Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 Fall Camp Interview: Eric Pitassi (offensive guard)

Look for Eric Pitassi (#62) to make a big impact in the 'Cats offensive interior this fall.

Linfield is almost two full weeks into fall camp and right around the corner is that 1st day off. Yes, that wonderful 1st day off after almost 2 straight weeks of meetings, workouts, practice, meetings, workouts, practice, etc. You probably don't feel too bad for the players because they having the opportunity to play college football at one of the best football programs in the country but I have to keep it real. At this point in camp, that day off is the carrot at the end of the stick. I'll be trying to get out to one the 'Cats two practices tomorrow to get some more sound and video from camp. It looks like this weekend is going to be a beautiful one in the valley.

After the 'Cats wrapped up their nightly meetings I had great conversation with Linfield Offensive Guard, Eric Pitassi. Eric is in his 2nd year in the program after transferring from the University of Montana and made an immediate impact in starting 4 games last season and logging heavy minutes at the guard rotation. Look for the Sophomore (eligibility) to be a key member of the 'Cats offensive interior this season as Linfield's offensive line returns a large bulk of returning starters, youth, and a great group of newcomers.

Eric and I talked about his feelings on where the 'Cats offense is headed, where his focus on improvement was this offseason, working daily with Offensive Line Coach Doug Hire, his overview of the 'Cats offensive line, and what he would tell a recruit about why Linfield is a perfect choice for those looking to receive a great education and play football at a high level.

I have to say that I've enjoyed these interviews greatly. The players are constantly confirming my feelings about this program and why we love the 'Catdome so much. These players are challenged but treated fairly and honestly by a GREAT coaching staff, they care about the well-being of their fellow teammates, and live the Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class pillars of this program.  I can't say enough about how Linfield football does it right.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Fall Camp Interview: Wes Meng (Tight End)

#44 Wes Meng is a player to watch this season for the 'Cats.

We're nearing the end of another well of camp as classes have started at Linfield and the 'Cats are in the middle of fall camp. That game with Hardin-Simmons is going to be here before you know and that is going to be a huge challenge for this program. HSU is a program with a large bulk of talent back on their roster and they have something to prove to not only the ASC but on the Division III national stage.

It's going to be a barn burner and I'm thankful the 'Cats have players like Wes Meng on the roster.  Wes is in his 2nd year on the roster after transferring from Oregon State.   Wes is a dynamic player, that along with Jacob Priester, will lead a deep and talented Tight End group for the 'Cats.  Mr. Meng and I had a great conversation today where we talk about fall camp, his evaluation of the tight end position, how he came to Linfield, the type of people that make up the Wildcat coaching staff, and much more.  This is another great listen as the players on this roster keep delivering one great interview after the next.

Kids Day at the 'Catdome

It was Kids Day at the 'Catdome this past Sunday and as usual it was a blast for both the little ones and for the players as well.  After the 'Cats concluded their sunday full padded practice the kids gathered up in the locker room and ran through a player formed tunnel to the midfield.  I was having a hard time filming as the looks on the kids' faces were priceless as they were slapping five with these giants. 

After the a "team" break the kids gathered on the sideline where Coach Smith talked to the kids about his players and what positions they played.  Coach would have various players stand in front of the group and have the kids guess their weight.  I did feel bad when Charlie Poppen was in front and I heard a little boy yell out "110 pounds".  Ouch. 

The players put on an offense vs defense demonstration for the kids and it was pure comedy.  The guys did a great job in putting on a show for the kids as bodies were flying around the turf like the WWE invaded Linfield.  After the demo, the kids ran a wide range of drills, then went to dinner with the players, and finished off their day with some passing games back at the 'Catdome.  A great job by the program in making some great memories for these children in the community.
catdomealumni's 2013 Linfield Football album on Photobucket

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good Morning 'Catdome

The 'Cats were up early this morning the 'Catdome was something to see. Thanks to 'Cats WR, Conner Varnell for use of the pic.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Fall Camp Intervierw, Senior Defensive End Kel Poomaihealani

Kel Poomaihealani (#49) is going to be a wrecking ball for the 'Cats defense in 2013.

