Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPS game preview either tonight or tomorrow

Busiest week of the year for me...will try to pump out a game preview either tonight or tomorrow. I will not be at the game this weekend either (due to work). Check back in later. -11

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Colin Forman's Block Punt for TD lands him on's play of the week list.

Here is our nominations to's play of the week as the 'Cats Colin Forman broke open the game with a huge punt block for TD against Willamette in the 3rd quarter. The punt block scheme was executed perfectly as Brian Dundas and Franklin Lime opened the gap for Forman to slash in and layout for the flawless block.

Colin's block is a finalist for this week's group of nominations.

Here are other plays the 'Catdome has produced in 2012 that have also been play of the week finalists:

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, October 29, 2012

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield waterlogs Willamette in a 45-10 soaking at the ‘Catdome.

Linfield ate 'em up early and often
 (Photo courtesy from Linda MacClanathan)
Dang. When it rains it pours, and boy did the ‘Cats pour it on Willamette in a 35 point explosion of a 2nd half. With the game knotted up 10-10 at halftime, the ‘Cats came out and spanked Willamette in a 21-point barrage in the 3rd quarter that left Willamette gasping for air as the ‘Cats smothered any hopes for the upset away. The story headed into the game was the revamped Willamette offense that was leading Division III in passing (380.4 yards per game) and 2nd overall in total offense (544 yards per game) against a rising Linfield defense that had been on a roll headed into Saturday. It was a no contest as Linfield took apart a talented Willamette offense and embarrassed them to the tune of 108 yards of total offense, 12 net rushing yards, and only yielding 96 yards in the air. It was pure domination from the first snap of the game.  Linfield owned the line of scrimmage and battered Willamette QB Josh Dean while taking away his wide array of targets. I’ve seen a number of great Linfield defensive performances over the years, and Saturday’s is high up on the list considering all of the hype the Bearcat offense was getting in the prior weeks.

As dominate as the ‘Cats were defensively, the game was still even at half. The Bearcats defense did a commendable job in slowing down the Linfield rushing attack and subsequently limiting the effectiveness of the ‘Cats O in that first half. To top it off, Willamette set up their only scoring on the day on a blocked punt and forcing a fumble deep in Linfield territory. But whatever was ailing the ‘Cats in the 1st half was wiped away as offense made great use of prime field position and put up four 2nd half touchdowns.

The 5th Linfield touchdown of that half was the game-breaker, as Colin Forman, blocked a Bearcat punt and fell on the ball for a touchdown with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  That block for TD broke the game wide open at 24-10. After that, the Bearcats threw a pick to safety Kyle Wright and the very next play Mickey Inns (who was tremendous) threw a 38-yard bomb to Charlie Poppen to put the dagger in the Bearcat’s heart. It was a wild sequence that displayed how quickly Linfield’s been exploiting teams in the 3rd quarter as the ‘Cats have been outpacing opponents to the tune of 108 points to 7 points over the course of this season during the 3rd frame.

The win is Linfield’s 4th consecutive over Willamette and 11th victory over the Bearcats since 2000 (11-2 vs Willamette over that span).

It was a tremendous win for Linfield as the ‘Cats moved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in Northwest Conference play with two games remaining. At this point, all the ‘Cats have to do is win one of the remaining two to clinch a piece of the NWC and auto bid (have the head-to-head over Willamette and PLU) but who are we kidding? Linfield isn’t playing to share anything with anybody in the conference this season. This team is looking to go 9-0 and establish a case to be rewarded a number one seed in the NCAA playoffs. Over the past weeks, Linfield has held onto the number one strength of schedule in Division III football but the ‘Cats will probably move out of the top spot with UPS and Pacific bringing that number down. However, I think Linfield has laid out a case (up to this point) that they’ve played the toughest schedule in Division III and have done nothing but win and continue to improve as a team. The ‘Cats are the real deal.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:

Getting it done: I’m starting to run out of praise for this group but I’m continually impressed by how this Linfield team responds to the challenges that get thrown at them. Willamette is a good team. They had physical players, speed, tons of experience but Linfield forced them on bended knee by the time it was all said and done. It’s impressive and I’m not taking this team and their effort for granted. This is special and I’m going to savor it.

Defensive shutdown:  The ‘Cats took a team that came into the game putting up 42.3 points per game, 544 yards per game, 192 first downs (27 per), and a QB that puts up 367 yards passing per game, while completing 68.2% of his passes, and Linfield did them like that? Wow. Big shout-out to the defensive staff for putting together a GREAT game plan and to the players who made it happen on the field. Willamette ended the game with 5 first downs, 12 yards rushing, 96 yards passing (41.9% completion rate), and held the Bearcats to 4 of 19 on 3rd down.  That would make the saltiest say; "Man, that was some salty defense."

2nd half offense: After struggling along in the 1st half, the ‘Cats offense came alive after halftime.  I don’t know if Linfield even changed anything they were doing. The offense executed better and started to make plays. The Bearcats pass rush was voided out by the ‘Cats great pass blocking and gave plenty of time for the ‘Cats to attack that Bearcat zone. The offense looked so much better during that half of play.

Special Teams once again: Awesome once again. Yeah, Linfield gave up a block and missed a couple of field goals but the overwhelming positive impact this group had on the game was outstanding. Colin Forman put his stamp on the win with a huge kickoff return to swing the Linfield field position battle to start the 2nd half and then had the game breaking blocked punt for TD. Great effort. Also want to give a big hand to punter Josh Repp who had a masterful game punting the ball in terrible conditions. Also, another big hand to the coverage teams who continue to be a major force for this program.

The Pressure Game: 7 sacks? Damn. The Linfield front 7 brought the house and made Willamette’s Josh Dean look indecisive and unsure about himself with the overwhelming pressure the ‘Cats applied from snap one of the game. Willamette should have started to charge Linfield’s defense rent since the ‘Cats were essentially living in the Bearcat backfield. I loved the effort and execution from the ‘Cats defensive line and linebackers on Saturday.

Mickey Inns: The old saying about football is that quarterbacks get too much credit and too much blame for their team’s success or failings. That’s true, but I still feel compelled to point out that Mickey Inns played another tremendous game on Saturday. The guy was putting the ball on the money in some terrible conditions, showed tremendous pocket awareness, and put the ‘Cats offense in great position time-and-again with his checks at the line of scrimmage. To top it off, he’s tough as nails.

Making plays on the ball: After the PLU game, Coach Smith challenged both the Linfield defensive backs and receivers to start making more plays when the ball is in the air. His guys have responded as both the Linfield secondary and receivers where hyper-competitive for the football once it left the quarterback's hand. A lot of time it gets down to pure desire and the ‘Cats showed plenty of that on both sides of the ball.

