Friday, December 26, 2008

Wildcat11 Recommended Movie: "King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters"



With the Northern Willamette Valley and the Portland Metro area being covered in a brutal snow storm the past few weeks it has kept most residents of the area indoors and that means A LOT of movie watching the past few weeks. We've watched some solid mainstream hits like Iron Man, to some bland comedies like Get Smart. However, Mrs. 11 and I found a real gem this past week that is a MUST watch for any movie buff.

"King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" is a documentary that was released by Picturehouse in early 2007. The story is centered around the classic arcade gaming world and the most difficult classic game, Donkey Kong. Back in the early 1980's a teenager named Billy Mitchell shattered the previous Donkey Kong high score on record and nobody has come close since. Mitchell is a character that even Hollywood could not have conceived. 20 years since his Donkey Kong record performance and he's still the top dog of this geek filled community and by the level of Mitchell's cockiness you would think he is on the level of a movie star.

But Mitchell's record and status gets threatened when a laid-off Boeing worker named Steve Wiebe starts making Kong sized waves in the gaming community. Steve Wiebe is about as likable of a guy you could ever meet. He's a father of two and trying to transition into a science teaching career. He's a talented guy but has never really carved an identity for himself or really been someone who's "made it". Steve's life has been filled with 2nd place finishes and has seemingly has never been able to measure up.

At first I thought there was no way I would be into this film but within the first 5 minutes I was sucked into the trials and tribulations of Steve's journey to respectability and overcoming Billy's constant roadblocks and passive aggressive moves to sidetrack Steve's advances on an "unbreakable" record. Besides Steve and Billy, the film is chalk full of almost unreal charters that worship Billy and support Steve.

Do yourself a favor and swing by your local video store and pick up a copy of King Of Kong. It's a underdog story in a weird and sort of pathetic world of classic arcade gaming.

Also, if you're looking for another off the beaten path flick check out Rocket Science. Nothing like a kid with a stuttering problem trying to make his high school debate team.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

‘Cats and Oxy will throw down in 2009

Huge news came out of the Linfield camp yesterday as the ‘Cats and defending SCIAC champion, Occidental, have agreed to a 1-year deal for the 2009 season. The game will be played at Oxy on September 19th. As a result, Linfield and Western Oregon have parted ways and will not be playing next season or anytime in the foreseeable future. That means that Linfield will have 8 Division III games in 2009 (Southern Oregon will remain the only non-DIII game for a total of 9 regular season games).

While this is great news for Linfield and its fan base, it also means a brutal travel schedule for the ‘Cats next season. The ‘Cats will open the year at home on September 12th vs Hardin-Simmons, and then have a brutal one-month stretch were the ‘Cats will be at Occidental, at Southern Oregon, at Menlo, and then wrap the extended roadie at Whitworth.

So the ‘Cats open up with two teams coming off playoff qualifying seasons (where they both dropped close games), an NAIA team that have battled the ‘Cats tooth and nail the past three years, visit an improving Menlo program, and then at Whitworth. That’s a hell of a way to start the season and if the ‘Cats want to get back to the playoffs, then Linfield is going to earn it.

Overall, I love this move and I’m excited we are moving closer to a pure DIII schedule. If the ‘Cats can start the season by overcoming two talented teams in HSU and Oxy then that will be a great boost in building a case for a post season bid. Of course, the ‘Cats will want to leave no doubt and capture the NWC crown but these non-conference games will be marquee match-ups in the Division III landscape.

I have to applaud the great work that AD Carnahan and Coach Joe Smith have put in with regards to getting this done and for the changes coming in 2010-2011.
2009 is shaping up to be another challenging but exciting season.

-Wildcat11

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scott Birkhofer named to AFCA All-American Team!

Linfield Sports is reporting that Linfield Senior Scott Birkhofer was named to the AFCA All-American team as a place kicker. What an incredible honor for Birkhofer and it is well deserved. Scott is the only NWC player on the team and the kicker is Linfield's 40th overall 1st team All-American football player (115th overall All-American honor (1st, 2nd, 3rd team, and Honorable Mention)).

