Monday, October 29, 2007

'Cats climb all over Trees

Our Linfield Wildcats dominated the host Menlo Oaks in a workman like game for the ‘Cats as they pounded out the 37-6 win. The victory secured the ‘Cats 52 straight consecutive winning seasons on the same day UC-Davis streak of 37 consecutive winning seasons came to a stop as the Aggies fell to 3-6 on the season with a 28-21 loss to South Dakota State.

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.

The Good

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.

Running Game

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.

The Bad

Missed Opportunities

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.

The Ugly

The Facilities

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.

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