Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Video: 2012 Linfield vs Whitworth

Your video of the week is up and this was a fun one to put together as Linfield just double barreled blasted Whitworth for the 'Cats 2012 Homecoming game. Whitworth came into the contest with a 4-1 record and had confidence after playing Linfield tough the previous two seasons. For me, that was part of the reason Linfield's 54-14 win ('Cats held a 54-0 lead going into the 4th) was so satisfying. In both the 2010 and 2011 Whitworth games, the Rats held slight leads at the half before Linfield was able to assert themselves. In 2010, Linfield turned it on to mop up Whitworth 42-17 after being down 17-14 at the half. Then in 2011, Linfield faced an even bigger deficit in being down 25-14 at half before being able to pull off a 4-point win. After that close win, there were some Rats questioning if Linfield was really a top ten D3 team.

In my eyes there was no doubt that Linfield was the superior team in every aspect but for whatever reason the 'Cats struggled for stretches of the game with Whitworth. However, that wasn't the case last season. Linfield wasted no time in letting those Rat doubters know that Linfield is one of the best programs in the country in scoring 8 TD's in their first 12 possessions. It wasn't even close as the 'Cats defense took everything away from Whitworth and limited the Rats to just a measly 75 total offensive yards after 3 completed quarters while Wildcat offense did what they wanted.

So we'll see what the 2013 rematch has in store. The Pine Bowl is a tough place to play. It's a long bus ride out the Spokane and one of the few places in the Northwest that still plays their games on grass. Whitworth had a solid 7-3 season last year but still finished 4th in the NWC behind Willamette, PLU, and Linfield. The Rats will point to the large amount of injuries as part of their issues last season and should be improved on defense. If the 'Cats sleep on the Rats they could be in another fight like 2010 & 2011 but if they bring their top game up to Spokane it could be another keelhauling for Whitworth.

Friday, April 26, 2013

1st wave of recruits is in the books

Love this time of the year. Spring ball is winding down ('Cats just wrapped up their last practice this morning) and the commitments are pouring in up and down the West Coast. Linfield just announced the 1st wave of 2013 recruits and it's a fantastic group of 24 student-athletes. The first group of recruits all come from Oregon, Washington, and California.  My first impressions is they offer up a great combination of size, speed, and proven play making. I'm not going to get into a huge breakdown yet. I'll wait for the 2nd and final press release before we go into my thoughts on the final product and get feedback from the staff. Along with that we'll be posting up another huge highlight video of all incoming players.
I'm expecting the 2nd release to push the total number of 'Cats well in to the 40's and have all four of Linfield's primary recruiting areas (Or, Wash, Cali, Hawaii) well represented. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job in identifying high level talent that fits well with the Linfield culture. Now it's just a matter of finalizing the remaining members of this tremendous group of future Wildcats.

Sidenote: I'm sorry for not getting you more spring football updates. My real job has been nuts and I've been working like crazy on the Spring Football Highlight Video (doing something different) and the All-Recruit video (that's a monster). I'll try to get some info on the spring football season posted soon enough.

Linfield Sports press release on 1st group of 2013 recruits: http://www.linfield.edu/sports/release.php?id=4967

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

So close...

A group of 'Cats have been working on this project for the past 6 weeks and I can't wait to roll this out. Hands down one of the coolest projects I've been a part of since I picked up some editing software back in 2006. Can't wait.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Video: 2012 Linfield at PLU game highlights

Our Video of the week is up and it's the 'Cats Northwest Conference opener of the 2012 season as Linfield traveled to Spakrs Stadium to square off against longtime foe Pacific Lutheran. It was an interesting game as Linfield was coming off a hard fought non-conference win against CLU and lost All-American Tackle Tyler Steele and Running Back Josh Hill who was primed for an All-American caliber senior season in 2012.

These were two big losses and I wasn't sure how the 'Cats would respond. What happened was Senior Stephen Nasca and Freshman John Shaffer would step up huge on the offensive side of the ball, while the 'Cats defensive line piled up 7 big sacks to help slow down the Lutes after a hot start to turn the tide of the game.

