Thursday, June 28, 2007 goes back to the 80's

We’re in the home stretch of the video season on and we have quite the treat in store for our Wildcat faithful. During the month of July the mothership will rollout the ’82, ’84, and ’86 NAIA title games in recap fashion (ala the 2004 Stagg Bowl below).

Each video clip will be about 10 minutes in length. That is mainly due to the restriction of most video hosting sites (YouTube, Metacafe, etc) in terms of the max length of video (10 mins).

I have the ’86 game in the can and I’m currently wrapping up the ’82 game. I’m very excited to crack open the 1984 comeback game vs NW Iowa. What I try to do is capture the high spots of the game that tell the story of each contest. It’s a tough task because there are moments you want to feature but there just isn’t enough time for every huge hit or great run.

The 1982 game will be debuted on Monday, July 9th. 1984 will be released on the 16th and the ’86 game will be out on the 23rd.

The last three weeks of the season will feature the 2000 PLU/Linfield contest and the 2007 offensive and defense preview.

Do me a favor and send an e-mail out to your friends and family with Linfield ties about Not only do we want to be able to connect our alumni back to Linfield but we want to be able to introduce Linfield to potential Wildcats.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Alumni Game: Monday Oct. 1st!

The 3rd annual Linfield Alumni vs Junior Varsity alumni game has been set. The old men and the young ‘Cats will square off the Monday after the varsity smacks around the Willamette Bearcats. (Monday, October 1st at 7:15 pm)

The series up to this point is 2-1 in favor of the Alumni. The teams played twice during the 2005 season as they split the games that year. The Alumni won the first showdown 10-7 on a Scott Cannon game winning field goal and the JV’s surprised the alumni team in brutal conditions 20-17 in early November of ’05. However, the 2006 game was a different story as the Alumni team led by QB Ty Mathews (’03) and Linfield WR greats, Casey Allen (’05), Brandon Hazenberg (’05), Brad McKechnie (’05), and Sonte Wong (’00) cut up the young kids in racking up 35 points on the day.

The game is a little over 3 months out and this is where the leg work comes in. I still need to obtain e-mail addresses from the 2006 class and we need to find a QB. Ty turned in his retirement papers after last season’s victory and told me he is 100% done. Break out the running shoes, load up your iPods with some AC/DC and cut back on the beer. I’ll start sending out e-mails to the alumni mailing list next week but please shoot me an email if you’re interested in playing.

Start making your plans now!

Now or Never

It’s time for our weekly recap of our Wildcats in the Europe/Indoor leagues. We had one ‘Cat wrap up his season on a strong note, one ‘Cats with the week off, one ‘Cat looking to put up back-to-back wins, and two more who look to stop their team’s skids.

Elliott finishes in Europa and looked good doing it.

The Cowboy took 100% of the snaps in games 7, 8, and 9 for the NFL Europa’s Rhein Fire but Brett Elliott was inserted into his team’s final game, a 17-13 loss to the Hamburg Sea Devils, but BE built some momentum heading into training camp with the San Diego Chargers. The (twice) 1st team Linfield All-American was 6 for 12 on the day but if not for a few drops would have shined even greater.

Brett was sharp all day and looked like a QB who’s made the adjustment to the pro game. Hopefully the time in Europa has prepared Brett to make some noise in San Diego and earn that 3rd QB roster spot for the Chargers.

You can see BE in game 10 action at the mothership:

Boise is flaming out and Haze is out with an injury

Our Boise Burn started out on fire this season with a 4-1 start but 5 losses later has left a bitter taste in the Burn’s mouth as a playoff birth seems more like a reach. Former Linfield All-American Brandon Hazenberg (’05) has been placed on the IR for the next 4 weeks with an injured shoulder. I spoke with Brandon today and he feels the injury is on the mend but very optimistic about Boise righting the ship and making a run for a playoff slot.

It’s not going to be easy as WR Casey Allen (twice Linfield 1st team All-American) will bring the Burn to visit the division leading Spokane Shock (7-4). The two square off this Saturday at 5 pm at the Spokane Arena.

The Wild are roughed up

After being at home the past three weeks the Intense Football League’s Alaska Wild was back on the road as they visited the Odessa Roughnecks. It wasn’t pretty as the ‘Necks just double barrel blasted the Wild by a score of 72-33. Former ‘Cat stand out, Thomas Ford Jr, again pulled his weight with a pair of touchdowns but the Wild just doesn’t have the weapons on either side of the ball to break into that win column.

