Monday, September 17, 2007

Wild West Shootout at the ‘Catdome

OK, I did say ‘Cats by 10 in my Linfield/HSU preview. I didn’t think it would be 52-42 but it’s still 10 points. It was a picture perfect late summer day at the ‘Catdome and nothing like breaking out a home opener with two offenses that looked like they belong on a basketball court more than a football field. So let’s talk about the Good, the not-so good, and the ugly in Linfield's first win (a big one) of the 2007 season.

The Good

Trevor Sharer – One of the best passing/offensive performances in Linfield history. Trevor’s 511 passing yards incredibly only puts him 3rd in a single game performance behind The Butcher’s 525 (Oxy 2005) and 528 yards (Whitewater 2005) but now holds the single game record for total yardage in one game at 555 total yards. After the WOU game we all thought Trevor was going to have a huge year but that is just ridiculous. Five alright’s for Trevor.

Pass Protection- In order for the QB to get all the love the boys up front have to get their job done and again they were great in the pass-pro department. The O-Line did not give up one sack on the day and there were only a few times were Trevor was really rushed. Along with the offensive line, the running backs did a fantastic job in picking up blitzing Cowboys.

Receivers- Again just a fantastic day with 10 different Wildcats catching passes. The number of ‘Cats that can make plays catching the ball seems to be endless. I love the makeup of their character.

Kicking Game- Stan Fisher didn’t get to punt very much on Saturday but was fantastic again. The Punt coverage team cashed in on Stan’s perfect placement that pinned the ‘boys on the 1-yard line in one of Stan’s two punts. Also, what can you say about our place kicker Scott Birkhofer? The Junior was phenomenal with two huge field goals of 46 and 51 yards (a school record). I’m pretty sure that will garner him some All-American attention.

The Not-So Good

Turnovers- While there were zero interceptions the offense did put the ball on the carpet 5 times while losing 3 of the fumbles. HSU converted two of those turnovers into TD. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing at this point but we to clean this up or it will bite us down the road.

Defense- I’m a defensive guy so I just hated seeing a talented Cowboy offense hang a 42 spot on my ‘Cats. There are definite areas where we can get much better at and I truly believe as we move along we’re going to get there. We have three sophomore linebackers (who are going to be stars) but it takes time to get a handle on our defense in terms of adjustments. However, that still doesn’t excuse the tackling at times, needing to pressure the QB more, and being out of control when we have shots for big tackles for losses. However, I’m an optimist and know that we’ll keep ratcheting up the defense but it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

On another note….I’m I crazy to complain that the offense was scoring too quickly and this could be part of the problem this past Saturday? Look at the time of possession for Linfield. We didn’t have one drive that lasted over 3 ½ minutes. That just a crazy pace and leads to our defense to be out there for a long time. Maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth but a few drives over 6 minutes wouldn’t kill us.

The Ugly

Total Attendance: 2154. The last time I remember any empty seats in the main grandstands was the 2003 Redlands playoff games. The upper south corner of the grandstands was empty and it was disappointing. The fans that were there were GREAT as always. However, I think the fact that OSU, Oregon, and PSU having all home games today hurt our attendance. Linfield only has 3 more home games this season and if we do go 8-1 then we might get a home playoff game. Linfield fans are calling for our defense to step up but I’m calling on our fans to step up.


Beancounter said...

While the obvious parts of the special teams were great (Fisher and Birkhofer), the Cats committing a roughing the kicker penalty with about five minutes left was poor. HSU was basically running up the white flag at that point and an attempt to block a kick like that when possession of the football means so much wasn't brilliant football. The comments in the box were for Vierra to take a fair catch and get on with a drive that should salt the game away with a couple of first downs. Instead, HSU got a gift first down and then went on for a score that never should have happened.

But past that, I agree with your assessment RC.

Wildcat11 said...

Yeah that roughing the kicker was brutal. I don't even know why the kid would be going for the block at that point of the game. I would have felt even better with a 17 point win but still will take the 10 point victory!

I expect better play from a Wildcat wearing number 11! :) Play smart!