Friday, December 14, 2007
Like the previous two years March will be the kickoff of our Video season. Along with the 2007 season highlights we’ll have Linfield Legends month (already selected), Big Hit III, 1984 playoff highlights, a revision of the 2005 Linfield vs Whitewater tilt, and much more.
I’d also like to bring back the Red and Purple Interview but found that it was just too much to handle during football season. Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of following the program. I’ll be tracking down some subjects during the New Year and see if we can bring some hard hitting journalism to the Catdomeosphere.
I’m also excited to roll out a sister site to Catdomealumni.com. I’m not going to say what it is right now but I’ve been working with another Linfield program in building them a fan site. We should have some fun video content for this new site and I should have that rolled out in early January.
If anybody has any suggestions or ideas to improve Catdomealumni.com please feel free to post them up.
On The Eve of the Stagg Bowl.
It’s the eve of the 2007 Stagg Bowl and we have for the 3rd time in a row have a match up of the Death Star of Division 3 football the Mount Union Purple Raiders as they again lock up with the Warhawks of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I really hesitate to throw out the “Buffalo Bills” or “Rowan” tag out there if Whitewater doesn’t get it done this time but seriously how many times do you get handled in the Stagg Bowl by Mount Union before you just throw up the white flag?
I’m not going to spend much time breaking down this game because the bible of D3 has all hit every angle this past week. Bottom line is the Warhawks have the players to get it done but I honestly think by the end of it the game it's going to be all Purple Raiders due to their run defense and a more balanced offense. Phone it in: Mount by 17.
Monday, December 3, 2007
There are four sections to the highlight film this season and they include the main highlight film, the senior tribute, the blooper reel, and the extra footage is of the 2007 scoreboard opening clip. Grand total there is about 60 minutes of original Linfield football action for the players, coaches, families, and soon enough our catdomealumni.com viewers to enjoy.
One of the year’s the biggest changes was to the music. For years Linfield has been using a steady diet of AC/DC and other hard rock classics with a dash of more current tracks. I love this type of music but I really think the players have a different taste and desire to have tracks that speak more towards their generation so I scrapped everything we’ve used before and went with groups like Rise Against, Drowning Pool, Clutch, TI, The Classic Crime, etc. The biggest test to me if this music really worked is if it still sounds right 5-8 years from now.
As for Catdomealumni.com I made the decision to post up all 9 games this upcoming video season. I know 3 of those games were loses but I think it’s good to share the great efforts even in the defeat so when April rolls around we’ll lay out 10 total tracks from the 2007 highlight reel (opening + 9 season games)
I don’t think I can explain how much time and effort it takes to put one of these projects together when you are just volunteering your time and I do need to give big thanks to a core group of people for helping me out in a giant way this season. First and foremost, props need to go to Mrs. 11. She was my Jerry Bruckheimer and test viewing group with just about every clip. She was incredibly patient and supportive with all the hours it takes to pull clips and editing the whole enchilada. The next big thanks go to Jerry Hanley. Jerry is the uncle of Senior Drew Ragan and a professional videographer. Jerry provided beautiful shots and footage during the HSU, UPS, Whitworth, and L&C game. This is my second year working with Jerry and it was a great experience. Third is David Cunningham w/ his student aides and SID Kelly Bird. David runs the video board during the games and his student aides work the two cams that provide the live action for the Catdome video board. They provided great shots at each of our home contests this season and Kelly Bird was huge in getting me set up with passes and various feedback that was very helpful. Also, thanks to the great Mike Rhodes for his footage at the L&C game. His shot of Lance Nelson's TD catch vs L&C was jaw dropping.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Now I do have a beef with this team/overall process. The NWC team has always leaned towards having excess in terms of the number of players on the 1st team than rather making the team more exclusive. For example this years 1st team has 18 offensive players listed and 19 players made the 1st team defense. I just don’t get how you can have 2 place kickers on your 1st team offense. Both Willamette’s Matt Bicocca and Linfield’s Scott Birkhofer are excellent kickers but are you telling me that they couldn’t say one was better than the other? (BTW…I don’t know how anyone is on the same category as Birkhofer, the kid should be an All-American this year.)
I understand the coaches wanting to make sure those talented and deserving players are recognized for their performance but it just makes the team loss some credibility when it’s so overloaded with numbers.
In terms of the 2007 team there are only a few spots that I have issue with. The first item I was surprised with is that Linfield punter Stan Fisher was only an Honorable Mention member. Stan was nails all year long and performed at a high level but when you look at the stats he did sit 3rd in the NWC in terms of avg. per kick at 38.7 behind 2nd teammer Doug Rickabaugh (PLU) 39.3 avg and 1st teammer Clint Moran (Willamette) 39.8 avg. Stan also punted about 20 less than the players above him. That is a tough deal but after digging into the stats the punters above Stan did have great numbers. I think it’s clear that the NWC had great kicking talent throughout the whole conference. Stan had a 1st team performance this season but Moran and Rickabaugh are deserving.
The second issue was the co-defensive players of the year honor. This isn’t a dig at Andrew Eisentrout (DE, PLU) or Tully’s kid but personally I thought the best defensive player in the NWC this season was Linfield’s Brian Mehl (Saftey).
I really believe part of the reason why Mehl gets overlooked is that Brian is about the least flashy player you would see in terms of his on-field demeanor. He just gets the job done and from game one through game nine he was the best player on the best defense in the NWC. Mehl had an incredible stat line this season. He was number 2 in the NWC in total tackles (74), and had 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 Ints, and 2 pass break ups in nine games this season. If the NWC just went with Tully’s kid I could live with it but since they went with Co-POY’s I really have a beef with Mehl not being the second half of that honor.