The Wild are back in Texas this week as they face the San Angelo Stampede Express. This is where I’m hopeful. The Express are 2-7 on the year and have been crushed a few time so if the Wild are going to break out of the yearlong funk…this is the game. So let’s give TFJ about 16 “Catdome’s” before you go to bed for some much needed karma.

Our Hawks will not get bent out of shape

The Arkansas Twisters are visiting our Everett Hawks this week as former Linfield standout Ricky Gaspar (’02) helps lead the AF2’s Hawks improving play. Since Gaspar signed with the Hawks 6 weeks ago, Everett has taken off in avg. 52 points a game as Everett has won 2 out of the last 3. The offensive line is a massive force (6’3”, 310 lbs) and supplying the time needed for the Hawks to get their offense on track.

The Hawks are getting big test as the 7-3 Twisters are no patsy but this is by far the longest roadie for the Twisters. The game kicks off at 7:30 so you have plenty of time to chug some cold ones in the parking lot.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Red & Purple Interview: SOU's Dusty McGrorty

Welcome back to the 4th edition of the Red and Purple Interview. The idea behind the R&P Interview is to not only speak with Wildcats but also speak with Wildcat opponents of the past that any 'Cat fan will remember with just a mention of their name. Dusty McGrorty is one such player. From 2000-2003 he was the most feared runner in the Pacific Northwest and in the NAIA. I caught up with the former Raider and talked about SOU's great playoff run from 2001-2002, the Linfield/SOU series, and his time with the St. Louis Rams. I can't thank Dusty enough for taking part. Read on!

(Wildcat11) Hello Dusty, The first thing I would like to say is that you had an historic career. You're a three time NAIA All-American (twice 1st team). You shattered the Northwest Small College (NAIA, DII, DIII) record for career yards (5,414), career touchdowns (75), carries (983), while having a career 5.5 yards per carry avg. When you first came out of Warrenton (Or.) and arrived in Ashland did you have any idea that you were going to rack up this type of career? What do you attribute to the success you had at SOU as an individual?

(Dusty McGrorty) First off, I just wanted to play ball. I wanted to carry the football! For me, there wasn’t a better feeling than getting the football in your hands and trying to pick and plow your way through a defense. By the way, Linfield never recruited me. I had no clue that I was going to even come close to breaking records. I just wanted to establish myself as a starting tailback at SOU, and try to fill the shoes of my good buddy Griff Yates. What motivated me as student and player is that I was told that I wasn’t big enough and fast enough to play at that level by a high school coach. The way that I was coached in high school was so different, we were almost put down and told we were no good. I guess they thought that would motivate us. I arrived at SOU with Coach Jeff Olson, and was amazed by how I was encouraged right off the bat. He told me that I had the talent and the skills to be a starting back at SOU. That was the best thing for me to hear. Someone thinks I can do it other than my mom and dad. So basically, I wanted to prove to some people that a small kid from a 2A school can do it. It also helped that I had a great coach at SOU, who encouraged me every time I stepped on the field.

(WC11) I’d like to talk about your 2001 season (sophomore year). The Raiders really did have a stellar team that year. The only blemish on your regular season was a controversial defeat up at PLU (48-38). Besides that hiccup, the 2001 team was really clicking headed into your first round playoff game. McKendree came to Ashland and you guys just blow the doors off of the Bearcats (54-10). Did you know what to expect that game or was it a little surprising you rolled them so bad? Can you recall what the feeling was like at Raider Stadium that day with the first SOU playoff win since 1987?

(DM) The game at PLU was a heart breaker for me because we moved the ball up and down the field, but the refs just would not give us a break. Anyone who watched that game would know who the better team was that year. We didn’t know what to expect with McKendree. We thought they had an awesome rushing attack and a great defense. This was the first time we had seen another NAIA opponent who was ranked, so we were definitely a bit nervous. We started off with the Raider ground attack and just got our rushing game going early. Our running game always opened up our passing game in 2001, with the help of Travis Mari, our phenomenal quarterback that year. We were playing that game like it was our last game we were ever going to play. We definitely stepped up our level in the playoffs. When that buzzer went off in the 4th quarter, we felt like there wasn’t a team who could beat us. We had just beaten the Bearcats so badly, they didn’t want to play anymore. There DB’s were starting to cower in the 4th quarter when our backs broke through their linebackers. They didn’t want to hit us anymore. The crowd was so fired up about bringing Carrol College to town. Nobody thought the Raiders were going to be beaten at home. We had the biggest turnouts at the playoff games. It was the best feeling seeing the crowd screaming, hollering, and the stands filled.