As reported by Linfield Sports, Scott had the longest two kicks in Divison III this season (56 and 54 yards) and holds the longest 5 kicks in Linfield history. Congratulations to Scott and we will miss you next season!

-11

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Highlight DVD is officially in the books!

The main cog of Catdomealumni.com is the game highlight videos and I’m thankful to say the complete 2008 Highlight DVD is officially finished! I tell Mrs. 11 whenever a new highlight DVD is finished that “I think this might be my best yet” but really….I think the 2008 Highlight DVD might be my best work yet.

The team banquet was a few weeks ago and I pushed in wrapping up the main highlight reel (all the game clips and senior salute) but there was still work to do after the fact. There were some minor tweaks I made to the highlight DVD that 99% of folks wouldn’t notice but I wouldn’t feel right without fixing them.

***Video Nerd Alert*** I kept the format pretty much the same of past years (because it works) but instead of using Adobe Premiere Pro to capture, compose, and edit the highlight clips I moved the whole process to Adobe After Effects and that created a whole list of different issues. However, I made the move because of the power and flexibility of After Effects. It did take much longer to render the finish product and to cut each game but I think it gave the clips a higher quality finish. ***End of Video Nerd Alert***

I really don’t want to bore you with all the painful details of putting a football highlight DVD together but here is a little dirt; I work on each game after it’s played and try to have it close to finished before the following week. It’s a tedious and long process and it can’t be done with out someone like Mrs. 11 having my back and giving me great feedback on music, edits, clips, etc. She would be my executive producer and has always been supportive of these projects. The football part is pretty easy but the hardest part is the music. I’m 32 going on 33 and my first instinct is to reach for the AC/DC and Guns N Roses but I want the DVD to reflect 2008 and so I spend drives to work with my Sirius Radio tuned to channel 28 “Faction” and 20 “Octane” in hopes that my ear will pick out music that works and I’ll ask for input from some of the players. The end result is a good mix of hard rock, hip hop, top 40, and movie scores.

For the players, they’re getting close to 1 ½ hours of original clips that go beyond just the season highlights. Here is what will make up the 2008 Highlight DVD:

-2008 Season Highlights

-2008 Senior Salute

-Coaches Salute

-2008 Scoreboard Team Intro Video

-2008 Gameday

-2008 Bloopers

-Linfield Trivia (as shown during season on video board)

-Senior Moments (as shown during season on video board)

For the rest of you, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to wait till March before I start rolling out the clips on Catdomealumni.com but it will be worth the wait to have entertainment during the dreaded off season.

I’d also like to thank Brad Hazenberg who shot the opposite sideline during every home game, Kelly Bird for providing great still photos, David Cunningham and his student workers for all their great work in shooting the home games, Linfield Linebacker Calvin Park who was injured during the UPS game and stepped up and shot that game for an absent WC11 (great work!), Coach Hire for all the help with tapes and equipment, and of course Mrs. 11 for being the brains of the operation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 'Cats land on D3.com All-Region Team but was Taylor Summers robbed?

The Division III football bible, D3football.com, posted up their annual all-region teams yesterday and three Wildcats were honored in being named to the West Region team. It’s a great honor and something the players should be very proud of and the fans should recognize as well.

Senior Scott Birkhofer was named to the 1st team West Region as a place kicker. This is huge considering the kicker he beat out (Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Jeff Schebler) was the returning 1st team All-American and holds the division’s career record for most field goals converted. In the end, Scott’s tremendous distance in his kicks of 52, 54, and 56 yards on the year put him over the top. Scott also avg 63.6 yards in kickoffs with 9 touchbacks. No doubt the ‘Cats are going to miss Scott next season and is the best kicker in school history.

Senior Offensive Tackle, Jared Hinkle, was named to the regions 3rd team. Hinkle was a dominate force in the NWC for the past few seasons. I have to figure identifying offensive linemen is tough because there is no direct published stats attached to offensive linemen but coaches in the conference, coaches in the Wildcat program, and his fellow players all knew that #55 wasn’t giving up sacks and was constantly moving bodies off the line. Just a great talent that is as respected of a player that you will find.