I think the rest of the list is fine but I did notice a few things. Chris Ahsing is really a 1st team NWC running back? I guess the NWC is long removed from the days of Russell, Binger, Haberberger, and Reed. I would have been just fine if we would have stopped after Adam Anderson.
Also, Travis Masters was a 1st team as a slot which is wild considering he only played one conference game as a slot. Without a doubt Masters and Whitworth’s Anderson were the best two offensive players in the NWC this season and will be next year but that shows you how much respect Travis carried this year when the coaches basically said “We know you were moved to RB mid-season but you’re so good that you would have been our 1st team player at the slot if you played there the whole season.” Our little number 5 is going to be lights out next year.
Congratulations to our ‘Cats for being on the NWC team!
1st team offense:
QB- Trevor Scharer
WR- Josh Vierra
WR- Tyler Kaluza
Slot- Travis Masters
OL- Jared Hinkle
PK- Scott Birkhofer
1st team defense:
DL- Taylor Summers
DB- Keone Tawata
DB- Brian Mehl
DB- Andrew Woods
KR- Travis Masters
2nd team defense:
DL- Nate Arnold
DB- Andrew Bean
LB- Jaymin Jackson
DB- Bubba Lemon
Honorable Mention Offense:
RB- Pete Cruickshank
WR- Tyson Banker
OL- John Kemper
OL- Danny Kleiber
P- Stan Fisher
Honorable Mention Defense:
DL- Jeff Denney
LB- Drew Ragan
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Let's face facts: Thanksgiving day can be a rough time with family getting together and the mix of beer, food and football can lead to conflicts with family members. So my boy, Bas Rutten is nice enough to offer up some tips in how to get that Turkey drumstick away from Uncle Tony. Never underestimate the kick to the balls.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
I feel for the Pios in their early stages of trying to rebuild their program. The NWC needs L&C to get back to respectability and they have a long way to get there. Linfield tried their best to take the foot off the gas because the ‘Cats could have easily hung triple digits on L&C.
This is a scary time for the Pios. The NWC wasn’t easy on our Portland neighbors this season and I’m sure some in the L&C community are shaking their heads saying “Why are we even bothering?” These people need to keep in mind that it will not be easy to get their program back to a competitive level. The NWC is a tough road to hoe…just ask Puget Sound and Menlo. My wish is that the administration at L&C continues to support the program and see to it that other departments in the L&C community promote a positive relationship with the program (i.e. admissions).
For the ‘Cat there was some real mixed emotions for me during the game. We were “this close” to being 8-1 and headed to post-season play but fell short with the Willamette debacle and not being able to covert all those chances vs Whitworth. That part of the year was just downright painful. On the flipside I’m so proud of the way the team and seniors responded after Willamette. There were two ways the players could have gone. They could have either said “forget it” and just mailed in the rest of the year or they could have step up the level of play and move on. To rebound and play with a great amount of effort and pride does speak volumes about the character of this group.
I’m not ready yet to start talking 2008 because I’d still like to reflect on the season and talk about some of the great performances of 2007. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll name “Catdomealumni.com’s players of the year” along with some other talk about the 2007 ‘Cats and NWC, the conference’s playoff snub, and some other items about 2007.
* A “monkey stomp” is a term coined by the Liberty League post pattern community members of the D3football.com posting board. A “monkey stomp” is a victory of 21-points or more, and the higher the victory total the different degrees of a “stomp”. I would think a 66-point win would equate an “atomic monkey stomp”
Monday, November 5, 2007
It would be very easy to sit here start coming up with a laundry list of excuses for why we lost. I could point to not having our best offensive threat in RB Travis Masters, or a few terrible calls in the running into the kicker/roughing call, or the fumble recovery that was overturned by the back judge. However when you are a great program you have to be able to put that aside and find a way to overcome the injuries, bad calls, and bad hops to come out with a win. For the second straight year we didn’t and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
To credit Whitworth they stuck to a very good game plan in being conservative on offense, not making any crippling mistakes with turnovers, and the Rats defensive backfield was able to make the plays during the game to bring home the victory.
So let’s get into our weekly wrap of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Once again the defense was fantastic. Whitworth was going to try to bully Linfield up front but Linfield didn't budge much in holding the Rats running attack to half their average (127 total rushing yards), denied Whitworth any points when they started a drive on the Linfield 10, and held the Rats to 5 consecutive 3 and outs at the end of the game.
We threw the ball 49 times and Whitworth brought pressure during the entire contest. There was only a couple of times that Whitworth was able to get at Trevor but as a whole the O-Line did a fine job in providing plenty of time to get rid of the ball.
Punter Stan Fisher and Scott Birkhofer
Stan punted 6 six times for a 38.7 avg and Scott booted a 47 and 37 yard field goal on the day. Both have been huge weapons throughout the entire 2007 campaign.
A 4th and inches, a blocked field goal, and the 4th quarter we had 5 drives that started around mid-field or in Rat territory to get it done. Convert any of these and that game may have had a different outcome.