Scout Team: I’m not around the team Monday – Friday so I don’t have the knowledge or my eyes on what goes on during practice but multiple players have talked to me and heap nothing but praise about the work the Linfield scout team has been putting in. As I former scout team member, I know how tough the role can feel at times but the impact you can have on Satuday’s cannot be measured. The performance on the field this season cannot happen without this unit of players getting it done during the week. Great work fellas and keep banging away.

Home Sweet ‘Catdome: The ‘Cats are currently riding a 22 game home winning streak as Linfield hasn’t lost a game at the ‘Catdome since 2008. Along with the home wins, Linfield also had put together 23 consecutive Northwest Conference victories and moved their regular season mark to 33-1 since the start of the 2009 season.

Charlie Poppen (#6) is sky-high after hauling in a 38 yard bomb.
 (Photo courtesy from Linda MacClanathan) 

The Bad:

Goal line sequence: Linfield’s first possession of the 2nd half saw the ‘Cats move the ball to the one yard line to set up a 1st and goal. Linfield immediately gets a false start to push it back 5 and then picks up a dead ball personal foul after 2nd down to push the ‘Cats back to a 3rd and Goal from the 17. With the game tied at 10-10, it was a brutal offensive sequence to start the half.

Rush Game: Linfield didn’t rush the ball as they had wanted to on Saturday. I have to tip my cap to Willamette’s rush defense as I think they did a nice job tackling at the point of attack for most of the game and consistently stayed in their gaps against the ‘Cats zone running attack. I’m sure the coaching staff and players will be taking a look to see where they can make the adjustments as this team moves forward.

The Ugly:

The Weather: It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest but it hasn’t been that soaking wet and windy on a game day at the ‘Catdome since the 2006 game vs Whitworth and that memory wasn’t a positive one.  Still ticked about that game.

Initially, I wanted to get on the students for not sticking with it and gutting it out in those conditions as the end zone bleachers were barren as the game progressed but it was miserable out there. So instead of riding the fair-weather students, I’ll take this space to salute those that took on the conditions head-on and had the ‘Cats back on Saturday. Our fans are incredibly smart about Linfield football and I'm picking up the vibe from our fans that they're sensing something is happening with this team.  They feel it too. Great work ‘Catdome and let’s keep it up!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Willamette Post Game Interviews

Wow. It was a soaker on Saturday and I'm not talking about the weather. The Linfield Wildcats broke open a 10-10 tie at half with Willamette and poured it on in an old school back alley whipping 45-10. We'll have more on the statement win by Linfield tomorrow. Above are the post-game interviews with Linebacker Tim Edmonds, Tight End Jacob Priester, and Defensive End Brynnan Hyland. Make sure you check out their thoughts on the game.

Below is our Play of the Week nomination as it was the game breaker as Linfield Safety Colin Forman blocked a punt from 26 yards out with 6:00 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and fell on the ball in the End Zone to push the 'Cats lead from 24-10.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Game Day at the 'Catdome!

It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It looks like a wet one today so be sure to bring your rain gear so you can be comfortable taking in the action. Don't let the weather keep you away from the game. Most of you are from the Pacific Northwest so this should be like a normal day. Kickoff is at 1:30 pm. 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, October 26, 2012

2012 NWC Pick 'Em: Week 9

'Catdome baby!
While I’m a little bummed that the end of the regular season is right around the corner, I couldn’t be happier about this pick ‘em season coming to a close. I’ve been on par with the Puget Sound defense this year in terms of effectiveness. I offer no excuses or funny antidotes to distract you from the fact that my picking skills have reeked something awful. In order to offer up a different perspective (because mine is useless) I’ve invited back everyone’s least favorite Whitworth fan, (509)Rat. Rat’s comments will follow up mine and I hope will have a little more creativity than my Whitworth offensive writing style of zone left, zone right, 3rd and long pass, punt. I am the Tullyball of the NWC pick ‘em board.

Northwest Conference

Pacific Lutheran (4-2) over Puget Sound (0-6) (at UPS):

Oh my. Puget Sound is giving up 56 points per football game this season and the Loggers are finishing their 2012 campaign against PLU, Linfield, and Willamette. Uh-oh. Arena football defenses think the Loggers give up a lot of points. If those three teams average 71 points in the upcoming 3 games that will push UPS defense to the 60 points allowed per game. Wow. So what do you have? The over or under? I say PLU is trying to continue to get noticed after their big win last weekend and goes crazy vs the Loggers. This is going to be bad for UPS.

(509)Rat Says: Well, this is gonna be a bloodbath. The question isn't "who's gonna win?", rather "how soon will the Lutes put in the backups?" I'm convinced Scotty doesn't have a soul, I expect a 70+ point outburst from PLU. Take the Over, everybody.

Pacific (2-4) over Lewis & Clark (4-3) (at L&C):

I was 100% all-in on taking Lewis & Clark this weekend. That is, until I saw this article in the Lewis & Clark student newspaper that states the Pioneers QB, Keith Welch, is doubtful for this weekend after sustaining a concussion against Linfield. That is a HUGE blow for L&C as Welch feasted on the Pacific defense the past two seasons. I still think this will be a competitive game but if Welch is a no-go then I’m giving the Boxers the nod.

(509)Rat Says: Tricky game. LC has taken a step back since the miracle that was 2011. Pacific seems to be getting better as they get older. LC's o-line is a revolving door and I expect Pacific to take advantage of that. Welch might be the best player on the field but he doesn't have enough help to get it done against Pacific. Boxers on the road.

West Region Game of the Week:

Chapman (4-2) over La Verne (3-3) (at Chapman):

Well, Chapman is enjoy some success in their first official season in the SCIAC and La Verne continues to show some improvement as a program. I don’t know much about either team and that’s probably a good thing. The Panthers look to be the better team and I’ll roll with them.

(509)Rat Says: The talk on the SCIAC board about Chapman winning against weak competition is true, but misleading. The Panthers are a victim of their schedule right now. I've seen both play and Chapman is better. Plain and simple. The Panther front 7 is more talented and consistent than the Leos and that will be the difference. Chapman will get their points (as everyone else has against La Verne and will do just enough defensively to win. La Verne doesn't have a strong enough passing attack to take advantage of the poor Panther secondary...

National Game of the Week:

#5 Wesley (6-1) over #16 Huntingdon (5-1) (at Huntingdon):

I’ve given up on doubting Wesley this season. I thought Menlo might have a shot at getting them this past weekend to only see the Wolverines race out to a 21-0 halftime lead. Wesley has some incredibly fast and talented players on both sides of the ball and I’ll take them to knock off the high flying Huntingdon.