PLU had a heck of a season and was a top 15 team in Division III in 2012. They're going to be that good, if not better, this upcoming season. Linfield has rattled off 14 consecutive wins against PLU dating back to the 2000 season and if the 'Cats are looking to make that number 15, Linfield is going to have to play another top flight game. I think PLU will be a major threat in the conference race and a contender in the West Region but Linfield isn't going to be too shabby either. 2013's match-up has all the makings of another Linfield vs PLU epic.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Video: 2012 Linfield at Cal Lutheran Highlights

Our Video of the week is up and it's the 'Cats 1st road game of the 2012 season when Linfield traveled down to Thousand Oaks to face the CLU Kingsmen. Linfield and Cal Lutheran are more than familiar with each other as the programs have squared off six times over the past four seasons. Linfield has accumulated a 5-1 record over that time but it hasn't been easy, far from it.

CLU is a talented and tough program that has won the SCIAC title over the past four seasons and I don't see them slowing down in ruling the SoCal conference. The 2012 win was the first loss CLU suffered in their new stadium (still don't know what's with that light poll in the middle of the press box area?) and the degree of difficulty in capturing that win was high. Linfield battled and kept believing in their training and each other, and when it mattered the most, the 'Cats made the plays they had to against a most worthy adversary.

The upcoming 2013 contest at the 'Catdome will be another barn burner. CLU is returning a number of their playmakers, depth, and I'm expecting to see new faces on CLU sideline that should help their cause once again. This is the end of another two-year agreement between the two schools. I haven't spoke with the staff if either program is wanting to continue the regular season series but I do know both teams are not afraid of the competition so it wouldn't shock me if both Linfield and CLU didn't hesitate to sing up for more. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The passing of a giant of a man. Frosty Westering (1927 - 2013)

 As we unfortunately all know by now, the great Frosty Westering passed away at the age of 85 years old this past Friday.  The long-time former Pacific Lutheran University head coach guided the Lutes for 32 seasons (1972-2003) where Frosty and his Lutes accumulated a remarkable 261-70-5 record, captured four National Titles (3 – NAIA, 1 – NCAA), made four other title game appearances (1983, ’85, ’91, & ’94),  and never suffered a losing season under his guidance.   In 2005, Frosty was inducted into the College Hall of Fame for his remarkable accomplishments as a coach.  However, Frosty’s impact went beyond just the marks in the win column.  Frosty was a great man who impacted thousands of young peoples' lives in helping provide his players the tools to build a winning foundation for the rest of their days.

Linfield and PLU have locked up for epic football contests over the decades but the golden era of this long standing rivalry was in the 1980’s.  Linfield’s revered head coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Ad Rutschman and the Westering led Lutes combined for 5 consecutive NAIA Division II National Titles from 1982-1985 (82-Linfield, 83-PLU, 84-Linfield, 85-PLU, 86-Linfield).  What a wild time to be a small college football fan in the Pacific Northwest as two incredible leaders of men headed these two small college football powers as the ‘Cats and ‘Lutes ruled the NAIA.

Linfield and PLU are rivals on the field and you bet that each game Linfield and PLU do all they can to come out on top.  However, the respect that the Linfield football community has for Frosty Westering and his family is immeasurable.  Linfield head coach Joseph Smith, who competed against Frosty as a player and coach, passed along these thoughts about the passing of a giant of a man:

"Frosty is, in my opinion, part of America's greatest generation of coaches.  He was a rare true master coach and his knowledge of the game could fill volumes of books.  However, it is the legacy of the young men he influenced that is his greatest and most lasting influence.

The world is a better place because of Frosty.  He championed the phrase servant warrior.  Possessing a warrior spirit and rising to the occasion, but yet at the same time being a servant and giving of yourself to others.

The Linfield vs PLU games pitting Frosty vs Rutschman were truly legendary.  As iron sharpens iron, Frosty's teams made ours better, just as Linfield sharpened PLU.

We who knew him, even we who played against him, recognized his amazing character and the power of his personality and convictions.  To say he was a rare man, is an understatement.    I consider myself extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with a man such as Frosty Westering.

While we grieve with the Westering family and Pacific Lutheran, I know Frosty's impact will continue to shape the young men of our society for years to come."

-Linfield Head Coach Joseph Smith

Friday, April 12, 2013

The 'Cats reach the halfway mark of Spring Football

It was a picture perfect morning in the 'Catdome as Linfield wrapped up their 2nd week of their Spring Football season. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of the "grind" setting in for the players between classes, school work, training, practice, and meetings. At this point, you have to dig a little deeper to make sure you're not forming bad habits by skipping on some of the details of your assignments or technique. Just because these are non-padded practices doesn't mean they're not hard. Due to rules, intentional contact between players is non-existant during practice and that means a ton of individual work and that translates into moving all the time.