Linfield 5 turnovers, Whitworth 0. Everybody knew coming into the game that turnovers would play a huge key and they did. The game’s lone touchdown was on an early interception return by Whitworth and it proved to be the deciding factor. You have to give Whitworth’s DBs a lion’s share of the credit. They made some great breaks and made the plays in the end that brought home another NWC title to Spokane.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Some might say that Linfield fans say that anytime we lose but that’s not always true. As sad as it was to see the great 2005 squad drop that heartbreaker to Whitewater it sat well with me that it was two great teams giving everything they had. The Warhawks survived and everyone knew they witnessed a game for the ages. But this example is about as far away from the 2006 Whitworth game as possible.
So here we are one year later and the ‘Cats are heading into another game against the Rats that not only has NWC title ramifications but essentially is a play-in game for a post-season birth. This is why kids come to Linfield….to play in big games.
We’re going to skip this week’s know your foe due to time constraints so let’s drop right into Wildcat’s 11 keys to victory.
Limit the Whitworth Run Game
The Rats are a zone running team and they have done it very well this year in leading the NWC in rushing yards at 246 yard per game. The Rats are lead by sophomore transfer (Idaho) running back Adam Anderson at 103 yards a contest. The Rats don’t have very many rushing plays they just run them out of multiple formations and I’m sure we’ll see QB Kory Kemp running the zone keeper out of the empty set. Linfield has to control this aspect of Whitworth’s game and I believe we match up well here with our front seven.
Linfield passing game has to make plays
Linfield has been focused on being a more balanced offense and has done a very nice job of that over the past few weeks but Linfield is going to make their hey with the passing game this weekend. The Rats rushing defense is stout so I don’t expect Linfield to run wild in the Pine Bowl so Trevor Scharer and company needs to bring their “A” game this Saturday.
Cash in on Scoring Opportunities
This was a big key in last year’s lost. Linfield blew multiple scoring chances last year with either drops in the end zone or just awful turnovers. Linfield HAS to make good when they sniff the end zone. Scoring could be at a premium so the ‘Cats have to convert when the opportunity presents itself.
Continued Solid Special Teams Play
Linfield has been great in coverage this year and our kicking team of Stan Fisher and Scott Birkhofer has been stellar all year long. The ‘Cats special teamers need to have their eyes wide open because the Rats are not afraid to run fakes and other hi-jinks. We could put ourselves in a good spot if we’re able to snuff out a potential fake special teams play.
Securing the Ball
Not much to say here besides we all know Whitworth loves striping the ball. Let’s be the team that forces turnovers and not the other way around.
Let’s make Whitworth beat us on Kory Kemp’s arm and not his legs. If the ‘Cats can limit their rushing attack and force Whitworth into a passing mode then Linfield will be in great shape. Both teams will be up and excited for the contest but I have a strong belief that this Linfield team has been hitting its stride and is ready to breakthrough in a game like this. I’m calling it right now that Linfield will win by 10. Go ‘Cats!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
The Victory sets up a major showdown/NWC game of the year as our ‘Cats will head up to Spokane and the Pine Bowl to lock up with the Whitworth Rats. I’m already in knots about this game because I’m stuck out of state with work and will not be able to attend. I curse the fiscal end-of-year gods for having 2007 fall on this weekend.
We’ll talk later about the Rats and all the thoughts racing around my mind. First let’s touch on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this past weekends beat down.
Another Defensive Gem
How this defense has grown over the course of the year. Defensive coordinator Jackson Vaughan and his staff deserve kudos for taking a group that had a rough start and then shaped them to into a force. The defense is just a physical group of kids that love to crack heads. They should have had their 3rd shutout in 4 games but a turnover set up the Oaks at the 1-yard line to allow Menlo to save a little face. Their growth has been key in Linfield ripping off 4 straight.
A season high 228 yards rushing with three backs getting 15, 14, and 13 touches a piece. Menlo was dropping 8 and daring the ‘Cats to run the ball all day long. Linfield was more than happy to take the Oaks up on the dare and pound away. The better we rush the better this team will be.
I’m going to touch on this in a second but playing at Menlo would be very tough to get up for. There isn’t much if any excitement in playing at Atherton. Linfield knew what they had to do on Saturday and never gave Menlo a chance to hang around. That speaks to the maturity of these players.
I’m reaching a little because there isn’t much you can find wrong in a 31-point win so I’m going to knit pick a little. Linfield could have added to the point total but had a few missed chances in really digging Menlo’s grave deeper. A few times the execution could have been a little sharper when the ‘Cats were within striking distance.
Paying $5 for parking
I understand that space at Menlo is very limited but that is the first time I’ve ever paid for parking at small college game. Hell, I don’t even remember having to pay for parking at the freaking Stagg Bowl. I’m rather tight with a buck so that had me all sideways as I pulled up on campus.
This was my first trip down to Menlo and it may have been my last. What a dog of a facility. I thought that UPS was a morgue but that takes the cake. Seriously it was hard to even get excited to film this game. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a player going into that environment.
Now I realize that Menlo has a few disadvantages going against them. They have to share their field with a middle and high school so the turf was down right brutal. And it’s not like Menlo can go and purchase land in the area to build a new facility. Menlo is located right off the main drag in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area and land is the rarest of resources in that part of the country. It would cost more than an arm and a leg to expand that campus in terms of owning land, let alone start laying brick and mortar. However, that is no excuse with what Menlo is currently working with.
No locker rooms anywhere near the field, a scissor lift acting as the coaching box, an ankle busting turf, speakers that looks like they came from the Theta Chi basement acting as their PA system, just a lack luster football field. I don’t blame the Menlo coaching staff because this is a reflection of the administrative support of athletics and they should be embarrassed.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
On paper this looks like a game Linfield should take with authority but we have seen in the past that Menlo has caused the ‘Cats major problems in previous contests. This group of ‘Cats has to remember the lessons they learned with the Willamette debacle in that they need to bring the “A” game every week. Now is not the time to regress as a group.