(WC11) The following week you hosted Carroll College in the quarterfinals in what came to be known at SOU as the “Snow Bowl”. Six inches of snow covers the field just hours before the game. It was a low-scoring affair until the 4th quarter where SOU and Carroll would trade leads 3 times before the Saints would hold off your Raiders on the last drive of the game for a 16-13 win. I know it stinks to recall tough losses but can you give us the details on the match-up and of the action that day? I know a question that had to be in the minds of your fans was, “ how big a part did that snow storm have in slowing down your great offense?” Did that storm changed the offensive game plan that day?

(DM) I hate talking about this game, so I’ll keep this one short. I woke up that morning feeling the best I’ve ever felt. My roommate Toby Walker (DB) says, “go look outside”. I went outside and there was snow covering everything. I thought we were in Montana. We showed up for pre-game walk through and Coach Olson said “Dusty you need to try this dry hands stuff”. I knew they were worried about getting the running game going. We had to change the game plan about mid-way through the first quarter. We tried pounding the ball up the middle and basically just wearing them down like we always do. The traction and cutting ability was very limited that day. We never established the running game. I looked at Travis and said “this one’s up to you, it’s on your shoulders now. I’ll block all day for you”. That was all it took for Travis to step it up and bring us into the game with the short passes. We held on and we were so close. If that would have been a dry field, it would have turned out different. I really believe you would have seen the Raiders holding the National Championship. No excuses though, we lost.

(WC11) 2002 rolls around and again the Raiders have a great season and a great team. SOU reaches an all-time high of a #2 NAIA ranking, you have six All-Americans on the roster and look to have what you want when you visited Carroll in the NAIA quarterfinals for a rematch after defeating Montana-Western (30-12) the week before.

(DM) Everyone was pretty excited about the 2002 season, especially coming off of the 2001 season. Returning 6 All-Americans was huge for us. This was going to be our year for revenge. We meet Carroll College again in the quarters. This is what everyone wanted. This game was a heart breaker for us.

(WC11) Everything looks to be going great at Carroll. You lead the whole game and you’ve racked up 158 yards and two touchdowns and are leading 31-14 going into the 4th quarter. However, Carroll’s 4th quarter magic rears it’s ugly head again and they run off 21 straight to pull out a 35-31 win. Carroll would go on to win their 2nd straight NAIA title. What happened during that 4th quarter to allow Carroll to come back? Was it turnovers, field position, etc?

(DM) This is the hardest game for me to talk about. The game was in our hands the up until the fourth quarter. We dominated that team up and down the field all day. It was an icy, hard surface and wasn’t very fun to play on. Very limited cutting ability, it was just like the year before. To make a long story short, we had some problems with celebrating early. I was so mad when guys were dancing around on the sidelines like we had just won the game. The defense started to soften up and Carroll made three 4th and long conversions. It was amazing on their part. Offensively we just weren’t moving the ball like we were in the 1st three quarters. We should have had a couple first downs that may have run a lot more time off the clock. There were a lot of things that we could have done that game in the 4th quarter that weren’t done. Clearly in my mind we were a better team. Some of the guys just decided to celebrate and relax a little bit, and that’s when Carroll took the momentum. They went on to win the National Title!

(WC11) Is there any doubt in your mind that if you were able to get past Carroll in 2001 or 2002 that SOU might have won at least one, if not back-to-back, NAIA titles?

(DM) There isn’t a doubt in my mind that we would have been National Champions for sure in 2002. For 2001 I’m almost positive that we would have won it that year, too. If you look at the way Carroll ran through the teams they had after us, they were almost blowouts. I talked to Casey Fitzsimmons from Carroll who was a tight end, and he told me that we were the toughest team that they played against both years. We were also the most feared team to play from what their coaches told the team. Those words make you feel really good, but it doesn’t make a difference if you’re not winning to me.

(WC11) Now since this is a Linfield fans site so let’s talk ‘Cats vs. Raiders. For 16 straight years the ‘Cats and Raiders have hooked up. While most fans would say that Western Oregon vs Southern Oregon are more intense rivals, I feel that the continuity of the Linfield/SOU series makes the yearly contest a very important game to both programs. Can you tell us what the series with Linfield means from the SOU perspective?

