Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend AD-genda

It’s Friday and it can’t be here soon enough. It’s a three day weekend and that leads to some Football/Linfield related plans for the weekend. Saturday is really the big day as I’ll be attending the Linfield scrimmage in the morning, working on some video projects during the afternoon, and attending the WOU beat down of Willamette that night with Mrs. Wildcat11.

Linfield Scrimmage:

This will be the first time I’ll have a chance to watch the 2007 Wildcats in action. I’ve been getting some nuggets of info over the past few weeks but I’m really looking forward to seeing what this group will have to offer the Catdome fans during 2007. I’ll bring back a report of the action on Sunday.

Video Projects:

Not that you all care but I have a few little side projects that I’m looking forward to wrapping up. Kelly Bird has been working triple time to bring some new elements to the game day experience and I hope my small contribution will be a hit.


I think Willamette will be slightly improved from the 2006 season but I don’t see how they can stand up to WOU. Western’s program is finding a nice groove in the talent they bring in and will be very physical. I did read this article in the Oregonian about WOU and they are very confident about their team.

That is fine because they’re going to be very good but someone should send a copy of the NCAA Division II playoff criteria (page 12 of manual) to their starting QB. While the Wolves are going to be tough they were pretty much eliminated last winter from the 2007 playoffs due to their schedule. Win or lose, the three games vs. sub-DII schools (Willamette, Linfield, and SOU) realistically kill any playoff hopes WOU may have for this season. They will play 7 DII or above games (the minimum to even be considered for playoffs is 6) but every other DII school that will be a playoff contender is playing 9, 10, or 11 DII games. I’m curious to see if WOU will drop any of the three sub D-II’s next season.

Kelley Bertrand is the MAN!

Be sure to read this article on former Linfield standout Kelley Bertrand. Kelley is currently a police officer in Tualatin and running down bad guys like he used to do to NWC quarterbacks.

In fact here is the mug shot of a car theif that Kelley recently wrapped up. With that hair the guy kind of looks like he should be on the Whitworth Roster.

I ran a Red and Purple Interview a few months ago with Kelley and that is a great reflection about his 2004 story. Be sure to check that out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rating The NWC Websites

If you’re as big of small college football geek as I am then you do spend time surfing the websites of the Northwest Conference teams looking for nuggets of information to get you through your week.

I tend to be big on these sites being a vehicle or window into an athletic program. The world is a different place than 10 years ago in how we gather information, especially high school kids (a.k.a. recruits). Kids are all about social websites, ipods, text messaging, etc. A potential recruit is going to be more apt to go to a school's web site to see what a program may have to offer. That is why I believe it’s vital to have a site that not only looks good but offer great content.

So instead of ranking programs, stadiums, quarterbacks….I’m going to give you a ranking of athletic/football websites of the Northwest Conference. Get your mouse warmed up and get ready for me to possibly offend some SID’s.

1. Linfield
Yes, I’m going to rank this site number 1 and it’s for good reason. The site has been the leader in the conference for web design and content for years and it’s still leading the pack.
Pros: Great Photos in just about every release, nobody produces better game previews or recaps in the conference, informative player profiles, player interviews during the season, incredibly deep record book, always up-to-date with scores and news, very professional.
Cons: People probably want video content but that’s what is for!

2. Willamette
A year ago Willamette’s football page would have been towards the bottom of this list but a major overhaul has this site challenging Linfield’s top cat status. This attractive site has some nice features and is easy to navigate. The site has been producing a ton of articles but we’ll see if they can keep up the pace.
Pros: Like the design layout, good use of new technology (mp3 interviews, flash videos), has been producing up to date information.
Cons: Some of the links don’t work, I like they have a few videos but they’re below average in terms of their quality, no real record book, average player profiles, and I have a feeling there is too much on the plate and the site will suffer down the road due to not being able to keep up.

3. PLU
The site is not very easy on the eyes but the strength of content help the ‘Lute site take the 3rd spot. The news releases and depth of content rival Linfield but the dated look of the site really holds it back.
Pros: Great written content, solid record book, cool fact sheet and all-american page, nice athlete spotlight interview, very informative game previews.
Cons: The site needs a refreshed look to bring it to 2007 and needs to incorporate more action photos into their releases.

4. Whitworth
I hate ranking Whitworth down this far because their SID pulls double duty in running the outstanding so it’s a little unfair. The game releases and previews are very well crafted and this site is always up-to-date but there is just not enough information (record book, archives, etc) to push the site up the rankings.
Pros: Love the audio/video highlight section, well written articles, up-to-date, great job in highlighting the facility
Cons: Not enough extra content and feel the site could be fleshed out in terms of look.