Our Head Coach, Joesph Smith, talked to me for about 10 minutes on the phone the other day in the audio interview below. We talked to Coach about a number of topics including another challenging start to the 2013 season, I asked him about future facility upgrades, we talked about what's the biggest area of improvement for the program right now, a dash of uniform talk, and I asked Coach Smith how he's changed as a coach since 1st taking over the program in 2006. It's a must listen for any 'Cat fan.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Linfield vs Hardin-Simmons Highlights

Our Video of the week is up and it's the 'Cats 2012 hard fought victory over the Cowboys of Hardin-Simmons. The 'Cats will be headed back to Abilene, Tx. to open the 2013 season vs HSU on Sept. 14th. This will wrap up another two-year series with HSU and I'm not sure if Linfield and the Cowboys will extend beyond 2013.

This won't be the 'Cats first rodeo in Texas as the 2013 contest will be the 6th meeting (2006-09, 2012-13) between the two schools with Linfield holding the slight 3-2 edge. Each team has held down the home field as Linfield dropped a 21-6 loss in 2006, and a last minute 29-22 defeat in 2008 in Abilene. The 2013 rematch is going to be a big challenge but I can't wait to see if the 'Cats can break through down in Texas this season.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Week 1 of Spring Ball is in the books!

It was a great morning in the valley!
Rolled out of the rack at 4:45 this morning to head over the 'Catdome to catch the 'Cats as they wrapped up the 1st week of their 2013 Spring Football seasons.  Besides a little breeze and light rain that only showed up for a minute it was a nice morning for the 'Cats to continue their non-padded spring football season.

First thing that jumps off the page to me is experience all over the field.  In year's past we may have had multiple groups that was lacking extensive game experience but this is as seasoned of a Linfield roster that I can remember in a long time.  The 'Cats have a huge Senior class that has almost seen it all and a good group of up and coming players to add to the depth of this team. 

Again, Linfield should be plenty fast come this fall with speed on both sides of the ball.  It's tough to gauge physicality in spring football at the Division 3 level because of regulations and these practices are non-contact.  The Coaches spend a large amount of their time teaching the game and working on details in scheme and technique.  The staff pretty much hits the field coaching and didn't stop the entire time I was there.

One thing that I wanted to do this spring was grab various coaches on staff and do some audio interviews but the staff utilizes every second so well I didn't have a chance to grab one of them.  So WC11 had to improvise so I tracked down defensive back coach and recruiting coordinator Brandon Hazenberg on the phone to talk about various aspects of the program.  Please excuse my lack of interviewing skills but Coach Haze provided some great thoughts on the current team, the 'Cats recruiting, and the mindset headed into this season.  I'll grab others coaches as we move along so keep checking back.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Take a walk around the 'Catdome

I'd like to shake the hand of the driver of this Google Street Car

Props to mcnarnia on Twitter on this find.  This is freaking FANTASTIC.  Chances are you've probably seen a Google Street Car driving around at one point.  It's a car that has a gang of cameras mounted on the roof.  They drive around cities and towns taking countless photos that will be uploaded onto Google's Street View feature of their Maps platform.  For the longest time you could only see part of Linfield's campus via street view but not anymore.

It looks like this past summer a Google Street Car driver drove through Linfield and decided to take a cruise around the 'Catdome where they drove around and on the Maxwell Field turf.  This is all kinds of awesomeness as you can take a virtual walk around the 'Catdome anytime you want in stunning resolution. This just made my week.

View Larger Map

Google Maps Street View of the 'Catdome link

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Football is here!

The 'Cats opened up their 2012 Spring Football Season this morning at 5:30 at the 'Catdome.  Linfield football will be rolling along 3 days a week for all of April as the 'Cats get an early glimpse of the 2013 team.  Myself, I'll be trying to get out to the 'Catdome at least once a week to shoot video, interview coaches/players, and snap photos.  I'll do my best to get you up to speed on how the team is shaping up this spring and bring you the latest news on the 'Catdome.

In the meantime, above is our 2012 Spring Football highlight to get you through to our 1st spring update.  Go 'Cats!

Monday, April 1, 2013

2012 Linfield vs Menlo

Here is your Catdomealumni.com video of the week as the 'Cats opened up their 2012 season in a 30-9 victory over Menlo.  With the win, Linfield and Menlo ended their series as both programs will go their own ways moving forward.  Menlo played the 'Cats tough at times over the years but in the end the 'Cats owned the series with a 14-0 record.  2012 was no different as Menlo was talented but the 'Cats were just too much for the Oaks to be a serious threat.