It was a tremendous weekend in the 'Catdome for old WC11 as I was able to take in my first live extended time with this 2013 Linfield squad.  My first impression was the Seniors are doing a first rate job in leading this team with bringing energy, teaching up the young 'Cats, and proving it with their talent on the field.  The other main item that jumped up was the talent on the roster.  Established players, up and comers, and new players in the program.  This Linfield roster is stacked with players on both sides of the ball and it's evident if you watch them for any length of time.  That doesn't mean anything is promised to this Linfield team as they're going to have to prove it against one of the toughest early season schedules in the country and a constantly improving Northwest Conference.

One of the key members of the 2013 senior class and of this Wildcat defense is Defensive End Kel Poomaihealani.  This will be his 3rd season as a starter in the 'Cats 4-2-5 defense and each year Kel has stepped his game up to another level.  Last season saw Poomaihealani 2nd in the team in QB sacks (9) and tackles for loss (13.5).  Kel is a fierce competitor on the field and has established himself as one of the toughest players on this Wildcat roster. 

Kel and I had a great conversation this weekend at practice where we touched on his toughts on the team's progress up to this point, his development as a player, thoughts on his defensive coordinator Coach Jackson Vaughan, and what's down the road for the 'Cats as they open up the 2013 season.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

'Catdome under the lights.

Made it out to my first full practice tonight and I was fired up by the tempo, speed, and talent in the 'Catdome. Yeah, there are a lot of rough spots this early in camp but this team is promising. I'll have more tomorrow but I'm going to hit the rack. Catdome all day...and night.

Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 Fall Camp Interview, Junior WR Charlie Poppen

Charlie Poppen (#6) looks to rise above the competition this fall.

Into the weekend we go as the 'Cats are now putting on full pads and getting after it in preparation for the 2013 season.  I'll be headed out this weekend to a few practices to get some pictures, sound, and video of this 2013 Linfield squad in action.  Be sure to keep up with on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Also, if you're so inclined join the posting board community.  The fans on are some of the most passionate and educated fans of Division III football in the country.  Of course, there is some smack talking but it's all in good fun.

Last night after the 'Cats wrapped up their final activity of the day I reached out the Linfield receiver  Charlie Poppen.  "Pop" was a 1st-team All-NWC receiver last season as a Sophomore.  Charlie pulled own 57 receptions for 909 yards (15.9 yard per catch), 9 TD receptions, and 75.8 yard per game.  In my opinion, I feel that Charlie is one of the premiere receivers in the Western Region and should be a key offensive component for Linfield this season.

Charlie and I had a great conversation about building chemistry with the quarterbacks on the roster, having the program's head coach also be your position coach, he thoughts on the Linfield receiver corp this season, bucking some hay this summer, and who he thinks is the best golfer on the team (Pop is an avid golfer). 

Dom Forrest goes under for the win

Camp life can be hard but but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun. The 'Cats annual "dance-off" went down yesteday and Senior Linebacker Dom Forrest danced his way out of his underpants for the walk-off win. (Thank you to Riley Heath for the instagram vid)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A new voice for ADvantage Catdome

Our new contributor will shine a new light on the 'Catdome this fall.
About a month ago I put out a message that I wanted to incorporate a new voice here on ADvantage Catdome.  Folks that have been reading the blog for a few years know the formula by now with regards to our weekly build-up during game week.  For years, Tuesdays have always bugged me for my inability to provide the 'Catdome faithful with anything of substance beside a silly little Google Map of the location of that week's game and where I suggest you get coffee in Mac (that would be Cornerstone).  

Cory Edmonds answered the call.  If the name looks familiar to you that's because Cory is the older brother of Linfield Senior Linebacker Tim Edmonds.  In trading emails with Cory I knew right away that he was going to be a great fix.  He loves football, loves Linfield, is well written (not like I've set the bar very high here), and is going to provide a fresh voice for the 2013 season.  