(DM) My opinion, Linfield-Southern is the best rivalry! Look at Western, they’re never ranked, why would that be a huge rivalry? Linfield is always one the best teams in the country every season. I always knew if we beat Linfield we had a great team. It also shot us up in the rankings. So for me personally, the Linfield-Southern is the best rivalry hands down.

(WC11) I’d like to discuss the 2001-2003 games. In early 2001 Linfield visited Raiders Stadium and just got our doors blown of the hinges 29-0. It was a packed house and your defense dominated the ‘Cats to a miserable 40 yards of total offense. After that game, did that confirm in your mind that you guys had something special going that year? Can you describe some details of the game and honestly… much fun was it to pound my ‘Cats like that?

(DM) Beating Linfield in 2001 was a great feeling. We knew if we beat the Cats that bad, we had something special going on that season. We had great all around leaders on that team, and an amazing quarterback that took charge on the field. It was fun to see Linfield sort of give up in the fourth quarter, because you never see that from them, they always fight it out till the end. I didn’t get that many carries that game though. I fractured a rib in 2nd quarter. I tried to keep playing, but ended up hitting the bench in the 3rd. It was just too much pain to deal with, and being up like we were; there was no need to abuse my body anymore. I just got healthy for the next week. It still hurt throughout the next couple of games, let me tell you! That game I think is what allowed Linfield to respect SOU a whole lot more.

(WC11) The next two years were just classic games. In 2002 both SOU and Linfield come into the contest highly ranked and locked up in a great game that resulted in a Linfield 42-35 double overtime win. You had an incredible day with rushing for 182 yards and 4 TD’s against a very good Linfield defense. However, you did have a fumble late in the 4th quarter that Linfield would take advantage of to knot up the game at 28-28. When you look back at this game do you remember the great game you had or does your mind just go right to the fumble? Your Raiders would bounce back from the loss and come within minutes of going the distances in the NAIA playoffs. Do you think your team grew from that Linfield game or was it just a case of flushing the loss and moving on?

(DM) This game was one of my most memorable games ever. I had lots of family there, and who doesn’t like an overtime game? I felt like I had one of my best runs in my career in overtime. I’m sure you all remember that one for a TD. The fumble; I don’t like to think about, but that’s football, it happens. Whoever got that thing loose should be proud, because I had almost a thousand carries in my career and had maybe 4 fumbles. If I wouldn’t have fumbled, who knows? We may have won the game, or we may not have. We may not have made the playoffs either, if we had won. That loss really hit home for us and we knew we didn’t want that to happen anymore. We hate to lose to Linfield, but it might have been good for us.

(WC11) Now let’s talk about one of the top three games I’ve seen in my life. 2003 Linfield at Southern where my ‘Cats would escape with the 47-42 win. It was really an electric game and in my mind topped the 2002 thriller.

Again, both teams were highly ranked and there was a boat load of talent on the field for both teams. There were 8 lead changes and over 900 yards of offense on the night. You went off again with 228 yards rushing and 3 TD’s. Dusty, you did just about everything you could to win that game with those two huge 4th quarter TD runs. Was it more frustrating to lose a game like that at home or was the 2002 loss more disappointing? Also, SOU had a very late opener, in fact, I think you might have been one of the last college teams in the nation to play their season opener. Do you think the late start had any impact on the outcome of that game?

(DM) It was way more disappointed about losing that game at home. It was our first game of the season and we hate to lose the opener. We had a better team, talent wise in ‘03 than in ‘02. That loss got our team all fired up and out of sync. If you look back at that season we didn’t get on our feet until our 5th game of the year. It was really hard for me to cope with that start knowing we had talent to win a national championship again that season. I really don’t think the late start had an effect on us as a team. We just had some issues with our defense that really didn’t get resolved until the 5th game of the season. We had a few individuals on the team, who played as individuals, where as in 2001-02 we were a close knit team that stuck together and played as a team. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the 2003 team was the better team out of them all when it comes down to talent.

(WC11) Honestly, in terms of numbers, I’ve never seen a running back have this much success vs the ‘Cats. Linfield coaches still hate hearing your name. You put up a lot of yards and a ton of points on just about every team you squared up against but was there any extra joy in having those great performances versus the ‘Cats?