5. Menlo
The distance between the top four and bottom three is great. The Menlo site does offer up some current information but the site’s look is stuck in 1999. Shouldn’t a college located in the heart of the high tech world have a website that offers more?
Pros: Offers a pdf download of their Media Guide, good little sports quarterly feature
Cons: I just can’t get over the look, have player profiles but they are lacking any information you couldn’t find on the roster, could use more in-depth writing.

6. Lewis and Clark
This site did have some cool historical information but that is gone and that hurts this site. The site is not really eye catching and the writing has been sub par. It appears along with the football program the SID department is putting some renewed enthusiasm into the site but we’ll see if that stands up.
Pros: Cool virtual tour of Griswold Stadium, site is putting up better information about the team
Cons: No Roster? Total lack of historical information, plain looking site, needs better writing, just not offering very much at all.

7. UPS
I don’t even know how to describe this ugly thing. It’s just bad and well deserving of being at the bottom of this list. I don’t know if there is any redeeming quality.
Pros: They have a record book.
Cons: Lack of Photos, lack of information, terrible looking, just a void of a web site.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Will large school boom effect the 'Catome?

I found this article on Aug 15th in the Oregonian (Season-ticket sales surging for UO, OSU, PSU football) about the explosion of ticket sales for not only Oregon and Oregon State but also in Portland State football game this year.

According to the article the schools have combined to sale 70,000 season tickets for the 2007 season and a question popped up in my mind: Will this boom hurt the number of fans that go to Linfield games this year?

During 2006 Linfield had an average of over 2,881 fans at home games which was a large drop from the 4,417 fans that overfilled the ‘Catdome during 2005. A few things contributed to this including Linfield being ranked #1 all of 2005 and some home playoff games that brought in big gates. Then you add hosting Menlo (which just kills the avg), terrible weather for Whitworth, and we had a big drop in the numbers for 2006. The night games did not have the desired effect in increasing attendance as the Willamette day game was the biggest attended game for 2006 (3,926) but the night games still drew solid crowds.

There are other factors in why people come to the our games (the weather, the match-up, the quality of the team, etc) but make no mistake that what the large schools do have an impact on the ‘Catdome turnout.

Linfield is always going to have its hard core base of fans that would rather be at the ‘Catdome on Saturday than go to a SuperBowl but after comparing schedules I’m curious if there is an impact at all. Here is Linfield’s home schedule below and who of the large schools will be at home during the same dates.

Home Games:

Sep 15th (HSU)- Portland State, Oregon State, Oregon
Sep 6th (UPS)-Portland State, Oregon State
OCT 20th (PLU)-None
NOV 10th (L&C)-Portland State, Oregon State

So besides the PLU game, the ‘Cats will be competing with the Beavers and Viks all season long. I have no way of measuring this and does it really matter in the grand scheme of the 2007 season? No it doesn't, but I think we all can agree that a ‘Catdome busting at the seams is better than a ‘Catdome filled to the rafters.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back in the Saddle!

I apologize for the delay in entering a blog but it’s been a hectic summer. Mrs.11 and I have been working on the home improvement front and work has chewed up most of my free time. Couple that with my laptop’s hard drive crashing and it’s been a long few weeks for

However we just wrapped up our 2007 video season with the release of our defensive preview and I have to say that it turned out aces! I would have like to highlight a few more players and some of the LB’s that should be getting a bulk of reps this year but I just didn’t have the footage to do them justice.

So the rest for the rest of the year will be blogging on the 2007 season and I’m excited to cover the ‘Cats. There’s no need to get into game previews because Kelly Bird is one of the best in the business but we’ll still fire off on our thoughts about upcoming games and how the previous week went down. I hope to get a few of the contributors (Downtown, Beancounter, Mrs. 11, etc) back on board to add some much needed spice.

Open for Business

Linfield opened up camp this past Thursday night and I had the chance to stop by a few times during the weekend and I’m really excited to get this season going. Of course we have some questions to answer but we have great senior leadership and skill players to make it happen.

There are some new additions to the staff this year and they are fantastic. Gary Thorson is back with the ‘Cats and will be heading up the Defensive Line as Defensive Coordinator Jackson Vaughan moves to coach the LBs. Coach Thorson left his post has the head coach of Dallas High this past season and is a big score for the Linfield staff. This will actually be Coach Thorson’s 4th year on the staff as he coached 3 years at Linfield back in the early 90’s. 2006 graduate Nic Soo will be helping Coach Thorson out. Nic is a very bright young person and should help bridge the transition for Coach Thorson.

Also, on staff this season will be former All-NWC running back, Thomas Ford. This is another high character coach that Coach Joe Smith brought back to the program. T. Ford will be working with Clyde Powell in overseeing the running backs. I listened in as Thomas addressed the running back’s last Thursday night and any Wildcat fan would have loved it. Thomas is a born coach.

Who’s ready for some football?