Our President says “this must not happen again”. How do we bring that about? Somehow as a people we must find a way.

If we do not understand the cause, we cannot prevent it. Band aids will not cure the infection.

What is the cause? The bottom hard fact is that we have many messed up young men in this world. You can call them mentally ill, or whatever label you want. But the facts are that we as a society are failing the young men and women your age in this country. We as adults have allowed our youth to grow up in a culture that ill prepares them for the world they encounter when they leave the home. We as adults in America have flat failed our children. Why? Because we are lazy. We take the easy way, the easy road well worn by blind masses that do things and allow things without stopping to think what the long term affects could be.

INPUT equals OUTPUT. Never has that been more accurate.

We do not allow smoking confined areas because science has shown 2nd hand smoke can lead to cancer. Well, that same science has proven beyond ANY shadow of a doubt that violent movies, pornographic material, and violent video games DIRECTLY lead to increase violence toward women and others. It is a fact.

How can this evil act occur in our country you ask? I say it is because we allowed it to grow.

What is the answer for prevention? Is it Gun Control? Is it more mental health workers for teens?

I say they are Band Aids, and will not fix the problem. Look at China and the knife attack that just occurred there in cutting 22 children. The problem is our Culture. We don’t like the output, so the problem is the input.

The fabric of our Society is crumbling before our very eyes. You may not see it, as you know nothing different. Talk to your grandparents who have seen 3-4 generations pass. Look at the sadness in their eyes. They know better.

I say we have a problem when I go to pre-game meeting in Graf 101 and see 25 teammates sitting down against a wall having their own virtual conversations on their phones! I say we have a problem when you walk across campus and no one looks you in the eye, rather they look at their phone. For some it is their only friend in the world. You know what speaks to my children at home for discipline? Take their phone away.

I worry that young men of your age do not know the difference between a virtual relationship or a virtual experience and reality. In fact, for most young men their video game experience is much more intriguing and interesting than their real life. If left to themselves, why would they not spend more time in a cool virtual environment than a lonely boring real one? You see the movie Wall-E?

The adult male brain is not fully developed for most until around 20 years of age, so why would we fill it with so much adult information so early? There is no question we allow our children to grow up too fast with information they are not developmentally ready for. We have a 21 year age minimum for alcohol consumption for the same reason. We know it is not healthy for you, as you can’t physically process it. My wife has fought the virtual war in our household tooth and nail with our children. She has been made by them to seem outdated, ill informed, uncaring etc… You know what? She has been right on. There is no question in my mind.

Even as an adult, the extent of the trash we fill our minds with is staggering. Why would we willingly fill our minds with poison? Do you really believe you are immune to its affects? I believe you are just as vulnerable as I.

Besides the isolation we have created in our society, and growing our kids up too fast, I believe fathers have flat dropped the ball with their children. Any man that is not actively involved parenting his own children is not a man in my eyes. He is a selfish individual that is leaving his heavy lifting for others to do. Period. Parenting takes two parents; it is way too hard to do the job by yourself. Most likely the kids would have won that virtual world power struggle in our household if there was only one parent there. No parent can meet all of child’s needs by his or herself, and sad fact is too many women are shouldering this heavy burden alone in our country. Where are our men? Every evil young man that committed an act such as this; had a Dad that dropped the ball. These dads were not directly involved shaping their sons’ lives, making sure they had the tools the needed to be successful in life. Their selfish decisions, (I don’t care what the reason was, they were not there) lead to other’s lives being lost. We can sugar coat it any way we choose, but that is a fact.

So, politicians are going to point to the band aids, but I want each of you to examine the society you belong to, and find ways to make a difference in those around you. “To whom much is given, much is expected” that means you and me. Put your phone down a little more, turn off that screen more often, and engage those around you. Create meaningful relationships and give of yourself a little more. Try watching uplifting shows more often, or reading material that is positive and possibly inspiring. When you become a father someday, do not take the easy path of putting job and convenience above what is best for your children. They are your responsibility, and they do not know what is good for them, yet. You are the parent, they are the child. If you can’t make that kind of commitment, then don’t have kids. Get a dog.

You are the future leaders of our society and your generation will shape our country sooner rather than later.

My heart breaks for the families burying their children today. My heart aches for the parents who have presents under a tree for children who will never open those presents. I can’t begin to understand the grief they are experiencing. Tears ran freely down my face when I read of principal Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlack giving their lives in the attempt to prevent the killer from murdering the students in their charge. And then you read about 1st grade teacher Vicki Soto. A young woman who in one terrible moment faced pure evil eye to eye and chose to literally shield her young students from the bullets with her own body, allowing some to escape and live. What heroes those women are to me.

These acts of bravery are what I want to remember.

All of us will be weighed and measured when we are called upon to act in many differing levels of extreme adversity our lifetimes.

Dr. King said, “The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of crisis and adversity”.

Phillip Brooks said “character may be manifested in moments of greatness, but it is made in the small ones.”

I believe they are both right.

Every day, every minute we are building our character. The moments of crisis in our lives will allow others to see the man inside us, but that man is being built every day by the choices we make and how we spend our time and energy, and the input we allow into minds.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”

It is time for my generation, and the one before me, to step up and start doing something about this. It is time for your generation to take notice of our mistake, and take steps to not repeat it.

Coach Smith

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Cut Above

Here is the 2012 Hype video for the Linfield College Wildcats. The 'Cats watched this video during the season to get ready for battle on Saturday. The song and main video is performed by Avery Watts.
Avery Watts on Amazon
Avery Watts on Facebook

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'Cats hand out hardware and wrap up season at the annual team banquet.

Last Friday (Dec 7th) your 11-1 Linfield Wildcats capped off their fantastic 2012 season by getting together at McMinnville's Covenant Church off of 2nd street to toast the accomplishments of another exciting year in the 'Catdome.  During the night the 'Cats Coach Smith reflected on the season, thanked the players, support staff, and each member of this great coaching staff and their families for everything they put into the program.  After dinner, the night moved into the team awards (both "awards" handed out by the Seniors and the actual team awards) and the night wrapped up with the staff recognizing the 2012 senior class. This was a great football team that battled losses of keys players during the season but navigated a tough opening host of games and went on to dominate a group of improved teams in the Northwest Conference.  There is much to be proud of and we'll talk more about that at a later date.