Now here is where I had an initial gripe with the all-region teams. Taylor Summers being named to the 3rd team as a defensive end. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes. Summers had just as dominate of a season of Wildcat greats of recent memory (Lions, Rix, Ort, Olsen, etc). Teams feared him, sent extra bodies at him, and at times it seemed that #92 couldn’t be blocked on passing downs. Taylor was a force and I have to say that my initial reaction was that I was ticked.

However, instead of just bitching on d3boards.com, like so many posters who feel their player/coach, were robbed of an honor, I sat down and tried to look at this as objective as possible. In the west region alone there are seven conferences and 59 teams in the entire west region so it’s pretty much impossible for the D3.com people to see all of these teams play and really see just how a defensive end could impact the game plan of another team.

This is a very tough duty and I know the reputation of the conference and teams do carry weight, as well as the overall record of the teams in question. So when all things are equal I believe it gets down to the stat sheet and where you measure up. So, I took a look at the stats for the 4 defensive ends in front of Taylor and my initial anger was settled down….for the most part.

Taylor had a great stat line in 2008. In 9 games Summers had 36 tackles (20 solo), 16.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 quarterback hurries.

1st team Marcus Ball from UW-Stout had 68 total tackles (43 solo), 24.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, quarterback hurries were not listed. Ball did this in ten games. That’s a hell of a stat line and Ball did do this in the WIAC so I sure that carries some extra weight.

The other 1st teamer was Brock Arndt from Redlands and in 9 games put up 57 tackles (27 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 15 quarter back hurries. Again, that’s a really impressive stat line.

When you compare Taylor’s line with Ball and Arndt you can see why they were pick in front of Taylor. Even though Ball played in one more game the area that I think probably landed them their 1st team spots were solo and total tackles. I really don’t have room to argue this point and will concede that those two are very deserving of the 1st team honor.

However, I think where I might have more footing in my argument is the 2nd team selection of Aaron Mills from Bethel (MIAC). Mills had a great season but I don’t think his stat line is more impressive that Taylor’s. In 10 games Mills had 48 tackles (35 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, and 0 quarterback hurries.

The other 2nd team pick was Jacob Calderon from Cal Lutheran. Calderon’s line in 9 games is 67 tackles (39 solo), 19.0 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 quarterback hurries.

Calderon did have a significant number of solo tackles but Summers did have 6 more hurries that Calderon. On the surface, it appears that both Summers and Calderon had really similar season but both look like they had better lines that Aaron Mills, in my opinion. Yes, Mills did have more tackles that Summers but Summers played in one less game had had more TFL’s, sacks, forced fumbles, and crushes Mills in the hurry category. Shouldn’t sacks, TFL’s, hurries carry more weight that just tackles? Um…yes.

Ultimately, what I think held back Summers a bit beside the total tackles numbers is the fact the NWC coaches put the dreaded “CO-“ defensive player of the year tag on Taylor. I’ve stated this before but Summers was hands down the best defensive player in the conference and it wasn’t even close. However, the coaches traditionally like to give the conference winner the spoils and they split the award to Willamette linebacker Tommy Grove.

Well, D3football.com was live and in-person at the UWW/Willamette game and needless to say the NWC Co-Defensive player of the year got ran on for 254 yards by the Hawks 2nd string RB who was starting his 1st game of his career. I can see how D3.com might have thought, “if this is the co-best defensive player of the year then I’m not sure if the other guys the coaches picked is on that 1st team level?” You think that line of thinking is crazy? Well, where is Tommy Grove on the all-region defense team? He’s not, but his teammate and the other linebacker "non co-defensive player of the year" Jack Bevins is. I rest my case on that line of thinking.

Regardless, I have great respect for D3football.com and the way they pick their teams. They don’t put 15 running backs on the 1st team, no, they make the hard choice and say “here are the players who we deem the best” and go with it. Congratulations to all the players who made all-region. It’s a great honor and you all should be very proud of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Linfield's Brett Elliott Feature on Fox News

Linfield’s Brett Elliott was featured on Portland’s Fox 12 last night (Thanks for the head’s up Kelly Bird). The story catches up with the former all everything Quarterback as Brett spent this past season on the Linfield sideline as the ‘Cats quarterback coach. It’s a nice 3 minute feature and you can view it here on the Fox Video page.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008 Team Banquet and Awards Recap

Wildcat11 was in attendance at the Linfield Football annual team awards banquet. Traditionally, the team plays the highlight DVD during dinner so I was there to deliver the goods (highlight DVD) to Coach Smith and get to check out the DVD in it’s entirety. I think it turned out pretty darn good and will be entertaining you all during next spring.