Know Your Foe
Oak Trees….I think that’s self explanatory. However the oak tree has a significant place in Linfield’s heart as our Oak Grove is the location of countless commencement ceremonies, weddings, and various gatherings of the Linfield and McMinnville community. In fact the oak grove is where Mrs. 11 and I tied the knot and we couldn’t have picked a better spot.
It’s my favorite part of campus and the anchor of the Oak Grove is the 250 year old “Old Oak”. However not is all well for the 80 foot tall majestic white oak. A main symbol of Linfield is slowly dying of an infestation of carpenter worms. The news-register wrote an article about the efforts to extend the tree’s life and to better its current support system. It’s very sad news as I always take a moment and take in the raw beauty of this tree when I pass by the oak grove.
So as much as I want to say “Cut down the Oaks this weekend” I think Linfield’ers need to maintain our Oak Karma.
Keys To Victory
That sounds easy enough but road games that include flight can distract even the most focused group. Menlo has had many injuries and is playing a huge number of youngsters but the more the young kids play the better they will be. So our ‘Cats need to take this game very seriously and do what a good team does to an outmatched opponent and that’s put them away early and don’t let up.
I’d like to see Linfield continue to forge that identity of a balanced physical offense and pound away at the Oak defense. Running the ball is going to be key down the stretch so I’d like to see a heavy dose of #5, #20, and #27.
We have seen tremendous growth over the past three weeks and my challenge to this team is to continue to improve. When all parts of this team are clicking as a unit Linfield can beat anybody in Division III. However those words will ring hallow if we trip up on Saturday. I believe this Linfield team has something to prove to themselves, their fans, the NWC, and Division III. I look for Linfield to drop the hammer this weekend and win by at least 4 scores if not more.
Monday, October 22, 2007
We'll just be over in our boring ol circle doing a hurdler stretch.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It was a huge game for Linfield and they answered the call and now control their destiny for the remainder of the season. It’s not time for Linfield to ease up on the gas peddle but let’s enjoy yesterday for what it was: an old school Wildcat victory. Now let’s review our weekly “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”
What more can you say than this was the first time PLU has been shut out since 19 freakin’ 79. That is a rather remarkable run by the ‘Lutes but yesterday was a defensive clinic by the ‘Cats. We pressured the quarterback, play great on the option, super efficient tackling, filled gaps, threw blankets on receivers, created turnovers, big stops on 4th down, etc. It was a great game plan by the defensive staff that the players executed very well. It was a total team effort with players just playing to their responsibilities and not trying to do more than their job. A+ effort.
2nd half offensive effort
I mentioned last week that I don’t recall Linfield playing a good 3rd quarter this season. That trend came to a stop yesterday as the Linfield offense controlled and cashed in on 10 points in the 3rd frame and set the tempo for the remainder of the contest. PLU’s defense lived up to their billing as athletic and speedy at the defensive end and linebacker positions. Linfield had some opportunities in the first half but the Lutes defense did a nice job in getting to Linfield QB Trevor Scharer and causing Linfield to sputter. However, the offense needs to be praised for showing some tremendous toughness and desire for their performance in the 2nd half. Most of the praise needs to be given to the big fellas up front as they naturalized the rush and did a fantastic job in the running game. I see a mean streak with this group and I love it.
Stan Fisher/Special Teams
Linfield punter Stan Fisher doesn’t get very much pub for being a punter but he was a huge field position weapon yesterday. He averaged below his typical punt yards per game but when Linfield was twice pinned deep in their own territory Stan and the punt team came up with a 48 yard punt and solid 38 yarder. Stan has been great all year long and the punt team needed a shout out today for their solid play.
This team is finding an identity and has had some great growth since the
Not being able to pay my respects to Frosty
(Editor's note: I didn't look hard enough for the Frosty one but thanks to a few PLU fans for letting me know he was in attendance in yesterday's game. Very happy that he was able to make the trip down and hope he has been doing well.)
I love a win over PLU more than just about anything. Linfield has rivalries but any Wildcat would tell you that PLU is enemy number 1. However, I respect and appreciate what legend Frosty Westering did for the NWC and for Small College Football. He showed that you don’t have to be a screaming, cussing, tyrant to be a winner in football and he is what is right about college athletics. That’s why I was disappointed that I did not get the chance to pay my respects to Frosty and his yellow sweats.
For the past two weeks we have seen two extreme examples of pre-game warm ups. Last week down in
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
It felt like “that” game. You know the game that exposes what a team is really made of and where their season might go from that point. We made some errors that allowed SOU to get back in the game but this ‘Cat team seemed to find the way to reach deep and make the plays to put the Raiders away. It was gritty hard-fought win. So let’s review The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Saturday’s victory.
The ‘Cats were living in the SOU backfield the whole 1st half and were able to put heat on during the critical 4th quarter stands. The defensive line and linebackers were very physical and I think they found their calling card in terms of their style of play. That pressure set up two takeaways that put the offense on the front door of the end zone. It was an outstanding performance up front.
SOU quarterback, Bryan Lee-Lauduski did throw for 3 TD’s on the night but was only 16-36 and threw 4 interceptions. The Wildcat secondary did a very solid job in breaking up plays when it mattered and in the playmaking department with the interceptions. SOU was only 4 for 16 in 3rd down conversions and the defensive backfield had a large hand in that.