2012 Linfield Football Team Awards

Defensive Scout Player: Logan Krellwitz, Safety, Junior, West Linn, Or.

Co-Best Offensive Scout Player: Eddie Fennimore, Offensive Tackle, Senior, Salem, Or.

Co-Best Offensive Scout Player: Chase Russell, Frosh, Running Back, Phoenix, Ariz.

Rookie of the Year: Marq Randall, Defensive Tackle, Freshman, Roseburg, Or.

Most Improved: Jacob Hanke, Offensive Tackle, Sophomore, Salem, Or.

Co-Best Special Teams Player: Josh Kay, Kicker, Senior, Salem, Or.

Co-Best Special Teams Player: Josh Repp, Punter, Senior, Alta Loma, Calif.

Best Offensive Lineman: Drew Wert, Offensive Guard, Senior, Grants Pass, Or.

Best Defensive Lineman: Brynnan Hyland, Def End, Junior, Eugene, Or.

Co-Best Offensive Player: Mickey Inns, QB, Senior, Gresham, Or.

Co-Best Offensive Player: Deidre Wiersma, WR, Senior, Grants Pass, Or.

Best Defensive Player: Dom Forrest, Linebacker, Junior, Portland, Or.

Offensive Captain: Mickey Inns, QB, Senior, Gresham, Or.

Defensive Captain: Dom Forrest, Linebacker, Junior, Portland, Or.

Most Inspirational: Tim Edmonds, Linebacker, Junior, Portland, Or.

John LaRosa Commitment to Excellence Award: 
Maika Kunioka, Kicker, Senior, Mililani, Hawaii

Willis Baker Team Most Valuable Player: 
Mickey Inns, QB, Senior, Gresham, Or.

Monday, December 3, 2012

‘Cats season slips away in tough 31-24 loss to UW-Oshkosh.

Man, that was a hard one to experience. The margin between winning these playoff games against top flight competition is razor thin. Last week, I wrote in the North Central game wrap up: “If you want to be truly elite you have to find ways to minimize your weaknesses during the playoffs. Linfield did that this past Saturday and North Central didn’t.” This was in regards to North Central having a pattern all season long of putting the ball on the turf and it was partially their undoing against the ‘Cats in the second round. This past weekend it was Linfield that was unable to minimize their reoccurring issues, that at times, bogged down this great Wildcat team. Drive killing/extending penalties, losing the turnover battle, and PAT/Field Goal blocking. There were other factors that also played into that 2nd half comeback for Oshkosh such as some poor tackling on 3rd down and near the goal line, and the game turning goal line sequence where the ‘Cats couldn’t convert that 1st and goal into a TD (it never should have came to that (blown TD call) but that’s beside the point). What digs at me the most is the ‘Cats had multiple chances to fend off Oshkosh, and minor breakdowns, along with Oshkosh making the plays they needed, brought the game back to even and into what would turn out to be a brief and sudden overtime loss.

The reason this stings the most is because this is a TREMENDOUS group of young people that played their hearts out all season long. I hate it that their journey and this experience of a season ended and in that fashion. UW-Oshkosh is a fine football team that earned that victory on Saturday but Linfield wasn’t an inferior opponent. Maybe that’s what hurts the worst is that the 2012 ‘Cats had the talent and ability to get to the Division III mountain top and we came up short. Part of that is the reality of the playoffs. 32 teams enter the arena and only one gets to feel great when the dust settles five weeks later. Getting your heart broken sucks. It does every time this program has lost in the playoffs (16-8 overall NCAA playoff record for the ‘Cats) but Linfield keeps getting on their feet and putting it all on the line again. Why? Because the chase and pursuit of a championship is so worth it. The Wildcats keep getting back on their feet because the friendships and deep bonds these players forge will last a lifetime. The insane hours of workouts, films, route running, reads, agility work is where these players learn if the sacrifice and putting aside personal gain/glory is truly worth the chase of this program’s ultimate goal. Having that end short of what you wanted to be the finish line is hard but the hurt is not 100% about taking on the next opponent. Much of that hurt is because these players will not get the chance to come to practice today and rag on each other about what music should be booming in the locker room or tease their buddy for something they did over the weekend. They won’t get the chance today to talk a little smack about a catch they made during one-on-one or full line pass rush drill. It hurts the worst not because they don’t get to suit up next Saturday, but rather, it hurts the worst because they don’t get the chance to be on the football field today.

I want to salute this team for an incredible year of football. In the 97 years of Linfield college football (I think that’s the right number) this football program has only had eight teams reach the 11 win or greater mark. The list goes 1982 (12-0), 1984 (12-0), 1986 (12-0), 1992 (12-1), 2003 (11-1), 2004 (13-0), 2009 (12-1), and 2012 (11-1). Remarkable. I’ll probably get into a more in-depth season review a few weeks from now but what this team did was tremendous.

The 2012 Linfield Wildcats overcame the loss of the two players (Steele and Hill) that were not only the two best players in the conference coming into 2012 but would have been two of the very best in the nation at their respective positions. Losing Steele and Hill after the CLU game I wasn’t sure where this team would go and how they would fill the loss of their impact. What we found out is this team has remarkable depth up and down the roster and others emerged to take control of this team and lead the ‘Cats to one of the finer years in program history. It was a great season to witness the ‘Cats dealing with great adversity, adapting, and making a deep run in the NCAA’s. Thank you so much for your work and passion for Linfield football. This team was a complete joy to be around and the memories this team made will not be forgotten. Go ‘Cats!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Game Day at the 'Catdome!