(DM) Putting up points and yards against the ‘Cats was a huge accomplishment for me and the O-line at SOU. Other teams would look at SOU with who we played, and see the numbers we had against Linfield and think, “Wow, they put those numbers up on the Cats?” It’s a great feeling because Linfield’s defense was outstanding. They hit hard, and were very hard to wear down. As you know, my running style is a wear you down style, go hit you in the mouth type. You definitely feel a great deal of accomplishment when you get the numbers that I did vs. Linfield. But when it all comes down to it, SOU only won one of those battles, and I hate to lose. So I never really looked at the numbers until the season was over. I flat out want to win!

(WC11) I’d like to dive in and talk about your NFL experience. After you wrapped up your historic NAIA career you were picked up as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 2004. Can you tell us about the whole experience in signing the deal with the Rams? How much stress was there in the not knowing who was going to sign you and if you were even going to get picked up at all? Can you tell us what it was like to be a part of the Rams?

(DM) Well first, I wasn’t even sure if I would go anywhere, coming from a small school like SOU. The whole experience, having pro scouts at practice and timing you in the spring was amazing. Just knowing that what you did in college attracted NFL attention was overwhelming. On draft day my agent had told me the teams that were seriously interested. He pushed me in the draft, but told me not to get my hopes up to get drafted. Within a few minutes after the last pick in the 7th round, I had an offer from the Rams. I didn’t hesitate, I took it. I now was a part of the St. Louis Rams. It was a great feeling! I felt like I shouldn’t even be there. I was scared. The NFL is the best of the best, and here I am getting a shot to prove myself. I showed up to training camp as a fullback. I have never taken a snap at fullback in my life. Here I am slamming my head into NFL linebackers. What a time to learn how to lead block, huh? I held my own in training camp as the second string fullback. We had a scrimmage one afternoon, number twos vs. number twos. Coach Martz yells “McGrorty! Get in there at tailback”! We were on the 20 coming out. I took 7 carries in a row and was standing in the endzone. That was the day that I knew I could play at that level. Coach Martz came up to me after practice and told me that I was no longer a fullback, he moved me to tailback. Finally, I was back in my comfort zone. Now I was learning tailback and fullback, so I was a multi-position player which was going to help me make that team. I have a short story for you about the NFL stress. The first cuts come around and my name got called, I was headed to the airport going home. Charlie Army, the general manager, calls my cell phone while I was boarding the plane and tells me not to get on the plane. They brought me back just like that. I then played in the last preseason game and got released after and brought back onto the practice squad 24 hours later. What a stressful couple of weeks that was.
(WC11) So you’re on the practice squad with the Rams but are activated for an October game vs the Miami Dolphins and play on special teams. What was it like to suit up on Sunday for an NFL game? Was the feeling beyond anything else you could have dreamed of? Looking back now, just what did that experience mean to you?

(DM) I was standing back at practice watching the starters run through plays, and Coach Martz yelled to Wilbert Montgomery (the running backs coach) “Get Dusty some reps this week, were bringing him up”. Martz them walked over and pulled me aside, and told me the news. It was the most amazing feeling in the world to hear those words, just knowing that there has never been a SOU Raider to suit up on Sunday. As far as the game on Sunday goes, you can only imagine running out onto a field with 60 thousands fans screaming and yelling. Just multiply the college feeling before a game by 10 and that’s what its like. It’s a feeling that’s almost indescribable. I really wish every football player could do that one time in their life. The whole experience was great. I met lots of people. I’ve been to lots of cities. For me, just knowing that I can play at that level was a great feeling. That did everything for me. It’s all about timing though. You have to be in the right place at the right time to stay in that business. I truly believe if I had not torn my MCL, I would still be in St. Louis or somewhere else. I missed a great deal of training camp that next season, and that’s when you make the team. I just never got in the preseason game films. That’s what the other teams want to see.

(WC11) My last question has to be if you are still close with the SOU program? I know that Coach Olson has moved on and the program is going through a transition period but looks to be in good hands. Can you let us know what you think is the future for SOU football?

(DM) I kept in touch with everyone at SOU until Jeff Olson left. I was a little upset on how the new staff handled their situation. I’m not going to get into that, but it’s almost like the new staff wanted to erase the history and what Coach Jeff Olson did to that program. I truly believe that Jeff built that program. He hasn’t received the credit that he deserves. I still keep in touch with Jeff and most of all the coaches that were there while I was. As far as the future of SOU, I really hope they get back on their feet. But the Olson era is going to be a hard program to live up too!