(509)Rat Says: I don't care how inconsistent the southern independents have been this year, I'm going with Huntingdon to pull off the upset. Wesley has been known for their slow starts on the road this season and unfortunately for the Wolverines, Huntingdon has a very explosive offense. But unlike Willamette, they don't turn the ball over often. Huntingdon will try to run the ball, but if they are forced to go to the air they should remain efficient. 190 attempts this season...3 ints. They are also scoring over 90% of the time they get into the red zone. Wesley will be the best defense they see this year, but Huntingdon will put points on the board when given the opportunity. Wesley can't stick to the 4th quarter comeback script in this game. I have a feeling it comes back to bite them on Saturday.

#9 North Central (6-1) over #20 Illinois Wesleyan (6-1) (at North Central):

Illinois Wesleyan were choking dogs last weekend when they couldn’t take care of Wheaton and that gives me no reason to think they’ll be able to get it done against a strong North Central team.

(509)Rat Says: IWU proved they aren't ready for the CCIW spotlight. They've only played one team who is on the same level (and in my opinion better) than North Central. That team is Wheaton, and we all know what happened last week. Blowing a 4th quarter lead with a couple minutes left in the game, followed by a road game against a deserved top 10 team is a recipe for disaster. The IWU AD should really consider scheduling future late season games against UPS...Slumpbuster, WC11, slumpbuster. North Central wins comfortably at home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Game 7 preview: Linfield (6-0) vs Willamette (6-1)

This weekend is what college football is all about.
Here it is, the Northwest Conference game of the year (again). You have to love being part of a program where you get to witness big game after big game in just about every season. What an awesome program we get to be around. Once again, the Linfield Wildcats will be playing NWC foe Willamette in a huge football game that will have major implications on the remaining course of the 2012 season. With a win, Linfield would take a one game lead over PLU in the NWC title race with only two game remaining, and put the conference title and auto bid in a virtual headlock. If Willamette pulls out the victory, we have a three way tie on top of the standings. Assuming PLU, Linfield, and Willamette wins out, then you have to dive into the NWC football manual to see who would get the auto bid.  According to the handbook, Willamette would get the bid over PLU and Linfield (they have the head to head over Linfield and better overall record than PLU). That would leave Linfield into the at-large Pool C grouping, and that’s not a place ANY Northwest Conference team wants to be.

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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Linfield vs Willamette game preview...probably tomorrow

Sorry everyone but work (yes, I have real job) is SLAMMING right now and I didn't have a lunch to knock out the big preview.  I'll try to either post it late tonight or in the AM. 

Go 'Cats!

Monday, October 22, 2012

‘Cats Win! Linfield blasts Lewis & Clark back to May 21st, 1804 in a 63 - 0 victory

Linfield's Defense getting ready to feast.
That is what you would call “taking care of business”. A tremendous victory by YOUR Linfield Wildcats this past Saturday up on the Hill as the ‘Cats had their highest scoring output on the year, while locking up their first shutout of the season too. I felt this game was going to be a runaway, but it hinged on if Linfield came out early and put the pressure on L&C. The answer was pressure early and often as Linfield cut up the Pioneers on defense, offense, and special teams. The defense was efficient in holding L&C to seven three-and-out possessions. The continual short fields turned a bad situation worse for the Pioneers as Linfield converted time and again. That first half could have even been more lopsided if the ‘Cats didn’t squander two other opportunities by putting the ball on the turf.

What I like the most from Saturday was the attitude and focus of this team. The past two weeks they’ve taken two decent programs and made them look completely inept. Coming into these Linfield games, the combined record of Whitworth and L&C was 9-3. The ‘Cats made these teams look like a pairing with a 3-9 combined record instead. Linfield’s been that dominate over the past two weeks.

However, if Linfield is starting to feel fat and happy they need to put that to rest ASAP. Coming down the road this Saturday is the year’s biggest game of the season and possibly the biggest test in Willamette’s explosive offense. The Bearcats did lose this past weekend to a tough PLU squad, and in a strange way, that makes Saturday’s contest even more vital to the ‘Cats post-season aspirations. This Linfield team needs to keep working and striving every waking moment on improving and in preparation. The ‘Cats have proven once and again they’re one of the nation’s elite, and this Saturday is another opportunity to prove it all over again.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…and The Great:

The Great:

Taking a moment out and making a great memory: Wanted to share this little moment about what a standout impact a Wildcat made at halftime. L&Cs visitor's locker room sits in the back of their athletic complex. There’s a long walkway to a pair of doors where you enter a hallway and about 10 feet away from the doors are a flight of stairs that take you down to the stadium's lower parking lot.

The game moved to halftime and the teams were back in their locker rooms and I started to make my way in that direction. Getting near my destination I was about 10 feet behind a group of 4 adults and two small children (a young baby and a toddler). The adults in this group were about to make their way down the stairs when the toddler (a boy probably between 3 and 4 years old) froze on a dime and was staring into the ‘Cats locker room. His mom leaned over and he tells his mother there are football players in the hallway. His mom asks him if he wants to go see them.  You can tell he wanted to badly, but he was unsure about waltzing into a hallway with these giant men (when you’re that little everyone is big but football players look like giants.). I walked up to the family and asked if he wanted to meet a player and he shook his head “yes”. With that, I opened the door and the first player I saw is sophomore Tight End Wes Meng (#44). I tapped Wes on the shoulder pad and asked him if we would be willing to go outside and say hello to the little guy that wanted to meet a player. Without hesitation or further explanation, Wes turned on his heels and marched on outside.

It was so cool to see Wes lean over to get down on the little boy’s level and have a conversation with him. You should have seen this boy’s face light up as Wes asked him if he’s going to be a football player and share a few words with him. The short encounter concluded with Wes breaking off some of his halftime snack (a giant rice crispy treat) and sharing it with the future Wildcat. It may not seemed like such a big deal but I followed the family down the stairs and the little guy and his mom were sky high talking about their encounter with the football player. I was beyond proud of how Wes represented Linfield at that moment, as he gave a little one a great memory of what Linfield football is all about.

The Good:

Put the game away early/team focus: I wanted to see how this group would respond to the blow out win the week prior. Linfield knew they had a major advantage headed into this game so it was all about attitude. What I saw was a team looking for more as the ‘Cats came out and put a big exclamation point on the victory early. The ‘Cats exhibited sharp play from all three phases of the Wildcat attack as they raced out to a huge halftime advantage. No messing around by this group and I loved it.