It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It's looking like we could get drenched or make it through with some light rain. Either way it's still going to be a great day at the 'Catdome. So grab the rain gear and get out to this game to pull for the 'Cats. KICKOFF IS AT NOON. Below is our game day twitter feed. If you're on twitter (you really should be) give your Linfield updates or shout outs by hashtagging the word "catdome". Looks like this: #catdome

Also, the unofficial hashtag of division 3 football is #d3fb so you can add that to your tweets or follow all the action in D3 by following that #d3fb hashtag. Let's go 'Cats!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Around The 'CatdomeO'sphere

Pack the 'Catdome!
Boom!  We've rolled around the internet and gathered together all of the links I could find to bring you all the Linfield/Oshkosh news to get you ramped up for tomorrow's regional showdown.  The forecast tomorrow is showing around 50 degrees at kickoff (noon) with a mix of possible showers and clouds. Who really knows as our weather in the PNW has a tendency to turn on a dime.  Could be raining sideways or the clouds could part for 3 hours tomorrow.  Either way, two great teams will be playing for the right to move into the final four and it should be an outstanding contest.  So dig in to a monster heaping of news links, features, videos, and more.  Go 'Cats! Sons Follow fathers to the path toward Linfield The circus comes to Maxwell Field this weekend. Linfield vs North Central Game Day Blog's Daily Dose (blog): Triple Take: Regional Score Picks and analysis North Central at Linfield slide & video show Wildcatville lets you know where he likes to grub before a game 'Cats turn to the beef in short yardage situations.

Portland Tribune: Inns moves into uncharted water UWO's 3rd round matchup: Linfield College 'Cats roll vs North Central Titans rally to blow out Bethel Inside the "D" at UWO Titans head west for tough playoff test (w/ video): UWO ready for 3rd ranked Linfield (w/ video): UWO gets going and bounces the Royals

uwosh YouTube Page: Novemeber 27th's Titan Tuesday (coach/player interviews) 'Cats dump Cards 30-14 What WCS40 learned about Linfield after NC game WCS40's Linfield vs Oshkosh preview Titans gives Bethel the blues.'s YouTube Page: Oshkosh/Bethel post-game interviews

BethelRoyals' YouTube Page: Bethel's short highlights vs Oshkosh 'Cats force 7 turnovers to down North Central Wildcats run away from North Central Football legacy: Undefeated Titans led by OWU grads

PortlandTribune/Gresham Outlook: Linfield have no trouble against North Central Linfield vs North Central Photo Gallery 'Cats happy to still be here's Daily Dose (blog): Around The Nation Podcast on the 2nd round

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Regional Finals Preview: Linfield (11-0) vs UW-Oshkosh (12-0)

This is stating the obvious but Linfield is playing a huge football game this weekend at the ‘Catdome. Regional Finals/National Quarterfinals/Elite 8…whatever you want to call it, it’s playoff football in December and that should warm the heart of any fan with a team left in the playoffs. Coming out to the ‘Catdome on Saturday is the champion of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The WIAC is widely considered the home of the top football conference in Division III for not only their top end teams but the overall quality of the conference. I won’t argue with the claim because I agree that the WIAC is a heck of a conference. As anyone who follows the division knows that conference and Division III has been dominated by UW-Whitewater over the past seasons. UWW was coming off their 3rd consecutive NCAA Division III National Championship and looked to continue that run in 2012. But a funny thing happened this season. UWW came back to the pack and UW-Oshkosh started making waves in the WIAC and on the national scene.

The seminal moment for UWO came in back-to-back weeks in mid-October as the Titans knocked off a top-15 UW-Platteville and then planted their flag as the WIAC top dog in knocking off Whitewater 28-13 and doing so on the road. At that point, the top 25 voters launched UWO to a well-earned number 5 ranking in the Top 25 and the Titans haven’t looked back. This is new ground for Oshkosh as this is their first appearance in the NCAA playoffs, first time advancing to a regional finals, and first time getting on a plane for a trip of this magnitude. But I don’t think any of those things are going to affect Oshkosh this weekend. They’re a very good football team that has all the tools to win a National Championship and I’m not expected any of these “firsts” to have an impact on their performance this weekend. The ‘Cats are going to have their hands full with Oshkosh’s balanced offense lead by their Gagliardi Trophy finalist quarterback, Nate Wara, and a big and athletic defense that yields very little rush yards and can pressure the heck out of a quarterback. With that said, what else would you expect at this point in the season? There are only 8 teams in the country left standing so everybody is a darn good football team.

Linfield would be one of those darn good football teams too. The ‘Cats had a great 2nd round victory over a tough North Central team (30-14) that has moved this program back to another regional final. I thought Linfield played smart but attacking football last weekend that forced NCC into positions they didn’t feel comfortable in and it paid huge dividends. That is the type of football the ‘Cats are going to have to continue to play if this team wishes to advance past this weekend against their stiffest test yet. Oshkosh is going to challenge Linfield across the board with UWO’s multiple formation rushing attack that can also light you up for big passing plays. The ‘Cats offense is going to be needed to have another day of precision passing and I believe the ‘Cats will need something out of the running game in order to keep Oshkosh’s blitzing game in check. It’s going to have to be a team win with all three phases executing at a high level over the duration of the game.

Get To Know A Wildcat

#7 Josh Kay, Senior, Kicker

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Los Molcajetes no doubt!

Favorite Movie: Definitely The Goonies!

Favorite Music: Anything with a good beat I can jive to...

Favorite TV Show: I don't even own a TV, but Domo and I have been enjoying Law & Order SVU on rare occasions.

Favorite Pro Football team: San Diego Chargers

Class I Most Look Forward to: Top Level Management Leadership

Mac or PC: Mac

Cpu Homepage: Linfield Mail, gotta stay on-top of things!

What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: iphone

Twitter or Facebook: Twitter to express all of my whims. Facebook to stay connected!

Car or Truck: Jeep baby!

Xbox, PS3, or WII: I don't play video games, no time for that!

Favorite Coach Haze Saying: "Just kick it Kay"

You're a good golfer, what's the best course you've played on: Arnold Palmer Private down at PGA West in Palm Springs

If you hang out with the Linfield kickers for a week, what would we learn: We take our business real real seriously!