The banquet was held at Michelbook Country Club in McMinnville and was a nice way for the ‘Cats to cap off the 2008 season. Granted, the players and coaches would rather have still been practicing and getting ready for the 1st round of the NCAA’s but it wasn’t in the cards this season.

The staff handed out letters earned, the team awards (which are listed below) and then each senior gets the proper sendoff by their position coach and take home their well worn helmet. It’s always an emotional night for the seniors as the banquet is the final official act as a Linfield football player but the 2008 seniors should be proud of the template they left behind. This group of seniors was outstanding leaders off and on the field and showed their true character after a bitter loss during conference play. I’ve mentioned it before but the seniors rallied the team and finished their season strong and on a total upswing. People of lesser character wouldn’t have responded like that and it speaks to the success that this group of players will have once they leave Linfield and start their post-college lives.

Congratulations ‘Cats and I was very honored to have been a small part of this group. Outstanding players and people and they saw this whole thing through from start to finish.

2008 Team Awards (All awards are voted on by the players on the team (except for the "John LaRosa Dedicated To Excellence award which is selected by the coaching staff):

Best Defensive Scout Player- Brett McKechnie (Soph, DB)

Best Offensive Scout Player- Jon Montalvo (Sr, RB)

Most Improved- Ryan Henderson (So, WR)

Rookie of the Year- Drew Fisher (Fr, Safety)

Best Defensive Lineman- Taylor Summers (Sr, DE)

Best Offensive Lineman- Jared Hinkle (Sr, OT)

Best Defensive Back- Tyler McCann (Sr, Safety)

Co-Best Pass Receiver- John Torsey (Sr) & Travis Masters (Sr)

Best Special Teams Player- Scott Birkhofer (Sr, Place Kicker)

Best Defensive Player- Taylor Summers (Sr, DE)

Co-Best Offensive Player- Travis Masters (Sr, WR) & Reggie Ford (Sr, RB)

Defensive Captain- Alex Tkachuk (Jr, LB)

Offensive Captain- Jared Hinkle (Sr, OT)

John LaRosa- Dedication to Excellence Award- Brent Desmond (Sr, OT)

Most Inspirational- Reggie Ford (Sr, RB)

Linfield "L" Award - Morgan Kocher (Sr, OL)

"Willis Baker" Team Most Valuable Player - Taylor Summers (Sr, DE)

NWC hands out honors and almost get it totaly right!

My biggest beef with the NWC all-conference team over the past years is that waaaaay too many guys get selected on the 1st teams and it’s really diluted the honor to many over the years and personally I think it has hurt the conference in terms of using this NWC team as guide for outside SIDs/Media in selecting All-Americans in the world of Division III. However, it seems that the coaches made an effort to not open the flood gates and did a much more respectful job in handing out the honors.

Linfield landed 15 members to the NWC team with 7 ‘Cats being honored as 1st team selections. Leading the pack was Linfield senior Defensive End Taylor Summers as Taylor was named Co-Defensive player of the year with Willamette linebacker Tommy Grove (Sr.). Now I do have a slight bone to pick with the ‘Co-“ honors the coaches handed out.

First, Summers was hands down the best defensive player in the conference and it wasn’t even close. Sorry but it’s the truth. Also, Whitworth’s Adam Anderson blew EVERYONE away in the conference with his total year stats at running back but he also shared the conference’s offensive player of the year honor with Willamette flanker Merben Woo.

Now, I get what the coaches are saying. Anderson and Summers were the biggest standouts on each side of the ball but Willamette was the conference champion and should get the spoils of title. You can make and argument for the approach the coaches took but if we’re going to truly determine who’s the single best player on each side of the ball, I don’t think you can say Woo and Grove were better and Whitworth’s Anderson and our Taylor Summers body of work. I know what you're thinking, "Wildcat11 you're a Linfield mark so of course you're going to take this stance". I can see why you might think that but that's really not how I feel. If the 'Cats won the conference title I would still want to coaches to give the award to the single player that deserves it. Bottom line. Anyways, congratulations to all four of those players on their great year and honor.