Defensive front domination: The big key of the game defensively was the play of the Linfield defensive line and linebackers. They didn’t disappoint as they swarmed and bashed the Pio rushing attack utterly useless and harassed L&C quarterbacks for the entirety of the contest. The ‘Cats front six accumulated 7 total sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and forced a number of rushed throws. L&C could have put 7 offensive linemen out there and it wouldn’t have mattered.

Passing Attack was sharp: Mickey Inns and the ‘Cats receivers were once again sharp on the day. Inns made great decision and spread the ball around to 7 different receivers before retiring from the game at the end of the half. The ‘Cats receivers looked sharp in catching some passes in tight windows and did a great job in making plays on the football.

DB’s making plays: L&C can throw the ball around the yard and have been an efficient passing team coming into today’s game. However, the ‘Cats defensive backfield was fantastic for the 2nd week in a row. This group seems to continue to gain confidence and the timing couldn’t be better as their biggest challenge to date is this coming Saturday.

3rd and 4th down offense: Early in the season, the ‘Cats 3rd and 4th down offense was only converting in the mid-30% range and needed to improve. Linfield has turned that number around over the past two games in converting these downs at a sharp 54% (15 out of 28 tries). That improvement has been critical to the ‘Cats productivity in recent games.

Red Zone Sharpness: Linfield was successful in 7 of 8 red zone trips with that 7 coming in touchdown form. Besides the one fumble early in the game, Linfield was dominating in this section of the field.

Beyond the starting units making plays: A number of guys in this program had the opportunity to cash in extensive time on Saturday and the ‘Cats made the most of it. Coach Smith has talked in the past about the starting units being the “tip of the spear” but they wouldn’t have their success with the entirety of the roster working their brains out on a weekly basis. This program has so much depth right now and it’s great to see a large number of guys in the program not taking their chance to play for granted.

Special Teams….again: What can you say about this group? The coverage was once again tight and add a Kyle Wright 75-yard punt return for TD (ELECTRIC!) and this group continues to do what they do.

The Bad:

Ball Handling: The ‘Cats had 3 fumbles on the day. My first instinct is to lessen the blame on the punt fielding issues on the harsh rain, and I know the conditions made it more difficult, but we play ball in Oregon. It cannot be an excuse. Flat out, Linfield needs to take better care of the ball in those types of conditions.

Penalties: 12 yellow hankies on the day. We could get away with that on Saturday due to the nature of the game but if Linfield goes double digits in this category next Saturday it will narrow the ‘Cats margin of victory. Get sharper here boys.

The Ugly:

Not a thing: 63 points on the board for the ‘Cats while cashing in a shut out on the other side of the ball? Not a dang thing ugly about that. Keep it rolling ‘Cats!

Lewis and Clark Post Game Interviews and more

That was was a beating. We rounded up three 'Cats after Linfield's 63-0 blanking of Lewis & Clark on Saturday. You get to hear from Senior Linebacker Brian Dundas, Sophomore receiver Charlie Poppen, and Junior corner Brandon Funk on the 'Cats win and where they think this team has come as the season has progressed. Being 6-0 is huge and it sets the stage to the most critial Saturday of the year as a very strong Willamette team is coming to the 'Catdome. We'll talk more about that on Wednesday but today let's put a wrap on last Saturday. Later today, we'll have our game review and below is a bonus as KATU was on hand to witness the carnage.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Game Day! Linfield at L&C

It's game day 'Catdome. You can listen to the 'Cats radio broadcast here and watch the L&C stream here. If you're in the Portland Metro area then get yourself out to the game and back YOUR 'Cats! Kickoff is at 1 pm. 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, October 19, 2012

2012 NWC Pick 'Em: Week 8

LBC with a chance to have a big day on the Hill.

Not a terrible week 7 for old Wildcat 11 as I went 4 out of 5 last Saturday. UW-Platteville burnt me twice this season so they can go pound sand for all I care at this point. This year’s been so frustrating because I’ve been smoking hot with the NWC picks but brutal on the Regional and National Game picks.  This must what is feel like to be Whitworth's offense running at Linfield's Defense.

On the season, I’m 36 out of 47 games for a sad and pathetic 76.6%. Fellow NWC pick ‘em contestant and former Whitworth football player “(509) Rat” was tweeting me after the game last week that while he knows his team isn’t on the same level of Linfield, he still is feeling good about beating me in the pick ‘em contest for the second year in a row. I have to tip my cap to (509) and say he’s been the better picker and the only thing that dulls that sting is trying to figure out how to get all of the TD’s Linfield piled on Whitworth last Saturday into a manageable highlight clip.

WC11 note (8:26pm 10/19/2012):  I asked (509)Rat to add his notes on this week's picks and he obliged.  His comments are in red.

To the picks!

Northwest Conference Games:

#22 Willamette (6-0, 2-0) over Pacific Lutheran (3-2, 2-0) (at PLU): Hands down the game of the week on the west coast for Division 3. This game has giant implications for both Willamette and PLU in their chase for a piece of the NWC championship. If PLU loses that knocks them out of the NWC title picture and ends any hope of a post-season bid. If PLU wins, that means the ‘Lutes still have a shot at getting a piece of the NWC title if the Bearcats can knock off Linfield and create a 3-way tie on top of the conference. Win or lose and Willamette is still playing for a shot at the whole NWC title or a share of it. However, with a win this Saturday, the Bearcats put themselves in optimal position for either the auto-bid or an at-large bid.

For the game itself, the action on the NWC pick ‘em board is split about 50/50. While Willamette is highly regarded (rightfully so) people know that PLU is a dangerous team that took CLU and Linfield deep into their games before the outcome was decided. I didn’t spend too much time making the pick here as I think Willamette is going to wind up with the win. I wouldn’t be shocked if PLU pulled it out but I feel Willamette has more than enough talent to set up an epic showdown in McMinnville on the 27th.

(509)Rats says:  Willamette's D continues to improve and PLU can't keep up.  Track meet breaks out at a football game.

Whitworth (5-2) over Puget Sound (0-5): After getting embarrassed by Linfield the Whitworth Pirates need a confidence boost and the schedule makers have provided the Rats with a confidence clinic in UPS coming to town. I suspect Ronnie Thomas to run wild on the Loggers and for Whitworth to get back on the winning track.

(509)Rats says:  (He said that Whitworth wins...couldn't copy and paste what he actually said)

West Region Games of the Week:

#5 UW-Whitewater (5-1) over #10 UW-Oshkosh (6-0) (at UWW): Game of the week in Division III is out in Whitewater, Wisconsin as the defending national champions are squaring off vs up-and-coming Oshkosh. I’ve been terrible with my WIAC picks this season and I think whoever I pick winds up losing so I’d be worried if I was UWW right now. While some people are smelling blood in the water with regards to Whitewater, I still think they’re going to have a major say on the 2012 National Title race. I’ll take the Hawks pounding the rock.