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: I can sing!

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: The Family!

Post Linfield aspirations: To continue to play football if I have the opportunity. Then get to working for the company I'm currently interning for.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Be in the moment: Saturday is why the young men on this team came to Linfield. This team needs to enjoy the experience of playing December playoff football. Linfield football talks often about being in the moment and not wrapped up in the pressure of the game or the consequences of the results. This is a great group of guys that has worked side-by-side with for weeks, months, and years. Linfield needs to go out and play to the best of their ability, focus on their jobs, have a blast doing it, and we’ll see where Linfield is at when the clock strikes 00:00.

Limit the UWO ground game: UWO has a fantastic balanced offense but this offense will go where their rushing game goes (605 rush attempts, 3,159 rush yards, 263.2 rush yards per game, 5.2 avg per rush, and 34 rush touchdowns). Linfield’s defense is going to see lots of formats (pistol, wing T, no back, two back, etc). The ‘Cats defense has to be stellar in making sure they’re lined up correctly, sharp on assignments, be physical at the point of attack, and be great tacklers. If Linfield can do these things I’m looking for the ‘Cats to cause UWO’s offense some problems.

Great day in pass protection: It’s no secret that the ‘Cats are going to lean on the passing game to carry the offense. Oshkosh might just try to rush 3 or 4 defenders or they could try to create turnovers and bring the house at Mickey all game long. The offense line and running backs are going to have a big challenge but this group has been excellent in pass protection during the year and I'm betting they can get it done on Saturday.

Don’t give up the big passing plays: I’ve already mentioned that UWO’s QB, Nata Wara, is a stud but the Titans have a number of big offensive weapons. Much is made about the Titans run game but where they can kill you is hitting the big pass plays from anywhere on the field. Wara has some excellent targets to choose from (Voss – 1,107 yards and 12 TD’s & Kasuboski – 574 yards and 4 TD’s) and our defensive backs are going to have to make plays on the football when the Titans go for the big strike.

Great Special Teams: Linfield’s kickers have been red hot this post-season and that trend will need to continue. The ‘Cats coverage units are also going to be needed to help Linfield win the field position game.

Pressure: Wara has only been sacked 16 times over 13 games so the challenge is going to be large for the NCAA leader in sacks to get pressure on the Titan gunslinger. Not only is Wara an accurate QB (195 out of 302 attempts, 64.6%) but he’s allusive. Not only will the ‘Cats need to get pressure on Wara, Linfield is going to use great technique in making sure they can get Wara down when the opportunities present themselves.

Play smart, yet aggressive: Linfield has walked that fine line all season long between being physically aggressive, yet not out of control. Any champion out of the WIAC is going to be a physical group and Linfield will need to match that aggression but be good decision makers. The ‘Cats need to be a smart football team in how they take care of the football and Linfield goes about laying the wood to people (no drive extending penalties).

Make Oshkosh honor the run: I’m not asking the ‘Cats to go 50/50 with the offense but I think the ‘Cats will need to pick their spots in hurt Oshkosh with a running game. If Linfield can get the running track going it’s going to make the ‘Cats passing game so much more dangerous.


‘Cats by 3. Oshkosh is good. Really good. In looking at the different aspects of their team they have no weaknesses and will be the best team the ‘Cats have faced to date. Linfield doesn’t have to be perfect in order to win but the ‘Cats will need to be sharp and execute at a high level for the full duration of the game in order to move on once again. I love what this Linfield team has been about this season and know if they play up to their potential that they’re going to find a way to win this ballgame. Do whatever you can to make it to the game and back the ‘Cats!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Game Day Guide: Linfield vs UW-Oshkosh

Linfield Football in December and in the 'Catdome?  You bet!  The students are back, no more D1 football till the end of December, and a decent weather report should all be factors into a nice crowd at the 'Catdome this weekend for the regional finals.  I'll try to get my game preview up tomorrow.  I'm slammed at work so it's been hard to punch it out.

For those students that might be reading the blog it looks like the the Associated Students of Linfield College (ASLC) will make 200 free tickets available to students.  This is according to the twitter feed of one Nic Miles.  So if Nic is pulling a fast one then he's the one to drag through the streets, not me.  

For those that haven't been back to the 'Catdome in sometime, Oshkosh fans, or just people that are going to come check out the action, I have a link below that lays out where the best spot is to tailgate.  Linfield fans have a great reputation for being welcoming to tailgaters no matter your allegiance.  So don't worry about mixing in among the 'Cat faithful.  I also give you some of my favorite places around Mac and if you're getting in on Friday and are looking for things to kill some time.  Go 'Cats!

NCAA: Division III Selection Show's Daily Dose: Around the Nation Podcast (Round 2 Discussion) 2012 Brackets

Linfield Sports: Ticket Purchase Breakdown

Gameday Weather Forecast: Cloudy, Rain Possible, Breezy (High of 52)

Linfield Tailgate Location

Pre-Game Time Killers:
McMinnville's Public Market (opens at 10am) -WC11/Mrs. 11 Highly Recommend
Evergreen Space/Aviation Museum and Waterpark
McMinnville's 3rd Street District

In town Friday night with nothing to do?
Spirit Mountain Casino (25 minutes outside of Mac)
Moonlight Theater - (food/wine/beer and a movie)
Rooftop Bar at Hotel Oregon
La Rambla Restaurant & Bar
The Old Oak (Bar)

Community Plate (Locally grown food)
Wild Wood Cafe
Jake's Deli

Coffee Suggestions:
Best Coffee Shop: Union Block
Best Drive Up - Leann's Lattes or Java Express

Post Game Dinner:
Golden Valley Brew Pub
Mazatlan (Mexican)
Nick's Italian Cafe
3rd Street Pizza
Antonio's (Lafayette)
Public Market's "Aftermarket" (live music, food, beer, wine)

Best Dive Bar:
The Deluxe (Best Burger in Town)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our play of the week Nominations! Week 13

Here is our nominations to's play of the week as both sides of the ball delivered huge plays in the 'Cats 30-14 2nd round playoff victory over North Central Cardinals. The first is linebacker Dom Forrest's 73 yard pick 6 on a 4th and 2 when NCC was driving deep in Linfield territory. A huge swing in momentum and another big play in a list of many by the Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The second was a great football play. With Linfield up 17-0 in the 3rd quarter, Mickey Inns was able to get himself out of big trouble, keep his eyes downfield and find receiver Lucas Jepson who showed great awareness in getting behind the NCC defense. Great pitch and catch for a key TD strike.