I wanted to let you all get to know Cory better as well as his perspective on the 'Cats chances to reach the Stagg Bowl this season. Below is Cory's 1st submission to ADvantage 'Catdome.  I think you'll be more than pleased.  -11

My path to catdome fandom is fairly simple. It all starts with a love of football that was fostered by orchestrated happenstance. My father is from Beloit, Wisconsin and, thus, I was born a fan of the green and gold. By the time I was old enough to really have an interest in football, the Packers were rolling behind the gusto of Brett Favre and the undeniable dominance of Reggie White. The Packers back-to-back Superbowl runs ignited a passion for football in me that has yet to diminish. I enjoyed playing football throughout middle school and high school but my talents certainly did not meet the lofty heights of my ambition. Consequently, my playing career came to a predictable end.

Fortunately, my younger brother’s skill far surpassed any display I had ever showcased on the field. He ended up at Linfield in 2010 and will be a senior this year as he continues to represent the linebacking corps. Oddly enough, back in 2007 I considered attending Linfield, but ultimately decided to enroll at Whitworth. Yet, I never found myself a fan of Sully ball; In fact, in four years at Whitworth, I only attended two unbearable games (one of which was a beating at the hands of Linfield). All in all, my fanatic love of the cats originates from a love of football and a family connection. I have attended every home game and every away game, except those in California, since 2010. Through post-game day celebrations at my brother’s house, which he shares with fellow Linfield footballers, I have come to connect with players on this team such as Dom Forrest, Tyler Robitaille, Westly Meng, and Kyle Wright.

Linfield has even affected my professional and personal life. I teach at McLoughlin Middle School in Vancouver, Washington and was provided the opportunity to coach football. My fellow coach, Tyler Stanley, was a Linfield Alumnus, and actually a freshman member of the 2004 national championship team. As coaches, we extol many of the Linfield values and always stress team, attitude, excellence, and class. Lastly, my wife is nursing student at Linfield’s Portland campus and will be graduating this winter. Altogether, even as a graduate of Whitworth (and Pacific for my masters degree), Linfield feels like my school, and the Wildcats are my team. ADvantage Catdome!

Road to the Stagg Bowl:

After three years of reaching the cusp of their title potential, the Linfield Wildcats are ready for another journey down the well defined but demanding path towards Salem, Virginia. Although the Division III landscape is abounding with talented squads, such as fellow powerhouses Mount Union, St. Thomas, and Mary Hardin-Baylor, Linfield is in position to reach its ultimate goal. An early schedule brimming with capable opponents (Hardin-Simmons, California Lutheran, and Case Western) and the increasing rigor of Northwest Conference play will certainly make reaching that goal a challenge, but armed with program tradition, veteran players everywhere on the field, and an amplified sense of urgency these cats are prepared to meet that challenge head on and steam roll it. In the 2013 season Linfield will need to focus on three major pillars of football success: run the ball, stop the run, and create turnovers while minimizing their own.

Although Linfield has boasted an exemplary passing game over the past half-decade this team will need to anchor itself to the run to ease the transition to a new quarterback and to control the clock. Last year, Mickey Inns averaged 274 yards passing per game; but he was a second year starter with proven talent and a mastery of the Linfield playbook. This year the Wildcats will start either senior Josh Yoder, junior Matt Yarbrough, or sophomore Tom Knecht at quarterback, and although each player is an intriguing talent, the strength of this offense rests with the playmaker the quarterback will be handing the ball to: senior running back, Josh Hill. Unfortunately, Josh missed most of last year due to injury, but before he was sidelined he was producing 133.6 yards per game on the ground (176. 3 all-purpose YPG) against quality opponents; in fact, in those three games Hill averaged more rushing yards than all but two NWC defenses allowed on average in rushing yards per game throughout the season. Last year sophomore John Schaffer (63.4 all-purpose YPG, 7 TDs) filled in capably in Josh’s absence, and sophomore Tavon Willis (31.9 all-purpose YPG) provided a dynamic change of pace. However, towards the end of the season the running game lacked the ability to close out games by chewing up the game clock and picking up first downs. With Josh Hill’s return and four returning starters on a young but formidable offensive line, Linfield should avoid the late game issues that occasionally hurt them last year. All in all, if the cats are intent on forging a path to the Stagg Bowl it will start with their willingness to lean on the running game and the play action pass opportunities a strong running game creates; ultimately, these actions should put less pressure on whoever ends up starting at the quarterback position and allow the Linfield offense to control the clock.

