“When you got an all-out prizefight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. And that's how you know who won.” –Al Capone, The Untouchables
It’s finally here! The 2007 Linfield College football season will kickoff this Saturday at 6 PM in Monmouth as our Linfield Wildcats will lock claws with the Wolves of Western Oregon.
If you want a great breakdown of what each team has in their arsenal then you should read each team’s press release. You can find the Linfield one here: Push comes to shove and you can find the WOU press release here: Wolves top one Cat, another arrives Saturday.
What I’m going to write about are a few areas of the game that I think are key in order for the ‘Cats to walk away with the win.
Tackle, Tackle, Tackle
It’s one of the most important aspects of any game and if Linfield wants to increase their chances on Saturday then the ‘Cats are going to have to do a great job in the tackling department. WOU starting running back, Soph. Ben Kuenzi, reminds me of a UWW Justin Beaver type of back. He has the ability to makes some quick cuts in traffic in the zone scheme but he’s at his best at first contact. Time after time versus Willamette it seemed that Kuenzi was able to turn out extra yardage when a Bearcat defender put a shoulder on him. Those extra 2-3 yards are killer when trying to slow a offense down and Linfield’s defense has to do a great job on converging on Kuenzi and limiting those effort yards.
Linfield Wide Outs vs WOU’s Defensive Backs
When you really get down to it this might be the biggest match up of the game, sans the WOU D-line/Linfield O-Line. Our wide outs just have to get the job done on Saturday night in order for us to win. We have an exceptional receiving corp and WOU’s defensive backs are not slouches. This group of ‘Cats need to make the simple and tough plays in order for us to win this game.
WOU’s Defensive Front vs Linfield’s Offensive Line
Make no mistake this is where Linfield was really hurt in the 2006 game. The WOU defensive front did a number all night long on the ‘Cats front line. It hamstrung our offense in the worse way because if you’re a passing team you need to be able to give the QB time to make his decision.
WOU is bringing back that same group up front and the worse news is that they’ve added a defensive end transfer from the Oregon Ducks, Victor Filipe. The good news for Linfield in looking at our offensive front is that we’re very talented but just inexperienced under game circumstances.
It’s no secret that this will be a huge storyline of Saturday’s game. Linfield has very good skill kids but will we have time to deliver them the ball?
Bottom Line: It’s going to be a close game that will be decided by a small margin. I would be very surprised if one team ran away from the other. I think WOU’s offense will miss Boss, Vinzant, and slot Knudsen much more than that anticipated and I like Linfield to come away with a close and very hard fought win. Cats by 3.