Other ‘Cats who made repeat visits as 1st teammers are Travis Masters (Sr, WR), Jared Hinkle (Sr, OT), and Scott Birkhofer (Sr, Kicker). Making their first appearances as 1st team performers were Aaron Heston (Jr, OL), and linebacker Alex Tkachuk (Jr, LB).

Four ‘Cats landed on the conference 2nd team and they were Reggie Ford (Sr, RB), John Torsey (Sr, WR), Paul Nishizaki (Soph, DT), and Jaymin Jackson (Jr, LB). Receiving Honorable Mentions were Brent Desmond (Sr, OT), Jason Bolin (Sr. OG), Dean Kongsile (Sr, Rover), Tyler McCann (Sr, Safety), and Scott Olsen (Sr, DT).

Besides the “Co” POY argument I really think the coaches did a fine job in bring back the prestige in the Conference award and should be commended for making hard decisions in distinguishing the best of the conference’s best.

2008 NWC ALL-Conference awards

Cats Win! Linfield doughnut the Lutes Again.

Sorry that this is about a full week late but Wildcat11 has been hit by the cold bug that’s been wildfiring around the Pacific Northwest and I’ve been on a mad dash to wrap up the 2008 Linfield Highlight DVD for the team banquet that was held this past Thursday night. However a shut out over the Wildcat’s long time rival deserves a recap.

The Good

-Finishing Strong. All phases of the game were clicking last Saturday and that is a direct result of the Senior leadership on this year’s team. After the ‘Cats playoff hopes were dashed it would have been very easy for any team to lay down for the rest of the season and after a hang over game up at UPS the ‘Cats snapped out of their funk and put out two fine efforts to finish out the year.

-Travis Masters. If you are a senior that is the way that you want to go out. The 1st team all-NWC receiver was masterful (excuse the pun) on the day in rushing for 135 yards, receiving for 79 yards, and racking up another 59 yards on one kick off return and scoring two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). Doing the quick math that is a total day of 273 yards of offensive output. Very nice.

-Offensive Line. The big boys once again set the tempo for the ‘Cats offense and helped pile up 494 yards of total offense. The ‘Cats rushed for an avg 7.4 yards, 3 for 3 in red zone chances, and only had to punt 3 times on the day.

-Cole Franklin. Usually when we talk about Cole it’s about his ability to create with his feet but it was Cole’s arm that was the weapon for Linfield. The quarterback was 15-26 for 194 yards and laid out two super impressive touchdown passes. As he matures as a passer it will make his scramble ability that much more of a weapon.

-Total Defense. Just awesome on the day. Linfield shut out PLU for the 2nd consecutive year and just dominated PLU in every single aspect. The ‘Lutes only had 2 net rushing yards on the day and would have been in the negative is not for a scramble on the last PLU possession of the day. Linfield’s young defensive backfield had another impressive performance in corralling a solid PLU receiving corp.

-Defensive Line. 9 Sacks. A major strength of Linfield all season long was the play of the defensive line and on the last game of the season they showcased their talent in just making PLU’s passing game miserable. The 9 sacks were spread out over 6 different defenders and being former Linfield defensive lineman I couldn’t have been happier.

The Bad.

None. 45-0 over the ‘Lutes and there is nothing I can pick on in terms of poor performance.

The Ugly.

I would talk about the old carpet at Sparks Stadium but that was a replaced with a new field turf rug and a new scoreboard. The upgrade was needed and it really gave Sparks a fresh feeling to it. PLU is at a disadvantage in not having a true home stadium and I think PLU knows it and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few years they will be breaking ground on their campus in Parkland.

Great job 'Cats!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Around the CatdomeO'sphere

Time for your weekly lump of news links from around the NWC.