Below is a list of previous finalists from the 2012 season.

Week 12: Brian Dundas huge 4th sack vs Pacific Lutheran

Week 9: Colin Forman punt block for touchdown

Week 7: Deidre Wiersma tightrope TD run after catch.

Week 5: John Shaffer's balancing act/cutback that put the dagger in PLU

Week 3: Josh Kay's game winning field goal vs CLU

Week 2: Mike Nardoni lighting up HSU's quarterback like a christmas tree

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield turns over cards and hits a full house in 30-14 win over North Central.

Bam! Wow, what a great day at the ‘Catdome on Saturday. North Central was a tough and talented team but Linfield was flat better this past Saturday. Coming into the game the ‘Cats and their fanbase had some concerns and questions about if this Linfield team was up for the challenge in taking on a team that just put a whipping on a California Lutheran squad that had played Linfield close the past two seasons. Compounding those thoughts was the ‘Cats tough 1st round game vs Pacific Lutheran where the ‘Cats offense was limited and had to turn back a huge PLU run in the 2nd half. Folks around the nation might have been thinking Linfield was vulnerable. I didn’t buy it.

Not only is Pacific Lutheran a good team but their coaching staff and players knew the ‘Cats better than anyone in the field of 32 teams. Linfield had their hands full earlier in the season when the ‘Cats beat the Lutes up at Sparks and Coach Smith and the staff knew beating PLU twice in one season was going to be a tough road to travel. Was Linfield happy with their performance in round one? No. However, they won and moved on and that’s all they wanted to do. This weekend was more reflective of what I was expecting the Wildcats to look like this playoff run. The staff turned Mickey Inns and the passing game loose, the Wildcat defense continued make plays, and the Linfield kicking game continued to shine. Linfield limited their mistakes while taking advantage of North Central’s. Add that all up and you had a quality playoff victory over a champion of a well-regarded Division III conference.

North Central came to the ‘Catdome just as I was expecting them to be. They had some good size, athletes all over the field, a tremendous running back (best I’ve seen since Linfield played Whitewater and Coppage in 2009), and solid special teams. NCC has all the pieces in place to be a serious Stagg Bowl contender. However, they met a Linfield team that was sharp and played smart football. As I’ve written all year long when Linfield doesn’t hurt themselves and execute at a high level, the ‘Cats are awfully tough to beat. North Central found that out the hard way. Right after the game, a lot of people pointed out the unforced turnovers by North Central as why they might have lost that game. True, NCC did put the ball on the ground with some bad exchanges but it appears that’s been a problem for NCC all season long. If you want to be truly elite you have to find ways to minimize your weaknesses during the playoffs. Linfield did that this past Saturday and North Central didn’t. As for the five interceptions, that was due to a mixture of the sheer amount of pressure Linfield’s defense front put on North Central’s QB and our defensive backs and linebackers flat making plays on the football. Linfield “only” had three sacks but North Central wanted nothing to do with dropping back deep in the pocket. You could sense the NCC quarterback feeling the pocket dissolve around him time and again. That was a big factor in Linfield’s defense making plays on the ball.

This is the 6th time since 2002 that the ‘Cats has advanced to a regional finals and will be the fifth time the ‘Catdome has hosted the regional (2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012). As a fan, I’m so thankful to get to experience this once again. It’s a magical time to be a fan of one of the last eight teams left. Everyone is a damn good football team at this point. There are no pretenders but only contenders. That alone should get you fired up for the opportunity to take part in what should be a tremendous game against a highly skilled and talent Wisconsin-Oshkosh team out of the WIAC. The Thanksgiving break and Civil War have played havoc with the attendance the past two weeks (as it does across the entire Division III field) but now is the time to experience playoff football in December. Beg, barrow, or steal (ok…don’t steal) the extra $12 to get out to the game this weekend and get loud. It should be a great atmosphere and well worth the price of admission. Go ‘Cats!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:

Playing Linfield Football: Coach Hazenberg nailed it after the game when he said this team was emotionally spent after Saturday.  After the PLU game that feeling wasn't the same.  Being emotionally spent a good thing. That means this team went out and left it all on the field and didn’t hold back or tried to save anything for the next week. That’s what you have to do at this stage in the playoffs because the level of difficulty keeps increasing. The ‘Cats expended all of their energy and emotions they had and let the score settle itself. It was a great day of Linfield football.

The Passing Game: The Linfield passing game was fantastic. North Central had a stand-out secondary but the ‘Cats attacked them from the first possession and had an effective day throwing the ball. Mickey Inns completed 24 of 39 passes for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. I thought the ‘Cats wide receivers were fantastic in adjusting to the game and finding the soft spots in the Cardinal defense. Inns did get sacked 4 times but for the most part didn’t get hit very much as the offensive line and running backs created a solid pocket for Mickey to deliver. A damn good day for the ‘Cats passing attack.

Defensive Pressure: The ‘Cats were below their typical 5-6 sacks (had 3) but the amount of pressure they put on the NCC quarterback was substantial. Stanek took some crushing hits after delivering the ball and spent a good amount of time running for his life after his 1st option wasn’t available. You could feel Stanek not wanting to be in the pocket for very long and I can’t blame him. The pressure was huge.

Making plays on the football: If you were a former Linfield defensive back watching that game, you had to be swelling with pride. Being in my mid 30's I shouldn't be typing this but our defensive backs “balled out” this weekend. I’m not talking about only the picks but the ‘Cats secondary and linebackers challenged a good Cardinal receiving group on just about every ball put into the air. This was the group that had all the questions headed into season due to their lack of starting experience but they continue to get better as the season has progressed.

