Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking down the All-NWC Team:

The All-NWC Conference team has been out for a few weeks now and you can find it here at Linfield placed 11 players on the first team offense/defense and 22 overall players on All-NWC team.

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

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