(509)Rats says: Buffalo St. was a miracle but UWW showed vulnerability.  It's Oshkosh's year!  I don't believe any of that but I need it happen.

#25 Coe (6-0) over Simpson (5-1) (at Simpson): The IIAC has gone all season long without one of their teams breaking the top 25 but that ended last week as the Coe Kohawks broke through at number 25. This game is going to go a long way in deciding the IIAC and playoff berth out of that conference as I don’t think they’ll have a chance getting a Pool C bid. I wanted to take Simpson solely on the fact that Coe’s twitter feed has lifted our “Expect To Win” mantra but I’ll still take them win.

(509)Rats says:  Looked at a map, Indianola, IA looks worse than Mac.  I know, "no way" but it's ture.  Simpson can't be good.  Coe in a route.  

National games of the week:

#12 Illinois Wesleyan University (6-0) over Wheaton (4-2) (at Wheaton): IWU is a program on the rise in the well regarded CCIW while Wheaton has been a model of consistence in the modern D3 era. There are questions about IWU’s schedule to this point, as it’s been soft, and Wheaton has lost two VERY close games, but I’ve been so bad with these national game picks that I’m going to opposite of my instinct. I actually like Wheaton better but that probably means IWU will get the win. See what I did there.

(509)Rats says: Apparently Whitworth kids love Wheaton's masters in theology program.  And I hate those kids.  Conference torch is passed to IWU.

#17 Rowan (5-1) over Cortland State (5-1) (at Cortland): I’ll take Rowan in this battle of NJAC schools. I have to confess that the only reason I picked the Profs is so I could link up the highlights of the ‘Cats 52-0 National Semifinal BLASTING of Rowan from 2004. Damn, watching that never gets old.

(509)Rats says: Rowan is really good when they arn't playing west of NJ lol.  D wins championships and Profs have the edge there.  Rowan slays the Dragons.  <---see what I did there?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Game 6 Preview: Linfield (5-0) at Lewis & Clark (4-2)

Linfield at Lewis & Clark?  You Bet!
The ‘Cats are back on the road this weekend but I don’t really care. I’m thankful that Linfield’s season is no longer broken up with bye-weeks and the ‘Cats can now get back into the rhythm of playing every weekend. To top it off, this roadie is just a skosh up I-5 for Linfield’s shortest road trip of 2012. After coming off a tremendous 54-14 undressing of Whitworth last Saturday the ‘Cats are turning their attention to the team up on Palatine Hill. In 2011, the ‘Cats squared off vs. Lewis & Clark for the regular season finale and defacto NWC title game as a 7-1 Pioneer squad came into the ‘Catdome having their best season in decades. The ‘Cats quickly put L&C’s conference titles hopes away as Linfield raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead to salt away the program’s 3rd consecutive NWC title.

Coming into the 2012 Linfield/L&C showdown, the Pioneers are once again a winning team in building up a 4-2 record but have taken consecutive losses to PLU and Willamette. L&C showed fight in each of those games but eventually yielded to the deeper teams. Obviously, the Pios know they have a tall task in front of them in hosting Linfield. The ‘Cats are riding a 34 game win streak over L&C. The last time the Pios tasted victory over the ‘Cats the Miami Dolphins were winning Super Bowls and Grand Funk was topping the music charts. Yeah, it’s been awhile.

For the ‘Cats, this is another opportunity to take another step forward. A chance to come out and show that this team has grown from the one that was slow starting and show moments of sloppy play to one that is crisp and a force on the Division 3 landscape. The ‘Cats cannot take the approach of expecting L&C to fall on their backs when Linfield hits the field. That’s not going to happen. L&C has good schemes on both sides of the ball and a number of talented playmakers that will be looking at this game as a chance to get their team noticed on the national stage. Linfield has something L&C wants and it’s the ‘Cats duty to make sure they can’t have it.

Get To Know A Wildcat

#73 Jacob Hanke, Offensive Tackle, Soph.

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Wildwood Cafe is pretty good place

Favorite Movie: Italian Job

Favorite Music: I pretty much like anything

Favorite TV Show: Right now I'm really into the Walking Dead

Favorite Pro Football team: The Broncos!

Class I Most Look Forward to: Probably Yoga

Mac or PC: PC

Cpu Homepage: Google

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

Twitter or Facebook: I use both but more on Facebook

Car or Truck: I want a truck but i have a Nissan Altima right now

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Xbox 360

Favorite Coach Hire Saying: "I never get sick.” Or “You guys are the reason I’m balding and growing grey hairs."

If a Zombie breakout hit McMinnville, which 'Cat O-Lineman would you want by your side to help your survive it: Probably Steven Schultz, Tackles for life

Who is the best dressed Offensive lineman: Bobby Nix. He can pull off things that other people can't

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: I make a mean bowl of Mac n Cheese

Your Favorite Part about Playing at Linfield is: Being a part of the tradition and playing with all my buds.

Post Linfield aspirations: Get a good job right out of college and have a family

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

Keep building the momentum: Now is not the time to stay in neutral or take a step backwards as a team. Linfield needs to keep improving and growing. This Saturday is a prime opportunity to climb another rung in the ladder towards this group’s ultimate goal. The focus needs to be on doing the little things right, and if that’s accomplished, it will be big results on game day. CLOCK-IN

D-line has to be the strongest link: Play of the Wildcat defensive line is going to go a LONG way into determining the outcome. Offensively, Lewis & Clark is going to attack Linfield with an up-tempo style that will send multiple sets at the ‘Cats. L&C is trying to spread defenses sideline to sideline and look to get their QB and Tailback in one-on-one situations in space and I expect to see a lot of 4 and 5 receiver sets. The ‘Cats defense line has to be in attack mode from the opening kick.

O-Line domination: L&C does give up some points but they’re capable of making plays that allow the Pios turn away drives and pin teams deep. If the ‘Cats offensive line keeps people off of Inns and continue to open up lanes for our ‘Catbacks, I’m expecting a big offensive day for Linfield.

Don’t lose your man: Lewis & Clark has no issues in throwing the ball 30-40 times a game. While their passing attack is a lot of short dumps, their passing game becomes dangerous when Welch breaks contain and allows his receivers to shake free while he extends the play in the backfield. Linfield’s DBs have to keep working if Welch gets outside the pocket and not allow the big pickups.

Offense continues to attack, attack, attack: The Wildcat offense needs keep their performance from last week going and get after L&C early and often. This offense is at its best when multiple people are getting their hands on the ball through the air and on the ground. I want to see a balanced but frenzied offensive group on Saturday.