(WC11) Thank you Dusty for taking the time to talk to us here at the ADvantage Catdome. It was truly an honor to speak with a player that still commands major respect around the Northwest.

(DM) Thanks for the questions. I always enjoyed playing Linfield and will always have the utmost respect for that program. I really enjoyed these questions, and definitely enjoyed playing in McMinnville.

Red & Purple Interview: Linfield's Kelley Bertrand
Red & Purple Interview: Central's Reid Evans
Red & Purple Interview: Linfield's Kelly Bird

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The wrong kind of perfect.

Sorry we’ve missed our weekly wrap on the Indoor/Europe leagues, as some of our favorite ‘Cats battle on. Works has been busy and I need to pay the mortgage on time. However, let’s catch up with our boys and see what is going on.

TFJ is only one man.

Former Linfield All-NWC Running Back, Thomas Ford Jr. (2004) is doing everything he can to help keep his Alaska Wild from having the wrong kind of perfect season. As of right now, the Intense Football League’s Wild are 0-8 in their inaugural season and TFJ isn’t too thrilled about it. He recently was featured in the Anchorage Daily News and while being the man is great, but being the man on a 0-8 team isn’t as great.

"It's hard for me to talk about me individually just because we're not winning," Ford told the Anchorage Daily News. "But it kind of is (a breakout season) for me."

TFJ leads the Wild in just about every receiving category (447 yds, 6 td’s) and also has three rushing TD’s to his credit.

The most recent trip up was a loss last Thursday (June 7th) at home vs. Corpus Christi 62-32. The Wild are back on the road the next two weeks vs. the Odessa Roughnecks on the 16th and in San Angelo on the 23rd. Please send TFJ a little karma because a person of TFJ’s caliber should not have to suffer like this.

Our Burn is looking to push the pilot light.

The season started out great for our AF2 Boise Burn as they jumped out to a 4-1 record. But a hard 52-32 loss to cellar dweller Everett had to be a hard one to take. As of right now, Boise is 4-5 and looking up at 5 teams in their division with 7 weeks left. The Burn really needs to kick it high gear if they want to sneak into the playoffs.

Former Linfield All-American’s Brandon Hazenberg and Casey Allen have been stellar for the Burn this season but an inconsistent offense has been a killer over the 4 game skid. Allen is by far the Burn’s greatest offensive asset as The Beast has racked up 19 TD catches on the year to go along with his team leading 632 yards. Haze has been his typical jack of all trades in filling the defensive stat sheet from his safety spot with 23.5 tackles on the year, 7 pass break ups, 2 picks, and 2 fumble recoveries. Haze has also pulled double duty with 4 catches on the year.

If the Burn is going to turn it around it’s going to have to start this Saturday vs. the 8-1 Rio Grand Valley Dorados at Boise’s Qwest Arena.

The Butcher's Europe shop is about closed.

Former 2x 1st team All-American Linfield Quarterback, Brett Elliott is probably itching to get back to San Diego for Training Camp. The 4-5 Rhein Fire of the NFL Europa league wraps up this Saturday but don’t expect Elliott to take a big part. The Fire staff has put the Cowboy behind center 100% of the snaps the past two games leaving BE out of the rotation. Part of me doesn’t blame the Fire staff because that is one of the worse offensive lines I’ve ever seen and Pickett is much more mobile that BE.

However, I don’t think all is lost for Elliott. When he was provided the chance and the protection he looked good to great for the Fire. The problem was the rest of the time Brett was getting slapped around more than Tina Turner by Ike.

I think this fall camp with San Diego is going to be make or break Brett’s NFL career. With Rivers getting a great year under his belt SD will not want to put him in harms way during the pre-season so I think BE will get the chance to show if he has the chops to stick in the league. We’ll keep an eye on him in the upcoming months.

Former Cat likes the indoors

Former Linfield Wildcat standout and three time 1st team NWC defensive tackle (2000-2002 ) Ricky Gaspar has been just up the road from the Catdome playing for the AF2's Everett Hawks for the past six weeks and this Linfield blogger didn't even know. Missing a man of Ricky's stature (6'3", 315 lbs) is pretty hard to do but Ricky is fast on his feet for a big man and has enjoyed getting back to the field.