Kicking game once again: Kicker Josh Kay and Punter Josh Repp continue to shine this post-season. Josh Kay crushed a 44 yard field goal and had 4 touchbacks on his 6 kickoffs during the game. Kay has looked every bit of the Josh Kay of 2011 this post-season. Josh Repp has been huge for Linfield this season and has continued to be clutch over the past two weekends. Repp had a 43.9 yard average over 7 punts on Saturday and has been a key part in Linfield winning field position.

Playing Smart Football: Only 3 penalties and one turnover. I’ll take it! If Linfield continues to play a clean brand of football, it’s going to take an excellent effort to knock off this Wildcat team. The ‘Cats played a smart brand of football and made great decisions. I loved seeing that.

The Linfield Faithful that came out: It was Thanksgiving break (really for the past two games), the weather looked like it was going to be poor, and the Civil War (Oregon vs Oregon State) was also kicking off at noon. People had every reason to not come to the game this weekend but a great group of fans showed up at the ‘Catdome and was just as loud as if 4,000 fans were packed around Maxwell field. Even if the student base was non-existent, the fans that showed gave their all. Great work ‘Catdome family!

The Bad:

Allowing Kukuc to get loose: 25 attempts for 192 yards (7.7) average: I can’t be too upset over this. 1) Nate Kukuc is a hell of a football player. Guy has a great combination of toughness, agility, and speed. Props to him for making things happen for North Central. On the flipside, the ‘Cats defense still gave up 192 yards rushing to a single back. Linfield would hold Kukuc in check for a few plays and then he would bust a 25 yard gain. That seemed to happen the whole contest. The nature of North Central’s offense opened up some of those opportunities for big rushing chunks but I hope the ‘Cats defense will shore that up moving forward.

‘Cats Rushing Attack: Linfield didn’t put as much emphasis on the rushing game and the stats reflect that. Linfield only rushed for 69 gross yards (26 net) on the day. I’m not going to be too rough on the rushing game because Linfield put the saddle on the passing attack but at some point Linfield will need to be able to pick up some yards running the ball. I hope it will be there when we need it most.

Taking the foot off the gas when Linfield went up 30-0: I think Linfield learned a lesson on Saturday. When Linfield went up 30-0 late in the 3rd quarter the team got a little sloppy. A blown blocking assignment on the PAT team started it and you could feel Linfield go into “it’s in the bag” mode. The problem is you can’t do that against teams of this quality. The foot needs to be on the gas the whole game. You give any of these teams some room and they will surge.

The Ugly:

Seeing players get hurt: It’s not my place to disclose or talk about injury specifics so I’ll keep it generic. Football is a tough and violent game. Always has been and no matter how they legislate the game, there is risk whenever you step onto the field. With that said, it doesn’t make it any easier when you see players get severely hurt. Being around the team, you get to know the players and their families a little. It just makes your stomach go in a knot seeing a young man that’s worked so hard to lose their season. It happens on every team and every year but it never makes it easier. I wish nothing but great football and even better health for all eight teams that remain in these playoffs. Best of luck to all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

North Central Post Game Interviews.

Yes! The 'Cats will be playing into December. That's always a great feeling! Total team victory yesterday in Linfield's 30-14 win over a tough North Central squad. I'll give you the full rundown tomorrow but here's a post game interview round up with DT Mike Maierhofer, OG Drew Wert, and LB Tyler Robitaille. Go 'Cats!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Game Day at the 'Catdome!

It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It's looking like another soaker at the 'Catdome but at this point it should matter to you tough as a pine knot Wildcat fans. Forget the Civil War as those teams aren't playing for a shot at a national title. The Wildcats and Cardinals are. So grab the rain gear and get out to this game to pull for the 'Cats. KICKOFF IS AT NOON. Below is our game day twitter feed. If you're on twitter (you really should be) give your Linfield updates or shout outs by hashtagging the word "catdome". Looks like this: #catdome

Also, the unofficial hashtag of division 3 football is #d3fb so you can add that to your tweets or follow all the action in D3 by following that #d3fb hashtag. Let's go 'Cats!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 Playoff Round 2 Preview: Linfield (10-0) vs North Central (9-2)

I'm thankful for another weekend at the 'Catdome!
I can’t wait till Saturday. The ‘Cats have a monster game starting at noon on Saturday in the ‘Catdome against their toughest challenge of the 2012 season. Coming to the ‘Catdome is the 2012 co-champion of The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), The North Central Cardinals out of Naperville, Ill. The Cardinals (9-2) is a North Region team that was shipped out into the Far West cluster of PLU, Linfield, and Cal Lutheran and made a huge splash in backhanding the Kingsmen 41-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. NCC used a massive rushing attack, big pass plays, and a swarming defense to end the Kingsmen post season in the 1st week for the 4th year in a row. Even with the ‘Cats in the middle of a tight game with PLU, you could hear a murmur roll through the ‘Catdome when that NCC/CLU score was announced. Based on NCC’s past seasons results, their reputation around the Division III universe, and what they did against a team that has played Linfield close, you have to know Linfield is going to have to play a complete game to advance.

While other 1 seeds in the playoff brackets were having glorified scrimmages against a lineup of weak conference auto-qualifiers the ‘Cats had to fight to the final minute of their game against a tough conference opponent that knows the ‘Cats better than anyone in the playoff field. It wasn’t the prettiest of Wildcat playoff victories but like I mentioned on Monday I could care less about style points. Just win and advance baby. That’s the beauty of the playoffs; each win is a new lease on life. A clean slate against the next worthy opponent to test your skill and see if you have the goods to take another step towards the ultimate prize in Division III. I’ve written about this all year long but when this Linfield team has breakdowns and sputters in one area of the game, they can be beaten. However, when the ‘Cats are on-point and clicking along there are only a few teams in the country that can reach that gear. This Saturday one of those teams is visiting the ‘Catdome.