Linfield Linebackers are good people (News-Register)

Bearcats lock up a piece of NWC crown and playoff invitation (Statesman Journal)

Logger fake punt even fakes out their own punter (the News Tribune)

Menlo Twin Tight Ends come to the end of the road (Mercurynews.com)

‘Lutes punter getting his kicks (Tacoma News Tribune)

Rats swamp the Pios (Spokesmanreviews.com)

Bonus Article:
Darwin’s Natural Section at work in LSU/Alabama fan dispute (Alabama.com)

Week 10: NWC Pick ‘Em

Last chance in the old NWC Pick ‘Em contest and WC11 still has a chance to move up to the 3rd spot. It’s been a boat race this year as it feels like I’ve been standing still in 4th place. I did type too soon as my boy Bluenote fell from grace as Monrovia Cat who has been on the cusp was finally able to overtake the Blue one. (You’re still my boy, Blue!)

If you want to check out the NWC pick ‘em thread on D3boards.com you must be a registered member and it only takes a minute to get a profile set up…just ask the Willamette bandwaggon fans. :)

So here’s my last picks of the year.

Kavin Williams featuring the backup group known as the Puget Sound Loggers over Lewis & Clark. The good news for L&C is that they have made some improvement on the field this year and look to get more recruits in. The bad news is that they’re still Lewis and Clark and the NWC is returning a glut of talent next year. Oh, about this weekend’s game…..the Loggers handle the Pios.

Willamette over Menlo. If we kept track of moral victories then the Oaks would have won the conference title this season as they’ve been so close all year long of breaking through. I expect the Oaks to be respectable here but Willamette is playing for being alone on top of the NWC and for playoff home games. Way too much on the line for Speckman’s team to fall down on their face now.

Bonus Game: Saint John’s @ Carleton. This is for all the MIAC and playoff marbles out in the Minnesota conference. Both teams stand 5-2 in conference and 7-2 overall. The winner goes home and drinks PBR all winter long while the other punches their ticket to the dance. While Carleton might be the better team I do think the old man (SJU Coach Gags) will have some adjustments in his back pocket that will see the Johnnies through. SJU escapes with the MIAC title.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Game 9 Preview: Linfield @ Pacific Lutheran

Sparks Stadium up in Puyallup, Washington is Linfield’s final destination this season and it could be a real treat of a game. PLU’s youth is starting to produce while the ‘Cats are looking to cap their season on the right foot after a fine effort last week versus Western Oregon. Look, there is a huge difference between 5-4 and 6-3 for Linfield, the players, and its fans. This is a huge game, in fact, I’m saying this is a must-win for Linfield to close out the season and set the stage for 2009. This is no time for the “what if’s” of 2008 as the ‘Cats just need to work on playing a great Linfield style game.

Know Your Foe

-Lutes. Pretty self explanatory as “Lutes” is short for “Lutherans”. However for those of you that are new to Linfield and NWC football, PLU had a different mascot all the way up to 1970’s. Before the name change, PLU was known as the “Knights”. Crazy huh? Knights just don’t fit at all with the jolly feel good PLU football team. Sort of like before Linfield officially adopted “Wildcats” our athletic teams used “Baptists” as the teams’ nickname.

While the football game is played up at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Washington don’t go looking for the PLU campus near the stadium. The university is actually located 15 minutes West of Sparks in Parkland, Washington. While PLU has a nice little campus, Parkland is a good place to go if you want to get mugged.

Per Wikipedia: As of February 2008, PLU had a student population of 3,443 and approximately 280 full-time faculty. It currently consists of the College of Arts and Sciences (consisting of the Division of Humanities, the Division of Natural Sciences, and the Division of Social Sciences), the School of Arts and Communication, the School of Business, the School of Education and Movement Studies, and the School of Nursing.

Founded in 1890 by Scandinavian immigrants to further Lutheran higher education in the Pacific Northwest, PLU is an institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The school merged with Everett's Columbia College in 1920, became a two-year school, and resumed operations as Pacific Lutheran College. Spokane College merged with Pacific Lutheran College nine years later. PLC resumed awarding four-year degrees in 1939. Pacific Lutheran gained university status in 1960. PLU retains strong ties with its Scandinavian heritage, having been visited multiple times by Norwegian and Swedish monarchs and the Norwegian Parliament.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

-Contain PLU’s Greg Ford. The sophomore has been the NWC’s biggest playmaking and home run threat this season. PLU is going to do their best to try to get Ford the ball in open space so it’s imperative for the ‘Cats to pay special attention to him. If Ford is able to get off then it’s going to be a fight to the end for Linfield.