Big day for the Wildcat Linebackers: The ‘Cats have a great group of linebackers but they’re going to be tested on Saturday. L&C’s sideline-to-sideline spread attack is going to put a lot of weight on the Linfield linebackers and rovers to make good tackles in open space. The LBC should be licking their chops about the chances to make plays this weekend.

Put them away early and keep your foot down: L&C has a group that is capable of moving the ball quickly and turning away offenses. They are a team that Linfield needs to put down early and keep the pressure on throughout the game. If Linfield screws around and isn’t focused the Pios will be able to hang around and then you get into a situation where anything could happen late. Don’t let it get that far.


‘Cats by 21+. Lewis & Clark is greatly improved as a football program from just a few years ago. This was a program that almost called it quits after their abbreviated 2005 season. It looked bleak but they’ve increased their numbers, improved the quality of their coaching staff, and athletes. L&C should be applauded for what they've done over the past 3 seasons. With that said, Linfield is still light years better than the Pios. If this Wildcat team comes out focused and executes with authority, the ‘Cats should roll. However, it could be an interesting game if the 'Cats are not sharp. I’m betting this Linfield team is going to be locked in on the Hill on Saturday and force their will on the Pios.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Deidre Wiersma's slick TD after catch lands him a D3 play of the week finalist nod..

Here is our nominations to's play of the week as the 'Cats Deidre Wiersma turns an short catch for 6 has he sticks a move inside to only turn back to the sideline where Dre walks the tightrope for the slick TD.

Dre's catch is a finalist for this week's group of nominations.

Here are other plays the 'Catdome has produced in 2012 that have also been play of the week finalists:

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, October 15, 2012

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield exterminates Whitworth 54-14.

By the time it reached the 4th quarter it was all over.

Boom! Now that’s what I’m talking about ‘Catdome. We’ve been talking about it for weeks now but we have said that when this 2012 Linfield Wildcat football team limits their mistakes and play to their talent level, you better stand aside because a freight train is coming through. Unfortunately for Whitworth, they were standing on the tracks as Linfield put a certified swamping on the Rats. After the 3rd quarter Linfield had built a 54-0 lead and outgained the Rats in yardage by a 524 to 75 margin. I was expecting Linfield to be crisp on Saturday but I was little shocked in the manner the ‘Cats took a 5-1 team and made them look completely outgunned in all phases of the game. It was a fantastic effort by the ‘Cats and what made it more impressive is this roster continues to show its depth as new pieces are inserted into the lineup (due to injuries) and those ‘Cats are getting it done with their productivity. It’s not only a great sign for the remainder of 2012 but also for the future of this program. The NWC is improving as a conference and has made a big splash in 2012, but the ‘Cats sent a message out that if you’re planning on taking the NWC throne, you better bring it.

What I did hear from a few fans that I wanted to address was playing the score comparison game. Obviously the ‘Cats have to take care of Lewis and Clark this weekend. Once they do that, it’s going to set up a showdown on Oct 27th vs Willamette. A few Wildcat fans mentioned how the Whitworth/Willamette game was tight for most of the contest. I warned them to NOT read too much into that. Playing at Whitworth is tough. Just look at the Linfield game from last year where a 100% superior Linfield team was down at half and had to struggle to put Whitworth away. You have to get out of your mind what Linfield did to Whitworth on Saturday and how the Whitworth/Willamette game played out. I’ve had a chance to see Willamette a little and this is the best Willamette team since their 2008 season. They’re legit and are going to be a HUGE challenge to the ‘Cats in a few weeks down the road. Just wanted to get the whole “if we beat them by “X”, and they only beat them by “Y”, that means we should beat them by “Z”” out of the way because it never works like that.

On another note, I want to congratulate the 2012 team on extending the ‘Cats All-Level of College Football record for securing Linfield’s 57th consecutive winning season. Over the past 57 years Linfield has compiled a record of 427-99-10. That’s a 79.6% winning percentage over the span of 57 years. Remarkable. It’s hard to wrap your head around it but this program’s culture is so well grounded in their belief system.  Linfield not only produces great teams but men of character that are well prepared for life after Linfield. This 2012 Linfield team has done it the HARD way. They haven’t played a schedule full of gimmies but have played teams that have a combined record of 20-10 overall. Take out those 5 loses the ‘Cats have put on the opposition and that’s an overall mark of 20-5. It’s impressive and I do feel this team can still get better and continue to grow. It’s up to the players on just how far they want to go on this ride. My gut tells me this team has a chip on their shoulder and feels they have too much to prove to slow down now.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

Ready to play Linfield Football: After being away from the ‘Catdome for a month this team was ready to go in front of a packed and rocking ‘Catdome. Love the preparedness of this group before the game. Guys were not freaking out in the locker room but you could see player after player getting themselves locked in and ready.

Wildcat Defense: As a former Wildcat defender I tend to be a little biased to this side of the ball.  With that said, this group still deserves a huge chuck of credit for their performance on Saturday. The ‘Cats defense only gave up 29 net yards in the 1st half and 75 net yards after 3 quarters of play. Great pressure up front, making plays on the ball, and great tackling. Early in the season you could see the potential of this defensive group and they’re starting to reach it.

Balanced and attacking offensive attack: 230 yards rushing (5.8) a carry and 355 yards passing (11.5 per completion) for a total of 585 yards of offense and that’s with Linfield taking the foot off the gas in the 4th. The offensive played great on Saturday. The ‘Cats ran so many different playmakers at the Rats and they didn’t have nearly enough to contain it all.

Mickey Inns and the WR’s: Mickey Inns was fantastic on Saturday in going 23 for 32 for 261 efficient yards and tossing 5 TD’s. Mick made great decisions and was in total command of the Wildcat offense. To go along with that, really enjoyed watching the ‘Cats WR’s making plays. 13 different ‘Cats caught passes with 5 of them hauling in TDs. This group put their depth and talent on display on Saturday and will continue to be a big factor in 2012.

‘Cats Defensive Line: The ‘Cats defensive front took Whitworth’s lunch and ate in front of them. It was pure domination by the ‘Cats front and I’m continued to be impressed by our defensive end trio of Hyland, Poomaihealani, and MacClanathan. Special group of guys that continue to alter offenses. I also have to point out the tremendous job by defensive tackles, Marq Randall (led team in tackles), Jermey Girod, and Trey Farber who are showing considerable growth in the absence of All-American and offensive wrecker Tyler Steele.