This is what I’m looking forward to the most this weekend. There are more than whispers that Linfield is vulnerable this weekend against NCC. With the NCC/CLU results and that fact Linfield struggled with PLU, I can understand where that is coming from. I get it.   Linfield’s been a popular choice to do big things this season and I’m sensing a change in the tide of the Wildcat goodwill amongst those that follow closely. I’m looking forward to seeing how this Linfield team responses and if they can take their game to the next level against a hell of a North Central team. Forget the Civil War…get to the ‘Catdome!

Get To Know A Wildcat

#49 KeAlii Poomaihealani, Defensive End, Junior

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: A three way tie between Wildwood, Sandwich Express, and Geraldi's

Favorite Movie: Big Denzel fan. Another three way tie between John Q, American Gangster, and Training day. He Got Game was a good one too.

Favorite Music: Mostly reggae. I been on my slow jams playlist recently though.

Favorite TV Show: Cartoon Network. Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, etc. 90's & early 2000's cartoons are way better then whats on cartoon network now though.

Favorite Pro Football team: Don't have a favorite team, but I like Detroit Lions D-Line with Fairley and Suh on the interior. Nastiest guys in the trenches in the past few years, in my opinion.

Class I Most Look Forward to: Tough one, I look forward to all of my classes but if I had to pick one it would be Philosophy East & West.

Mac or PC: Mac

Cpu Homepage: Linfield Email

What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: Iphone

Twitter or Facebook: Facebook. Recently thought about deleting myself from the social networking world. Call it virtual suicidal thoughts.

Car or Truck: Car

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Neither

Favorite Coach Vaughan Saying: "Like a bull in a china shop"

All the Linfield D-Line goes to Izzy's. Who's doing the most damage at the buffet: Hoffer. Maybe Mac.

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: I'd like to think im fairly artistic. Plus, I have a gnarly imagination.

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: Winning.

Post Linfield aspirations: Haven't really thought that far. Safe to say I will spend a few years catching up on the beach life.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class for 4 quarters: As we established above beating North Central is going to be a program effort. A challenge like this is when Linfield needs to lean on the foundations of what makes Linfield football incredibly special. Trust in your teammates that they will do their job so you can do yours. Know that the training and preparation you’ve poured into the previous months and years will act as the vehicle to get to your desired results. Be ready to handle the adversity and keep believing when things are not going the ‘Cats way. Finally, play football the right way…the Linfield way.

Limit The NCC running attack: North Central is a great balanced offense. They run primary out of the shotgun and give you a ton of formational looks and personal groups you have to deal with. NCC is not solely a running team as they can throw the ball effectively and hit the big pass play. However, if Linfield’s defense is going to limit NCC, the ‘Cats have to slow down the Cardinal running attack. NCC has a number of guys that will carry the ball but their guy is Nick Kukuc (1,259 yards, 114 avg a game, 8.2 a carry, and 15 TDs). Also, don’t sleep on Jordan Tassio who carries the ball for 4.8 yards a carry and has 14 TDs on the year.

Balanced Offensive Attack: It’s paramount for the ‘Cats offense to attack the Cardinal with a balanced attack in order to move the ball and put some points on the board. That will be MUCH easier said than done. NCC’s defense has performed on the same level as their offense in only allowing 15.3 points per game (96.1 rush allowed/170.9 passing allowed). The NCC defense is big, skilled, and has a number of playmakers in the lineup. Linfield must be able get the running game going to help open up the ‘Cats downfield passing attack.

Limit big pass plays: While much as been made of the North Central run game you cannot overlook the fact they have the ability to hit the big pass play over the top with a host of receivers and backs hauling in Spencer Stanek passes (167 out of 262 attempts (63.7% completion rate) and 20 TDs to only 6 picks). The ‘Cats have to keep everything in front.

Offensive Line meets the challenge: North Central is featuring a 4-3 front that is physical and big up the middle (both starting DTs are 6’3” and over 270 lbs). The ‘Cats O-Line have a big challenge and are going to be key to Linfield’s success on Saturday. Moving people off the ball and keeping defenders off of Mickey are going to go a long way into if the ‘Cats offense is going to have the chance to get it done on the scoreboard.

Win on Special Teams: NCC has a strong kicking game and good returners. Special teams is an area Linfield has been excellent in over the past two season and Saturday might need to be the ‘Cats best effort yet in the 3rd phase of the game.

Mickey Inns and the receivers have a day: Mick and the receivers are facing a talented secondary in NCC but Linfield has the horses to have a productive Saturday. The offense is going to go as far as Inns and the Wildcat receivers take it. Big day for the passing attack.

Limit mistakes/ball security: Slot this in the obvious category. The ‘Cats need to play smart football and not make bad decisions with not only the football but in controllable penalties. Good technique and Good decision making.


‘Cats by 3. This is a monster game for both programs. If you couldn’t tell, I think North Central is a heck of a club but I know that this Linfield team has the goods to make it happen in the ‘Catdome and bring home the win. Linfield is going to have to be sharp from the moment they step between the lines until the game has expired. If the ‘Cats can limit the rushing attack and make some plays in the passing game the opportunity for the win will be there in the 4th quarter. I’m a believer and know this group of ‘Cats will get it done.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our play of the week nominations.

Here is our nominations to's play of the week as Linfield linebackers delivered two big plays to help the 'Cats bring home a hard fought 27-24 win over PLU.  The first was Brian Dundas huge sack on PLU's last drive.  The sack on 2nd down kept the clock running and the Lutes (with no timeouts left) had no choice but to kill the clock on 3rd down.  PLU didn't convert the 4th and long as Linfield would capture the win.  The second play was Tyler Robitaille's pick six early in the 4th quarter that provided the Linfield with enough cushion for the 'Cats win.

Below is a list of previous finalists from the 2012 season.

Week 9: Colin Forman punt block for touchdown

Week 7: Deidre Wiersma tightrope TD run after catch.

Week 5: John Shaffer's balancing act/cutback that put the dagger in PLU

Week 3: Josh Kay's game winning field goal vs CLU

Week 2: Mike Nardoni lighting up HSU's quarterback like a christmas tree

Monday, November 19, 2012

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield finds a way in 27-24 1st round playoff win over PLU.