4 for 4 in the Red Zone. It was an outstanding job on a night where the Linfield offense could have had a better performance in some areas. But the point is when the ‘Cats had the ball in the RZ they got the job done and I’d rather have that then a team that races between the 20’s and can’t punch it in.
The SOU defense was very physical and did a nice job vs the ‘Cats. However, when the game was on the line our offense made the plays it needed to extend the lead and then ice the game. Nice play calling and great execution.
Special Teams Coverage:
I though the coverage teams did a great job on Saturday. SOU had a very fast weapon that shook loose for one decent return but the rest of the night the Purple Pain crew had a great night.
4 turnovers were not an ideal number. I don’t need to keep hammering this but we know this will be a very key component next week.
I knew that SOU was going to come out with guns blazing but we really helped them out in the 3rd quarter. In fact, I don’t think we’ve played a very good 3rd quarter this season.
Getting home at about 4 AM:
All that leads to was a very unproductive Sunday.
SOU’s pre-game Chant/Stare Down:
Right before kickoff Linfield has the tradition of gathering on the sideline at the 50 and reciting the Lord ’s Prayer on bended knee. I’m not a very religious person but out of respect to the players on the team and my Linfield family I always took part and would look forward to that moment. Saturday was no exception but right before the team gathered the SOU players were gathered on their sideline at the 50 yard line and started jumping up and down while chanting “WILDCATS”. That wouldn’t be super tacky but half of their team turned towards our sideline and proceed to mean mug the ‘Cats while hooting and hollering.
Look Linfield has been around numerous big games and have played many excellent teams. That kind of junk isn’t scaring or intimidating anybody or winning you a game. All it did was make Linfield fans watching this go down chuckle and say “Looks like they won pre-game again.”
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I'll break down my thoughts of the trip to Ashland and of the 'Cats gutty victory that sets up this weekend's huge NWC tilt.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Some D3 followers might say “Wildcat11 a win or loss vs a non-DIII doesn’t matter in regards to playoffs” but let’s be real. An overall record of 7-2 looks much more qualified than a 6-3 record. Linfield fans from 2001 know what I’m talking about.
I can’t stress this enough…SOU is probably the 2nd most talented team we’ve face this season behind WOU. This is a very winnable game for Linfield but our ‘Cats must bring their “A” game to get it done. If we show up with our “Willamette” game then our ‘Cats are in for a long night. No "Know your Foe" this week because I'm slammed with other work and all you need to know is that a Raider is also known as Pirate scum.
Wildcat11’s key to victory:
Time of Possession:
SOU has a very strong passing game but they also have a physical offensive front that can run the ball. We need to find that balance in our offense that will allow the ‘Cats to obtain scoring chances while we eat up on the clock. The longer we can keep the Raider offense off the field the more effective our defense will be.
Defensive 3rd and long:
As a defense we have to deny SOU in 3rd and long situations. It’s back breaking when you play great the first two downs and then give up a chain’s route 1st down. This is an area our defense must keep improving on and will be key this Saturday.
I’ve been hammering this every week and I’ll keep on hammering it. We hang onto the ball and we’re going to win this game.
When I mean little things I’m talking about the little things that add up over the course of a game. That is missing a PAT in the 1st quarter or a converted 1st down gets called back because of a penalty. The more we clean these issues up the tougher it will be for SOU to overcome us.
Big challenge in a hostile environment. This will really tell if our team has bounced back from Willamette. SOU has to be feeling great about this week. They were able to fend off Willamette in Salem and they know that Linfield wasn’t able to. If we play quality Linfield football then we’re coming home with a win and I like our chances in doing that. ‘Cats by 7.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The Running Game
Linfield made a big move and shifted Jr. slot receiver Travis Masters to the starting tailback spot. For the first week the moved paid off big as Travis racked up 149 rushing yards on the day. It was the largest rushing total by a player since 2003 when Thomas Ford piled up 237 yards in a first round playoff win over Redlands. Linfield used a nice mix of Jr. Dan Lever in short yardage and vet Pete Cruickshank to round out the rushing attack. Really enjoyed the way the Oline was physical and the WR corp did a great job in working their blocks downfield.
The Senior safety had a standout day in recording 11 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception as Brian spearheaded the defense in their first shutout of the year. Mehl has played very well all year long and was rewarded with his play as being named the NWC defensive player of the week.
53-yard field goal and that broke a record he set 3 weeks prior of 52-yards. The junior kicker is damn good.
The overall sense of urgency
There was such a distinct difference in the emotional level of the team this week. They had a sense of urgency and level of readiness. They were not so wound up where they were emotionally exhausted after the first snap but they were just ready to roll. That attitude is what this team needs every day. Blue collar, hard work at practice and then it will carry over on Saturday.
Willamette had the bye week and they play UPS next Saturday so it was ugly that their team was there sporting their Bearcat gear. The funny thing is that for the past 7 years I’m sure there were bearcat players that showed up at Linfield games during their bye week but you wouldn’t know because they would never wear anything that tied them to Willamette for fear of people smirking at them for being a Willamette football player. Enjoy it this year because that’s as far as it will go.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
With that debacle in rearview mirror our boys need to turn their full attention to a Puget Sound Logger team that took one on this chin last Saturday to the revived Lutes 37-8. With Linfield sitting on an uncomfortable 1-2 record I don’t think there is a reason to dive deep in the reasons why victory this weekend is a huge must. What I think we’ll find out on Saturday is if Linfield is going to have a huge say about the NWC title or if Linfield Nation will be smashing the panic button at about 4:30 PM (PST).