Wildcat Rushing Attack: You’re down the best back in the NWC and West Region in Josh Hill. Your steady and speedy Senior, Stephen Nasca, is out of action this past Satruday.  So the ‘Cats insert freshman Johnathan Shaffer in the starting lineup and freshman Tavon Willis getting the 2nd reps. What do those two young pups do? Just put up 162 yards on only 22 carries (7.3 a pop). Shaffer, who’s playing with one hand casted, popped for 90 of his yards in the 1st quarter alone and showed off his great vision, pop, and toughness that he's displayed so far in 2012 and Willis showed a gear that I don’t know if anybody else in conference can match. Great work buy these two guys stepping up with a big spotlight on.

Offensive Line: Shaffer and Willis don’t get those yards without this group of guys paving the way. I write this after every game but here it is again: The ‘Cats offensive line played great on Saturday. It’s a young group of guys with 4 sophomores starting and they’ve only continued to get better. Tip of the hat big fellas, you deserve it.

DBs putting in work: Whitworth scorched the Wildcat secondary last season so I know this group was looking forward to some payback. This group has been put into the fire all season long in facing a big play passing offense after the next.  Our DB's keep competing and keep getting better. Love their fire and their talent. They’re going to continue to get tested over the next four weeks but I’d bet they wouldn’t want it any other way.

Special Teams coverage: Whitworth was one of the better return teams Linfield has faced this season and out of the 8 times Linfield kicked off the ‘Cats pinned them behind the 30 yard line 7 times and behind the 20 yard line 3 times. This is an overlooked facet of the game of football that Linfield continues to excel in.

The Bad:

Not converting that short 1st and Goal: I know I’m nitpicking but this is one of the only letdown moments of the game on Saturday. Linfield knows they should have converted that short 1st and goal but kudos to Whitworth of stiffening up.

The Ugly:

Not a thing. After pouring buckets all day on Friday the rain held off on Saturday. A big and rowdy crowd packed the ‘Catdome (hands down the best small college atmosphere on the West Coast), and the ‘Cats rolled. It was a great day in the valley.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Around The 'Catdome'Osphere

Bring a rain jacket tomorrow and let's get it fired up!
Sorry I missed you last week but old Wildcat11 was a busy guy and didn't have a chance to hook you up.  Lots of Willamette and Whitworth news as they played a big game last week.  The 'Cats are getting it done in the community which is nice and an article out of Corvallis about all of the great college football being played in the state of Oregon this year.  Happy clicking and I'll see ALL OF YOU at the 'Catdome tomorrow. 

News-Register: 'Cats break for recess at Grand Haven Elementary School.

News-Register: Linfield is done with the Bye's turn attention to Whitworth

News-Regsiter: Linfield to unveil victory bell.  Ring-a-ding-DONG!

Linfield Review (page 13 of pdf): Josh Kay is aiming high. WCS40's Whitworth game preview WCS40's NWC game picks.

D3football's Triple Take: Keith says Pacific/PLU could be close and Ryan Tipps says Linfield vs Whitworth will be close.

Whitworth Pirates YouTube Page: Tully gets in your personal space and talks Willamette/Linfield. (w/video): Rats looking forward to taking on the 'Cats (w/video): Bearcats knock Whitworth from the ranks of the unbeatens. (video): Story on Whitworth vs Willamette Willamette turns it on in 2nd half to down Whitworth. Rats can't finish as Willamette out guns Whitworth. Oregon and Oregon State are not the only college football teams in the state that are undefeated. Lots of pun material here.  Willamette's offense finds its wings.  Bearcats flying high.  Etc, Etc, Etc. Willamette cracks AFCA top 25 poll (#24).'s Around The West Region: Change does Willamette good.

willamettecollegian: Bearcats open NWC play with critical win over Rats Writer points to injured UPS offensive players as the Loggers give up 62 points in loss to Pacific. Former UPS QB is now coaching them up.  Sounds like he's unsure if he wants to be there. Boxers looking to make it two in a row against PLU this weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012 NWC Pick 'Em: Week 7

'Catdome Baby!!!!!!!!!!

Here we are in the middle of the season and it looks like Wildcat11 is playing out the string. I’m the equivalent of a one-legged duck at this point as I’m swimming around in a circle going nowhere fast.

Last week I went 4 for 6 but it might as well been 0 for 6 for my boner pick of the year in taking Puget Sound over Pacific. I must have been sniffing model airplane glue when I made that decision as I thought Pacific might be unfocused after handling the Loggers last season. What an idiot. As you know by now, Pacific hung the Loggers by their underwear from a flagpole in a 62-21 bloodletting.  Good lord that's terrible.

The other letdown of last week is that Concordia was *this close* to beating Bethel but their crazy finish (if you haven’t seen it, then you need to go check it out) snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory for me once again. I currently sit at 32 for 42 for an ugly 76.2% on the year. I might as well get an empty cardboard box and roll into the NWC pick ‘em page and start clearing out my desk for 2012. But momma Wildcat11 didn’t raise no quitter (unless you count the fact that I quit watching Leverage this season…that show has lost its mojo) so I’m going to fight the good fight.


Northwest Conference Games:

Pacific Lutheran (2-2) over Pacific (2-3) (at Pacific): I truly believe that PLU is a top 25 quality team this year and is still in the NWC title hunt. I like their receivers and quarterback chemistry as they seem like a team that can hit the homerun at any moment. Pacific has to be feeling GREAT after last week’s pasting and should be fired up to host PLU. I think this will be competitive early but eventually the ‘Lutes are going to have too many weapons for the Boxers to contend with.

Willamette (5-0) over Lewis and Clark (4-1) (at Willamette): At this point I think it safe to say that Willamette is 100% legit this season. They’re major players in the NWC title race and have made a big splash with their revamped offense. To me, this is Willamette’s best shot to make noise before they have to build it back up again.  They’re starting and playing the most seniors in the conference by far (starting 15 seniors) while most of the conference is relatively young (even Linfield to some extent). Willamette’s a talented team that is going to eat up Lewis & Clark like a ham sandwich. This game isn’t going to be close.

West Region Games of the week:

#13 UW-Platteville (4-1) over #19 UW-Oshkosh (5-0) (at UWO): Man, I cannot remember the last time there has been a game this huge in the WIAC that didn’t involve Whitewater. I’ve been jocking Platteville all season long so why stop now? It’s simple, if Platteville loses they can kiss any post-season hopes goodbye but if Oshkosh drops the game on Saturday then they still have a shot in getting a piece of the WIAC title with Whitewater on the horizon. I’d love to watch this game as I think it’s going to be a down to the final moments type of contest.