On the flip side, Linfield will need to stop opponents from running the ball and force them into passing situations- where Linfield has thrived over the past three years. Although the cats were second in NWC rushing defense last year, only allowing an outstanding 87.7 yards per game and 2.3 yards per carry, there is reason to believe they can improve on that number. First, senior defensive tackle Tyler Steele, a 2011 third team All-American, returns from a season ending injury to anchor the middle of a relentless defensive line. Steele’s commanding presence should allow Linfield’s swift, sturdy linebacking corps to throttle running backs and limit big gains. Senior Dom Forrest, the 2012 West Region Defensive Player of the Year, will continue to eat up runners like he did last year (79 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss), and fellow senior linebackers Tim Edmonds and Tyler Robitaille should contain runners from reaching the edge with their impressive speed. Stopping the run is especially important for the cats as it forces offenses to play into Linfield’s greatest defensive strength: getting to the quarterback. Over the past three years, Linfield has sacked the opposing quarterback an impressive 159 times, which leads the NCAA at all levels. The Wildcats will especially look for production from senior defensive end Brynnan Highland who last year seized the quarterback 19 times, earning himself first team All-America honors. This year a suffocating rush defense on early downs will provide the Linfield front four, affectionately known as the Shark Tank, to feast in bloody waters and rack up sacks. The increased pressure on opposing quarterbacks should also lead to the final key to Linfield’s 2013 season success: creating turnovers.

It’s an old adage but as with most old adages it rings of truth: whoever wins the turnover battle, usually wins the game. Last year Linfield generated 30 turnovers (17 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries) and posted a satisfactory plus-six in turnover margin. However, the teams turnover margin could be vastly improved as the cats put the ball on the turf a shocking 26 times; fortunately, opponents only recovered slightly over fifty percent of those fumbles. In fact, last season ended on a turnover for Linfield; thus, making it clear how pivotal turnovers will be for the cats this year. To promote turnover opportunities the cats will need to exploit the intense pressure placed on opposing quarterbacks by Linfield’s front four and allow a savvy secondary to capitalize on ill-conceived throws. Additionally, Linfield will need to adhere to the principal of team tackling which enables other players to rip at the ball and try to jar it loose. More important than seizing the ball from the opponent is the necessity of holding onto the ball while on the offense. To succeed this year the cats will need place a premium on securing the ball and making smart, accurate throws from the quarterback position. If the Wildcats commit themselves to generating turnovers while also protecting the ball, then it will result in a high turnover margin and will help pave the path to an immensely successful season.

The 2013 season is poised to be one many Linfield fans will remember. A veteran laden team with playoff experience and significant ambition is set to delight the Wildcat faithful on Saturdays in the fall. As long as the team can stay healthy, it’s not hard to imagine these Wildcats playing for a national championship come December.

-Cory Edmonds

Fall Camp Interview: Linebacker Coach, Phil Rombach

Coach Rombach enters his 7th year leading the Linfield LB's
Fall camp is moving fast as the 'Cats move into their 4th full day.  I'm sure at this point everything hurts for the players and coaches are feeling the strain as well. The 'Cats are still rocking 1/2 pads but soon enough will be putting on the full gear as September 14th gets closer and closer.

I was fortunate enough to track down Linfield Linebacker Coach Phil Rombach yesterday between meetings and talk to Coach about not only his Linebackers but about the program's overall strength and conditioning.  Coach Rombach is in his 7th year with the 'Cats after finishing his playing career in the 'Catdome and this is his 2nd year directing the program's strength and condition program.  Coach Rombach is a great fit for the S&C program and has done such a great job he was recognized as the 2012 Division III Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly.