Here are the schools official game previews: Opportunity for Redemption/Taking on the 'Cats
Know Your Foe
Loggers: Everyone knows what a Logger is but our friends over at Wikipedia provided some golden nuggets about our wood chopping opponents that my have you saying “Who Knew?”
-The difference between a Lumberjack and a Logger is that the term Lumberjack is typically referring to a Logger from an earlier time. So a Logger is basically a modern day Paul Bunyan. However, another slightly used term for a Logger back on east coast is a woodhick. I like it! Say it with me…”Puget Sound Woodhicks” Has a good ring to it.
-American Loggers were first centered in the northeastern states and moved along the upper Midwest until they hit the PacNW where the area glommed on the identity of the tough, hard working woodhick culture and we’ve been wearing flannel shirts every since.
---The term “skid row” can trace its origins to Loggers. Fallen trees were “skidded” down hill sides or on a corduroy road. One such street was in Seattle and held the name of “Skid Road”. As time moved along Skid Road was occupied by folks that were down on their luck and that morphed into the term “skid row”.
---The Wall Street Journal named being a logger as the worst job in America in 2004 due to the instability of the work, the pure danger, and low income from the job. I still contend the head football coach of Lewis and Clark is the worse job in America but I’m not the WSJ.
---The last fun fact I’ll provide is that Loggers like to have beards and wear suspenders. Maybe UPS should incorporate the suspender look onto their uniforms?
Wildcat11’s key to victory:
The Turnovers this season and last year have been 100% killer to this team. It happened again last week with the fumble at the one-inch line at the start of the 3rd quarter and when we had a blown assignment in pass protection that lead to Trevor getting stripped when he was steamed rolled. It has to stop if we are going to beat teams. You can look at Linfield’s last three losses (Willamette, WOU and Whitworth) and our turnovers all had a major, major say in the outcome.
Limit Kavin Williams:
The UPS quarterback (Kavin Williams) will be sharper this week than last after sitting out the beginning of the season with a bum right shoulder and was finally inserted back into the lineup vs PLU. Williams hurt Linfield last year with his legs but missed some golden chances to make some big strikes in the air. This year I suspect he’s probably matured as a passer and will be looking for the big air strike vs the ‘Cats. Before the season I felt he was one of the conference’s most dangerous players but was hampered by the tweaked wing. No Doubt, he will be looking to pull the ball down and run this weekend if he doesn’t see his primary target open. If we can control/limit Williams then we will control/limit UPS.
Overall: I could keep going and going about each little aspect that I believe will impact Saturday’s game but I truly think the above will be two highlighted keys of the game. If we don’t turn the stinking thing over and kill ourselves with stupid penalties then I love our offense. Teams cannot cover all of our weapons. Our Defense played great for 90% of the game last week but that 10% of being out of possession and players trying to do too much just murder us. If the defense plays on the same page and just focus on their jobs the full 60 minutes then we should be in good shape.
I don’t care how much we win by but I want to see an improved effort to play smart, limit the turnovers, and try to play a complete game. I like Linfield by 14 or more. Now let’s go out and win the damn thing!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
It hurts to type this but I figure I should pound out this blog about the alumni/jv game last night at the ‘Catdome. We had about 30 alumni players that were able to make it last night but the old guys gave it their all last night and played a heck of a game versus the young ‘Cats and ran away with the 54-16 win. For me, the hours leading up to the game were pretty stressful. I was very worried about the weather (we already played one alumni game in a monsoon) and players not being able to make it during the final hours.
I arrived at the Catdome around 3pm and open up the visitor’s locker room. About 4 pm guys slowly started to trickle in. One of the fun parts of the event is over in the equipment room where guys search out their old number and find out if they can still even get the jersey to fit. You could see the memories wash over the alumni players as they start searching out for a certain style of shoulder pads and debate to try to fit in the large pants or move up the XL. My old numbers 11 fit very snugly around my mid-section but screw it; there was no jersey that was going to turn the clock back 10 years so I just went for it.
Another funny thing about the alumni game that I’ve noticed over the past few years is that it seems that the defensive players are typically the first ones to show up. I don’t know why and don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but it always seem that D-Line and LBs make up the bulk of the first arrivals. You could probably guess the last guys to typically show up….the O-Line guys.
As for the game itself, the weather turned out to be absolutely perfect and there was a decent turnout to support the new and old ‘Cats. The young kids took the early lead on an offensive turnover but after that the offense rolled up and down the field turf at the ‘Catdome. The defense guys were a little disappointed we gave up a TD but we felt pretty good about our old guy effort.
As much as I would like to write a paragraph about every player there I’ll just give a shout to all the boys: Drew Kehoe, Peter Gerber, Dwight Donaldson, Jeff York, Bryan Swanson, James Holan, Luke Buchheit, Brett Elliott, Carl Haberberger, Morty Kotler, Thomas Ford, Andy Jamison, Joe O’Neil, Brad McKechnie, George Carter, Brandon Hazenberg, Casey Allen, Mitch Chadwick, Mark Culbertson, Mike Ketler, Robert Acevedo, Nik Soo, Brandon Olson, Ryan Boatsman, Phil Rombach, Chris Boock, Phil Marr, JP Kloninger, and Ray Lions.
Allen Moody from the News-Register was very gracious to give the game pre and post coverage. Here is the link to the game article: Linfield alumni impressive one more time. Thanks Allen for the ink!