It was funny listening to scores during the game from the other 1 seed games around the country. Those other teams had a line-up of cupcakes and weak conference AQ’s to feast on.  The 'Cats? They had their hands full with a darn good PLU team. I knew this wasn't going to be a pasting or a blowout headed into Saturday. These two teams know each other too well and are too skilled to roll the other one out of the building. However, I knew that Linfield would figure it out and move on and that’s exactly what the ‘Cats did on Saturday. They found ways to force takeaways get enough out of the offense and make the plays they needed in the final moments to bring home a hard fought 27-24 game over PLU.

I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact that the offense didn’t have a great day. PLU’s defense did a commendable job in taking away the rushing game which led to a ton of 2nd and 3rd and long situations that frustrated and stymied the ‘Cats offense. But what GREAT teams do is when one aspect of the team is having a rough game the other side of the ball picks it up and carries the day. That’s what the Wildcat defense did on Saturday in making plays to help Linfield overcome PLU. There’s been games this season where it was the offense that pulled the Wildcat defense along in a hard fought win (at CLU, vs Hardin-Simmons) but this past Saturday it was the defense that hadn’t been a turnover forcing group that came up big with 5 of them. Tip of the cap to PLU for playing a heck of a ball game. Linfield might have beaten the ‘Lutes 12 times in-a-row (I had to throw that in there!) but that was the biggest nail biter in the string. The Lutes are going to be a team to be reckoned with in 2013.

The ‘Cats know they need to have a better complete effort next Saturday as a tough and explosive North Central College team will be invading the ‘Catdome. NCC blew the stinking doors off of California Lutheran (41-21) down in Thousand Oaks and that should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the opponent that our ‘Cats will see next weekend. With that said, I LOVE our chances to advance and keep playing. This Linfield team has a strong quality of rising up with people start doubting if they have the goods to meet the expectations. NCC is no joke but Linfield has the players, skill, and schemes to get it done. I’m looking forward to what should be a highly competitive playoff football game.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

Winning and moving on: This time of the year the only thing that matters is winning and moving onto the next round. Linfield had to dig deep but the ‘Cats made enough plays to earn the win and move on to host a tough North Central College. There are aspects of this game that I know the ‘Cats will not be happy with and will do their best to address this next week but the bottom line is Linfield is only one of 16 teams left alive in the country playing for the ultimate DIII prize. Huge congrats to this team and program for continuing to be the standard in the Northwest Conference and out on the West Coast in Division III.

Forcing takeaways: There’s a difference between putting the ball on the turf on simple tackles and aggressively raking at the ball going for the strip. The Wildcats did the latter during the entire course of the game and it proved to be a key difference as the ‘Cats created opportunities in three forced fumbles and also had two critical interceptions that helped pushed Linfield over the top. Coming into the game, Linfield’s defense has been outstanding but had not forced that many turnovers (18 through 9 games) so it was great to see Linfield’s defense so active in making those plays.

QB Pressure: PLU did all they could to limit the ‘Cats pressure with rollouts, option pass looks, and keeping two backs in the backfield to keep bodies off of their quarterback, Dalton Richey. While Richey did a nice job in taking some massive hits while still delivering the ball, the pressure eventually help deliver the win for Linfield with two critical sacks on PLU’s last drive.

Kicking Game: Linfield punter Josh Repp and place kicker Josh Kay came through big yesterday for Linfield. The FG/PAT has had well documented issues off and on during the season but Coach Smith hadn’t lost his confidence in Kay. Coach didn’t hesitate in sending Kay onto the field early in the game to attempt a 47-yard and 42-yard field goal attempts. Kay nailed both in no doubter fashion to get the ‘Cats going early. Linfield punter Josh Repp was huge in helping Linfield keep field position in Linfield’s favor during a good chunk of the game. The pressure was on Repp and he responded with a great day in averaging 45 yards on 5 punts and one within the 20. Repp had a huge game for Linfield.

Limited the Run: PLU netted only 55 rushing yards on 36 PLU attempts (1.5 ave) on the day. While the Lutes did gain 107 rushing yards most were on the legs of Dalton keepers (PLU lost 52 yards). The ‘Cats turned the PLU running backs into extra offensive linemen because they were useless rushing the ball for PLU.

Making plays when it mattered most: It came down to one last drive for PLU and ‘Cats made the plays they needed into win the game. The ‘Cats had two HUGE sacks by Defensive Tackle Mike Maierhofer and then another huge sack by Linebacker Brian Dundas on a 2nd and 10 that forced PLU to spike the ball on 3rd down to stop the clock and eventually led to the game ending incomplete pass on 4th and 16. Linfield made the plays in the truth telling moments to bring home the victory.

The Bad:

Lack of Running Game: Not good. 39 net yards on 26 attempts (1.5 avg). The ‘Cats were operating in 2nd and long the entire game because of the lack of productivity in the rushing game and being in those situations are a death sentence against a defense like PLU’s. Going to need to find a way to spark this if the ‘Cats are going to advance past next Saturday.

Fourth Down Defense: The ‘Cats defense gave up 3 of 4 fourth down conversions on the day. Thankfully the one time the ‘Cats stopped PLU on 4th down was the game winner but Linfield’s defense didn’t have the best day in turning away the Lutes on 4th down.

Ball Security: Linfield put the ball on the ground 3 times and lost it twice in big situations. Taking care of the football will be critical next week.

Kick coverage: Probably a little unfair to put the kick coverage in the “bad” but the coverage wasn’t at the level it has been over the past two seasons. Some solid returns gave PLU good field position to work off of during the game. This group is much better than they showed against PLU.

The Ugly:

Winning ugly. I don’t care if we win ugly or if it’s a masterpiece. As long as the ‘Cats find a way to win and keep advancing I’ll taking winning ugly all day long. PLU might say they “ran out of time” but if you can’t force overtime you only get 60 minutes to win and Linfield was better for those 60. That’s what matters most.