I did catch Coach on short notice and my phone was in a bad spot so the reception isn't ideal but Coach provided a number of great nuggets about this 2013 program, what it takes to make it as a freshman LB, and the overall outlook for the Linebacking corp in 2013.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fall Camp Interview: Senior Corner, Brandon Funk

Senior Corner Brandon Fun (#31) is ready for his senior campaign.
Fall camp is in full swing as the 'Cats are in day 3 of camp as Linfield starts building to challenge a tremendous 2013 schedule.  It's no secret that the 'Cats return a large amount of experience and talent into the 2013 and one of those pieces is Senior corner Brandon Funk.  The Spokane native has been a gem for the 'Cats defense and will be looking to have a big 2013 as he'll be squared off against some of the top receivers in the country.

I grabbed Brandon between practices yesterday and spent over 7 minutes talking to him about topics including the defensive experience, who he thinks is his toughest cover in the NWC, what he views as the defensive backs biggest asset, areas of improvement, and his summer back in Spokane training with old high school teammates that are members of the Whitworth squad. 

I realize I'm not the smoothest on the mic with these interviews but I promise I'll do my best to keep trying to polish up my act so you don't have to listen to me stammer, talk too much, talk too fast, and say "ummm" 100 times.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Break to Break, Family To Finish

There is only one kind of ring this program chases and it isn't a conference title ring.

Kids Day this Sunday at the 'Catdome!

Kids will be running the 'Catdome this Sunday
For over the past 10 years the 'Cats have been hosting their fall camp "Kid's Day" at the 'Catdome. This is a great experience for not only the little ones but also for the players and coaches as well. Kids entering the 1st through 8th grade are welcome to the 'Catdome to spend Sunday afternoon running various football drills and activities, having dinner with the team, and finishing off with some passing games. If you have a young one(s) and are in the area then you need to bring them on out for a great afternoon with the 'Cats!


SUNDAY, AUGUST 25th, 2013

Who: For Kids entering 1st through 8th Grade (come in athletic attire and tennis shoes)

When: 4:30pm registration- Sunday, August 25th 5:00pm – 7:45 pm- Kids Day Activity

Where: Maxwell Stadium (Linfield’s Football Field)

Cost: $10


4:30- registration- Maxwell Stadium

5:00- on field with Team

5:10- Offensive Individual Position work

5:40- Defensive Individual Position work Run by College Coaching Staff and Current Seniors. Participants will be divided by appropriate age grouping.

6:10- Dinner with a Linfield Football Player at Linfield’s Dining service

7:00- Passing Games at Maxwell Stadium

7:45- Parent Pick up.

Linfield Athletics: Kids Day coming Aug. 25

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 fall camp is up and running!!!!!

The 2013 fall camp is up and running as the team gathered for the 1st time yesterday for check in, equipment check out, and all of the various administrative tasks that come with the start of the football season. The evening ended with the annual family BBQ as players and parents enjoyed some BBQ pork with fixings to start the season off right. The 'Cats kicked off their 1st practice this morning as it will be football, football, and more football until classes start.

The official hashtag for the program is #Catdome. For those that use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine using the Catdome hashtag is the way to express you passion for all things Linfield Football. Below is a Twitter widget that keeps a running tab on #Catdome. I'll being doing my best to effort up some interviews, reports, and video over the upcoming weeks of fall camp. Go 'Cats! -11

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Camp Starts on Sunday! Until then we've have your back!

The 'Cats open up camp this Sunday to start a HUGE 2013 season.  We're going to get this blog fired back up and we'll start you off with a Linfield Football video feeding frenzy.  Dim the lights, grab the popcorn, and watch the 'Cats feast.

2013 Spring Football's "The Difference"

2011 Linfield Hype Video "Send 'Em Up"

2012 Highlight Video Introduction

Welcome to the Shark Tank

2012 Linfield Hype Video "Fear None"

Linfield Football's "A Cut Above"

2013 Linfield Football Recruiting Class

2012 Linfield Scoreboard Team Intro Video

2011 Linfield Scoreboard Team Intro Video 


2012 Linfield Football Recruiting Class