National Game of the Week:

#4 St. Thomas (5-0) over #9 Bethel (5-0) (at UST): Oh this should be a fun one. Bethel has spent the past two weeks pulling rabbits out of their hat in two last moments wins. I think Bethel is overrated at #9. In fact, I think UST is way too high at #4 but that’s another discussion for another day. To me, Bethel’s luck runs out this weekend as I like UST to put Bethel on the skids. IMO, I think a one win team out of the WIAC or NWC will be a stronger Pool C representative than Bethel would be but there’s a lot of football to be played before we start having those conversations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Game 5 Preview: Linfield Wildcats (4-0) vs Whitworth Pirates (5-1)

'Cats vs Rats...Let's get it on.
42-28. That’s the combined first half scores from the 2010 and 2011 Linfield vs Whitworth games, with Whitworth pinning up those 42 points. Thankfully, there are two halves to a football game and the ‘Cats have been able to overcome those first half deficits to take both contests but those performances tell you something. Whitworth is more than capable of competing with and out gunning the ‘Cats if Linfield isn’t on their game. This upcoming edition of Linfield vs Whitworth falls in this same category as the Rats are team with dangerous playmakers on offense and a defense that has a knack of making big plays that can turn the tide of a contest.

The Rats enter Saturday’s game with a 5-1 record after dropping a close 38-24 loss against a now undefeated Willamette squad. While this is a big game for both teams it’s do-or-die for Whitworth as a loss against Linfield will most likely knock them out of NWC title contention and any hopes of post-season play. I’m expecting a fired up and motivated Rat team that is building off the knowledge that they’ve been close to Linfield the past two seasons and probably feeling if they perform well enough, they could very well snap Linfield’s 21-game NWC winning streak.

The ‘Cats are entering the game with only playing one football game over the past three weeks. There’s two ways to look at this: 1) It’s been great for Linfield to have the two bye weeks this close together for the ‘Cats to heal up some injuries and get some extra time to work on fundamentals and scheme or 2) The ‘Cats have had the extra time but is it possible this team could be out of rhythm when they take the field this weekend? I don’t know what the right answer is but we’re soon going to find out.

The ‘Cat has had a killer front-loaded schedule and that’s reflected with Linfield holding the 3rd highest strength of schedule rating in Division 3 through week 4. There’s been one stiff competitor after the next that Linfield has taken down but it hasn’t been easy. In the long run, I truly believe those experiences are going to serve this team better than it would have if the ‘Cats have played a slate of laydowns. There are still aspects of this Linfield team that need improvement and growth but there are no weaknesses on this team or roster. Even with the injuries this lineup has endured, all the pieces are there for Linfield to do something great this season. The next rung in that ladder to climb is Saturday.

Get To Know A Wildcat
#2 Colin Forman, Safety, Junior

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Tequila Grill

Favorite Movie: Remember the Titans

Favorite Music: Country

Favorite TV Show: Duck Dynasty

Favorite Pro Football team: no pro team, just the ducks

Class I Most Look Forward to: financial management

Mac or PC: PC

Cpu Homepage: Google

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

Twitter or Facebook: Facebook

Car or Truck: Truck, built Ford tough

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Xbox

Favorite Coach Haze Saying: "Just a skosh"

DB with the biggest football glove collection: Logan Krellwitz

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: Frog Whisper

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: The tradition and the group of guys I get to play with.

Post Linfield aspirations: Law School

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

4 QUARTERS of Linfield Football: As stated at the beginning of the game review, Linfield has been out performed in the 1st half of the last two seasons vs Whitworth and Linfield cannot afford to come out of the gates sluggish and sloppy. At the same time, Linfield cannot feel content in coming out of the gates on fire and feel fat and happy about that either. No, what I hope to see from Linfield on Saturday is four complete quarters of Linfield football. I’m talking about this team brining their best effort for all four quarters and not leaving any doubts about if they could have played better.

Limit mistakes and take care of the football: We’ve talked about it over and over again but Linfield has been their own worst enemy at times with ill-timed penalties and getting too loose with the football. Ball security will be paramount this weekend as it could be a wet one at the ‘Catdome and Whitworth’s defense is traditionally a team that is constantly working for strips and looking for the turnovers. If the ‘Cats can limit penalties and take care of the football then the ‘Cats chances to walk away with a solid victory increase dramatically.

Have to Control the Whitworth Run Game: Where the Rats have hurt Linfield’s defense over the past two seasons is in the passing game, but the key in slowing down Whitworth, over the course of a game, has been and will always be slowing down their run game. All you’re going to see is zone left, zone right, and counters. The Rats are led by hard charging senior running back Ronnie Thomas. Thomas is entering the game averaging 126 yards a game and 8 TD runs. He’s a hard charger that has enough speed to hit the home run. Linfield’s defense not only needs to be in good position but the ‘Cats have to be tackling at a high level.

Make plays on the football: While it’s key to contain the rushing attack the Rats are a very capable passing team. Whitworth is led by Sophomore QB Bryan Peterson who is passing for 190 yards a game and has tossed 10 TDs. Peterson’s key target is sure handed Jake DeGooyer who can get the tough yards but Austin Ehlo is the Rats deep ball guy. I expect Whitworth to take some shots deep at Linfield’s secondary where Peterson will get the ball up in the air and let Ehlo try to make plays on the ball. Linfield’s secondary must get after it when that ball is in the air.

Balanced Linfield offense: Whitworth is a defense that is a bend but don’t break group that tries to keep everything in front of them. Linfield’s offense cannot have a slow start and need to attack from the opening kickoff. I’m looking for the 'Cats to keep working that running game but be very aggressive throwing the football as Linfield should be able to throw weapon after weapon at the Whitworth secondary.

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure: The turning point of the PLU game in my opinion is when the ‘Cats started to get constant pressure on PLU’s quarterback. That has to happen again on Saturday. Peterson is a strong armed QB that can make all of the throws needed but Linfield can make his job tough if he knows that he’s going to get hit hard and often. This is a big pressure game of the ‘Cats defensive front.

3rd down offense/defense: This will be a huge down on Saturday. Whitworth is converting 3rd downs at a 41% clip on offense and giving up 3rd down conversions at a 37% rate. The ‘Cats on the other hand have to improve on 3rd down offense. Linfield is at a 35% conversion rate on offense while the ‘Cats defense has been giving up 3rd down conversions 35% of the time. If Linfield’s offense can get that conversion number in the mid 40’s and the defense can push their number in the mid 20’s, Linfield is going to have a great chance to win.


‘Cats by 10. Whitworth is a very good football team but I just feel Linfield is flat better. Like the PLU game, if the ‘Cats are sloppy and don’t execute then the ‘Cats are going to get bit on the backside and could easily drop Saturday’s game. On the flipside, Linfield can control this contest and forced their will on Whitworth if the ‘Cats are crisp and execute. I’m betting that Linfield is going to take a big step forward on their quest to another NWC title and show why this team is one of the highest regarded in Division III.