|This weekend is what college football is all about.|
Yeah, Linfield would have a strong resume with the strength of schedule, but this is a committee of people primarily from the Midwest and East Coast we’re talking about. If you put your faith in them to do the right thing I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. The real end-game is that Linfield has to win on Saturday to remove any doubts about their post-season aspirations. But winning on Saturday is not going to be easy, far from it.
Willamette is coming into this game coming off a tough loss to a fine PLU squad but that shouldn’t make you feel comfortable about this weekend. Willamette is a senior laden team with a big group of playmakers on offense, defense, and special teams. We all know at this point about the Bearcats dumping the Fly this offseason and going with an up-tempo attack, that can be balanced, but has morphed into an explosive passing game led by Junior QB Josh Dean. What makes Willamette’s offense so formidable is there isn’t one big target but numerous downfield receivers and a host of guys that can cut you up underneath. To top it off, their offense has a great safety valve in tight end Benny Weischedel, who has been a huge play making target for Dean. Complementing the passing attack, is a rush offense that has two fine athletes in Dylan Jones and Tyler Wyman. You can understand why the Bearcats putting up 42 points per game.
Linfield is entering the game coming off of two highly productive wins over Whitworth and Lewis and Clark, and seems to be hitting their stride as a team. However, Willamette is a different animal than what the ‘Cats have faced the previous two Saturdays. The early season lined up a number of stiff challengers but it’s been over a month since Linfield has been truly tested on the field. I want to see how this group responds to the big uptick in competition and with so much riding on the line. Willamette is a very good team that is in a do-or-die situation. You know the Bearcat sense of urgency will be at a season high on Saturday and I want to find out if Linfield is going to match that intensity. I’m betting yes.
Get To Know A Wildcat
#27 Ian Zarosinski, Defensive Back, Junior
Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Muchas Gracias after 12am
Favorite Movie: October Sky
Favorite Music: Country
Favorite TV Show: Sons of Anarchy
Favorite Pro Football team: Seaturkeys
Class I Most Look Forward to: Yoga
Mac or PC: PC
Cpu Homepage: Google
What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: I don't have a smart phone so definitely CPU
Twitter or Facebook: Facebook
Car or Truck: Gas is over 4 bucks/gallon! Car
Xbox, PS3, or WII: I don't own one but the Xbox is my favorite
Favorite Coach Haze Saying: Just a Skosh
Who on the team would claim to be the best fisherman: Forman
Line up the DB's in a 100 meter dash, who's winning: Good question
Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: Swimming and cooking are my two hidden talents
Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: Playing in big games with a bunch of competitive guys
Post Linfield aspirations: I want to own a business and have a family
Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory
Start Strong, Play Strong, Finish Strong: Winning on Saturday is going to take a full out effort for the ‘Cats in all three phases of the game. Linfield needs to come out early and establish a physical style of play and sustain that over 4 quarters. There will be adversity in this game, and if this team can work though it, they’ll be in great shape.
Lock Up The Willamette Run Game: Willamette is a fantastic passing team but what Linfield cannot afford to let happen is allow the Bearcats to establish a run game. If that happens, the Bearcat play action pass game will be all the more dangerous and expose Linfield to big play strikes. If the ‘Cats can limit the effectiveness of the rushing game, it will allow more help in coverage.
Continuous Pressure: Biggest pass rush game of the year for the ‘Cats. Linfield has to be able to get to Josh Dean and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. It won’t be easy as Dean is a hell of an athlete that can move well outside the pocket and pull it down if needed. Linfield has been great all season in getting to the QB and Saturday cannot be any different.
Run the ball with emphasis: While Willamette’s offense went under a major change the Bearcats defense is still featuring their 3-4 front that offers up a tough zone coverage defense. The Bearcats will bring pressure but they have no issues in only rushing 3 and dropping their athletic LB’s into coverage and make an offense earn everything they get. The ‘Cats must rush the ball with purpose and effectiveness in order to bring those LB’s closer into the box. If the ‘Cats can run the ball on Saturday, it will open up the other aspects of the ‘Cats offensive attack.
Linfield DBs and LBs doing their job: No need to put an “S” on the chest this weekend if you’re a Linfield Linebacker or Defensive Back. If the Bearcats make a play in the air, learn from it and move on to the next play. This group is going to get numerous chances to make plays and I want to see them continue to compete when the ball is in the air and be reliable tacklers. I believe the Linfield LBs and DBs have been building for a challenge like this and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond.
Special Teams Doing Work: The Wildcat special teams can have a major impact on the outcome of the game on Saturday. The coverage teams need to continue to attack and win the field position battle and the Field Goal unit needs to be ready to make plays when they’re called upon.
Limit errors and take care of the ball: We know the story by now; When Linfield gets out of their own way and limit mental errors and takes care of the ball, they’re a damn tough team to beat. However, if the ‘Cats are sloppy with the ball and extend/hinder drives with silly mistakes they allow their opponents prime opportunities to stay in the game. It’s going to be a fired up ‘Catdome and Linfield needs to be above the noise and emotion of it all. Be steady and focused on the task at hand.
‘Cats by 7. I've already established a number of times that I think Willamette has a good team in 2012. They’re capable and have the weapons to knock off the ‘Cats if things go their way. With that said, I feel this Linfield team is a special group. There are no weaknesses on this roster and I truly feel if Linfield is sharp and poised this is their game to win. I’d be surprised if this game is anything but a tightly contested battle but I like Linfield to come out on top.