OK that is about all for me because I’m hurting more and more by the minute and I need to put my feet up and relax. I'll be getting my hands on some pictures in the near future and I'll be linking those up soon.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
It's the day after the shocking loss at
I started pulling clips a few hours ago for the highlight DVD and still can't believe how we went from total domination to a dog flight in a very short time period. It was just a wild situation to witness.
So here I am feeling like garbage and I get a random email from a Linfield fan I've never met but he's been checking out the blog and felt the need to drop me a line. His email really snapped me back to life and made everything all clear. Let me share you the excerpt that made it come together for me:
I remember a statement made by Terry Bradshaw years ago ( and I paraphrase) how easy it is to be a happy, reasonably stable and well adjusted person when everything is going well.
It's when the stuff hits the fan and performance and results are lost that the real metal of a man can be found.
Right when I read that I felt 10x worse and then 10x better at the same time. I felt worse because of the way I reacted right after the game. I was cursing in my mind and on the phone with my anger of the loss and questioning if I'm somehow contributing to this by glorifying the program with all the videos of the 'Cats cutting up team after team during the incredible run of the past years. I just reacted as poorly as a fan and as a supporter could get. Looking back I'm just as disappointed in my reaction to the loss as much as the loss itself.
The reason why I felt better is that my anonymous emailer was spot on. At Linfield we always talk about handling adversity and when the clips and odds are against us we find a way to rise above the panic and chaos and perform like winners.
So instead of crying in my milk and contributing to the crush of worriers of the jeopardy of the streak I'm going to turn all of my support towards helping my 'Cats just go out the next game and do the best they can. As players I hope they are finding that same mindset that on Monday they're just going to hit the practice field and work each snap on improving and competing. If the kids get caught up in worrying about two or three games down the road they won't see the hurdle and the opportunity right in front of them.
If you are a fan that is reading this I hope you take this to heart also. Instead of feeling dread and trying to dissect everything and coming up with a list of "what ifs" about last Saturday, just show up at the Catdome and put everything into feeding the 'Cats that Catdome energy that has propelled so many teams of the past to that higher level of play.
What's done is done and it's time to find out if this team is made of steel or tin foil. As a fan I'm putting my Reynolds Wrap away.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Linfield has owned Willamette in recent years but this is always a hotly contested battle (sans 2004/20005). In 2006 Willamette was in right in the game until the end when Linfield was able to pull away. This year Willamette is an improved ball club that plays extremely hard. Don’t let the 1-3 record fool you…they’ve been in every game so far this year. I have a very high respect for Coach Speckman. His kids play the game the right way and he runs a first class program. I feel he's been hampered by Willamette's admissions policy the past few years and it has shown on the scoreboard. In fact, if the right job came up I could see Coach Speckman leaving Willamette in short order but that is just my thoughts.
You can read Linfield Sports preview here: Backyard Brawl or watch Coach Speckman give a preview of Linfield/Willamette here: Linfield Pre-Game Interview
Know Your Foe (Thanks M-Zone.com!)
Just what is a Bearcat? According the Wikipedia a Bearcat is actually a Binturong. A Bearcat is not actually a bear or a cat and the original meaning is lost so people don’t really know where it came from. Who knew?
Other fun facts are that Bearcats are nocturnal and sleeps on branches. They like fruit but will eat eggs, leaves, and other small animals (rodents/birds). Deforestation has greatly thinned out their numbers (no wonder they dislike UPS so much), and can be vicious when corned.
Typically a Bearcat is the size of a smallish dog (20-30 lbs) and its bushy tail can act as a fifth hand which comes in handy when running the fly offense.
Wildcat11's key to victory: (Granted more goes to winning a game than just below but these are some of my highlighted areas)
Linfield Linebackers vs The Fly
No doubt our sophomore trio of LBs has shown some great flashes in the early season but no game this year will be as big of mental challenge as defending The Fly for the first time. No team will give you more false reads and ball faking deception than Willamette. They might not be as physical or athletic as WOU/HSU but if Willamette gets you out of your lane it can spell big trouble.
A thorn in Linfield’s side for the last part of 2006 and early 2007 is putting the ball on the ground. Again, I understand that turnovers will happen but we do need to protect the rock in a better manner and if we do turn it over it has to be “3 and out”. Willamette was able to get in their game with SOU last week on a turnover returned for a ‘Tug and we can’t afford to give WU free points.
Willamette Linebackers vs Linfield Slots
Willamette’s biggest asset on defense is their hard playing LBs. In watching the WOU/Willamette game they are athletic and fly to the ball. A big key to our offensive attack (in my humble opinion) is our slot receiver’s ability to make plays vs the Willamette Linebackers. If our slots will continue to make the tough catches to move the chains then Willamette is going to have a hard time defending the ‘Cats.
Linfield Running Game – Keep Them Honest
The best way to slow down a pass rush is to run the ball. We’re not going to be mistaken with a wishbone team but if we can prove to be effective running the ball in spots then it will allow the passing attack to be even more effective. But come on…that’s just football 101.
Overall, if we don’t put ourselves in bad spots with turnovers then I think we just have too much offense for Willamette. I like the ‘Cats by 2 TD’s if not more.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The game is on Monday (Oct 1st) at 7:15 pm. The alumni team will be wearing white on white Linfield uniforms and just about each alumni player will be wearing anywhere from 5-30 extra pounds from their former playing days. As the organizer of the game this is when I start getting really nervous. We have an excellent roster of former ‘Cats that will be back at the ‘Catdome but sometimes life comes up and guys can’t make it. It drives me bonkers because I want to make sure we have the spots filled up enough where have enough bodies on the turf.