Big 57 have had two stays with the Arizona Rattlers but were spending the first part of the indoor season looking for a new team to hook up with. After weighing his options Rick signed with Everett and has been starting on the offensive line ever since.

After the victory over our Boise Burn, Rick was sure to drop me a message to remind me that his crew deserved some love for the Linfield v Linfield battle and is very excited about the upcoming Linfield season. So officially ADvanatge Catdome has two AF2 teams we've adopted....Our Boise Burn and Our Everett Hawks.

Alumni Game Announcement next week.

The 3rd annual Alumni/JV game is about locked up for 2007. Be sure to check in with us next week as we give you the time and date. If you’re going to play be sure to put down the donuts and beer and back away from the table for the next 3 ½ months. Let’s see if Wildcat11 can drop about 15 lbs in the next three months. Maybe I should have a weekly Wildcat11 weigh in?

The games have been great and I hope we can continue the fun. This is actually our 4th Alumni/JV game as we pulled double duty in 2005 with Lewis and Clark pulling a program hammy and dropping their NWC opponents on the year. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

High School Football Camp starts this Sunday

One of my favorite parts of the early summer is the annual Linfield football camp. High School teams from all over the Pacific Northwest and some from California make their way to the Linfield gridiron for great technical instruction from one of the best small college football staffs in the country.

The camp is structured to allow teams plenty of time to work on their offensive and defensive schemes but there is a heavy dose of position work each day where the Linfield led camp staff breaks football down to the core fundamentals. However, the goods are in the evening sessions where the kids get to strap on the lids and have controlled scrimmages.

Over the years the camp has become so popular that they’ve divided up the sessions into two groups and even then the camp is jammed pack with HS’ers. The first sessions doesn’t start until Sunday but the real action of the camp will really kick off on Monday evening.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Langsdorf gives more than a little

Fomer All-American Linfield Quarterback Danny Langsdorf (1994-1995) now the current Offensive Coordinator at Oregon State might have just saved a life this week. Danny donated one of his kidney to the wife of his offenisve line coach, Mike Cavanugh at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital this past Tuesday (May 29th).

Mrs. Cavanugh has been a suffer of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease which has caused her kidneys to swell to twice their normal size. Danny was one of 18 people that were tested to see if they were a match and sure enough Danny was a match.

“When you work as closely as a coaching staff does, you develop some really deep and solid friendships -- I guess you could say this is the ultimate in friendship,” husband Mike Cavanaugh said.

For me this story really hits home. During 1994, my freshman year at Linfield, Danny had just transfered from Boise State to compete for the starting quarterback job. Back in those days I was still posing as a quarterback and had the pleasure of spending my first two years as a 'Cat observing and learning from Danny. There was never a doubt that Danny was going to be a success in the coaching ranks. He has an uncanny grasp for the offensive game and is a hell of a competitor. However, all of the success Danny has had on the field as a player and coach can't hold a candle to the gift of life Danny has provided to someone he's just known for three years.

An incredible story about an incredible former Wildcat football player.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Double Duty

When it comes to Linfield head coaches that have delivered National Titles (7 in total) only three coaches have their names attached. For Jackson Vaughan, a 1997 Linfield Grad, he just led his squad to a season for the ages in helping Linfield win our first women’s team National Title.

However as many Linfield faithful know this isn’t the first Linfield team title that Jackson has been involved with. Jackson was the D-Line coach and defensive run coordinator of Linfield’s 2004 National Football Championship squad. Most recently Jackson was elevated to the defensive coordinator roll in 2006 and this upcoming season he will be the guy calling the defensive plays for the ‘Cats.

Jackson’s hometown newspaper, The Baker City Herald, just ran an interview of his double duty and how he was able to build a power out of his softball program. Here are a couple of quotes from the article:

Of his 2007 softball squad: "We had pretty high goals," Vaughan said. "We finished fourth in the nation last year. We were pretty beat up with some people injured, and we were in kind of a ‘just happy to be there' mode.

"But with all the kids we had coming back we had high goals this year," the native of Hereford said. "We tried not to get caught up in the idea of a national title early in the season though. We really preached the one pitch, one game mentality."

In dealing with players: "From coaching football I had learned a lot of the coaching things. I had to learn the little things that make you successful.

"Dealing with players is kind of universal even though there's some difference between dealing with boys and girls. But, if you can motivate kids you can be successful."
You can read the whole article here: Baker City Herald