On our offense I think Cat fans that attend are going to have some major flashbacks to the 2004-2005 seasons. On Defense we have a cool mix of young and old vets so I hope we hold up our end of the deal.
I think that is going to be the last Alumni Game for Wildcat11. This will be my 4th game and I think that is plenty. Last year when I was in open space with a ball carrier my mind knew what it wanted to do but the flesh wasn’t willing. As I age that aspect of playing isn’t going to improve.
So here’s to the guys that are coming out on a Monday night. It’s a tough deal for the players to pull off and I hope the current kids in the program will get a little better understanding of the tradition of former ‘Cat players and how proud we are of them.
Friday, September 21, 2007
My first instinct is to head down to Salem on Saturday night to check out a much improved Southern Oregon Raider team play the Bearcats but I have some projects to work on during Saturday and I think it might be best to take Mrs. 11 out for a nice dinner since she’s been so great in supporting my Wildcat craze this season (as usual).
Good reads about HSU/Linfield
Mrs. 11 and I had the pleasure of playing guest host to D3football.com’s Keith McMillian and Pat Coleman last weekend. You can read Keith’s thoughts about their trip out to the PacNW here on his fantastic weekly Around The Nation series on D3football.com. I highly recommend that you read this article.
In his article Keith wrote about a “D3 geek moment of the trip” and that moment was Keith and Pat’s impromptu stop at Lewis and Clark. In reading this Mrs. 11 laughed and said that was incorrect and the geek moment of the trip should have been when Keith, Pat, and myself were all at our dinning room table each on our laptops reading the d3football posting board at 1 am in the morning. I might have to agree.
Also, The SID for Hardin Simmons runs a blog and he posted up on his trip out to Portland/McMinnville. He has a classic story about his friends wanting some seafood for lunch and the “establishment” they pull up to in thinking they found the right spot. Classic.
Highlights, Highlights, Highlights
Well, I just about wrapped up the WOU segment for the player highlight DVD for this season. Not to put myself over but it’s looking pretty darn sharp. I’m excited to start on the HSU game this weekend. We had four cameras working that game. We have the two stadium cameras that work the video board to pull clips from, my shots, and senior running back Drew Ragan’s uncle (Jerry) was there shooting. I love it when Jerry is there. He’s been shooting video for years and his clips are top shelf. Needless to say, we should have that game well covered from just about every angle.
I’ll be pretty much useless for the next few months during weekends so I’m gunning on wrapping up a few projects around the house. We’ll see if I can knock them out. Along with that I plan on opening a couple of Longhammer IPA's and enjoying whatever college games are on.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Anyways, the football mug shot is a phenomenon that goes back to the beginning of the games. There are so many different variations of how players present themselves in the mug shot. Honestly, most are pretty comical. Most players probably don’t even think their mug shot until they sit down in front of the camera. Then they immortalized their image as a player for the rest of their days in some ridiculous manner.
I was always the 'clean cut and smile guy” for my mugs. I smile because I was playing college football and enjoyed every minute of playing, so why not smile? I’m not a mean guy so why try to put on a front and look tough? A mug shot never won a game so I didn’t see why I needed to looked pissed.
So let’s dive into a few categories of mug shots around the NWC this season.
The “I’m wearing my dad’s shirt” mug:
This classic happens all the time in the college football world. What happens is that at the beginning of the year a team doesn’t have all of their team gear ready (polo’s, jackets) so the SID has one or two community shirts/jackets that he puts on every player for their mug shot. The result is that a number of guys look like they’re 10 years old and they stole their big brother’s clothes. This year’s winner is Menlo. They have a number of examples of this gaff and the most egregious examples are here, here, and here. Brutal.
The “Mean Mug”
This is the #1 most brutal football mug shot. I’ve never understood the mean mug head shot. Are you in jail? Did you just find out you’re girl is cheating on you? What’s your problem buddy? Like I said a mug shot has never intimidated a sole on the football field or won a game. Buddy…you’re playing college football so smile a little! Here are some classic examples of this mug here, here, here, here, and here.
This is a very rare mug shot and has a very close relation to the “mean mug”. The Pez Head is a move that some players will use in their mug shot when they really want to amp up the intimidation. The move is to tilt the head back while wearing the mean mug. The effect is to try to make yourself look even more intimidating but all it does is make you look like you’re trying to squeeze out a fart. We only had two Pez Heads in the NWC this year that are here and here. Congrats!
The “Holy Hair” mug
We do live in the Pacific Northwest so I shouldn't be surprised that many of the NWC rosters are littered with players “expressing” themselves through their hair. I guess I’m just old fashioned when it comes to the hair cut during football but there are a ton of filthy looking guys in the NWC this season. Whitworth was leading the conference last year in guys with hair like girls but as you can see the NWC has diversified in this category for the 2007 season. You can find some examples of these long hairs here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The “Just Woke Up” mug
Come on bro….your parents are spending 20K plus a year to send you to college. At least you can get yourself in order.
PLU has already been lauded for their “Class of ‘Stache” this year but here are a few more sweet mustaches in the NWC. Here are two ‘Cats with some not-so sweet lip love: here and here. Coaches still have the old rule of that you can grow the lip fuzz if it's "neatly trimed and groomed". Unless your name is Ron Jermey I think it's time to revisit this rule.