-Pressure on Michael Bryne. PLU is dead last in the conference with only 43 total rushing yards a game. That’s a crazy stat and should tell you everything you need to know about the ‘Lutes game plan; throw, throw, and throw some more. Linfield has to put a premium on its pressure again this week, but at the same time you have to honor all of the slip/under screens that I’m sure PLU is going to use to try to keep Linfield’s front defenders honest.

-Protect our Quarterbacks. PLU is second in the conference in total sacks with 21 and I’m sure the ‘Lutes are going to be throwing the Kitchen sink at us in passing situations. While the Lutes may not be huge they should be plenty fast and will try to create havoc upfront with their pressure scheme.

-Punish PLU on the Ground. If Linfield is going to control this game then we have to be able to consistently run the ball between the tackles and on the edges. The offense needs to come to play this Saturday because PLU does have a few home run threats.

-A Commitment to Finish Strong. The Linfield Seniors need to take responsibility here and make sure the team’s mind is right and the sole focus on Saturday is going up to Sparks Stadium and playing the ‘Cats best game of the year. It would be easy to slip and phone it in and if Linfield has that approach on Saturday it could wind up being a fatal error. Remember: Start To Finish.

Prediction

-‘Cats by 10. PLU’s offense that hurt them so bad at the beginning of the year has started to come into shape with the development of the PLU wide receiver crop. PLU has nothing to lose and everything to gain this weekend and that makes for a dangerous opponent. However, I believe Linfield will be focused on the task at hand and will be too physical up front defensively to every allow PLU QB Michael Bryne to ever get in a rhythm. I look for Linfield to bang out some long drive and salt this game away in the 2nd half. Let’s finish strong ‘Cats!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game 9: Linfield @ PLU via Google Maps


View Larger Map

The ADvantage has what you need for your game day travel or if you're at home we have the links for you to catch all the action.

Catdomealumni.com has crafted a 2008 game schedule using the power of Google Maps. All you need to do is click on the Wildcat Logo number "8" at midfield and a pop up window will appear that will direct you to all of our cool links. If you don't want to work with that small window just click on the link below the map to go to the large Linfield Schedule map.

The Links that are included are:

-Game Day Weather Report

-Game Previews from Linfield and PLU

-Links to Both Linfield and PLU Audio Broadcasts

-Information on Pacific Lutheran

-Location of the Famous Team Breakfast Stop, The Country Cousin

-Ect.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cats let one slip away

Linfield had their chances but Western Oregon did enough late in the game to pull out the win at the Catdome. The ‘Cats were superior over WOU in just about ever statistic on the day except for the one that mattered the most…the scoreboard. Faithful of the ‘Cats, while disappointed with the loss, had to be a happy with the effort versus a Division II program with all the built-in advantages (scholarships, red-shirting, full contact spring football, cost of tuition, lighter admissions standards, etc). While WOU might have been a bigger physically in a few areas of the game there wasn’t much difference at all in terms of skill, speed, or ability.

The Good:

Defensive Effort: Linfield held the Wolves to their second lowest scoring output of the season (1st- Portland State, I-AA), only allowed 11 first downs, and only gave up 240 total yards on the day. Linfield’s defensive front was outstanding in swarming WOU quarterback, Josh Riddell, all game long. Riddell was held to 5-19 passing and was picked twice. The ‘Cats defensive backs deserve a great deal of praise in limiting a potent group of Western Oregon receivers.

Taylor Summers: The Senior defensive end was a force for the ‘Cats demanding constant double teams and was making or in plays from sideline to sideline. Summers, to me, has played like an All-American this season and it would be a crime if Taylor isn’t the named NWC defensive player of the year and doesn’t garner All-American recognition.

Taylor McCann and Paul Partlow: McCann, a Senior Safety, was critical for the ‘Cats defensive game plan and came up with two clutch interceptions. Partlow, Jr. Linebacker, also was huge for the ‘Cats in leading Linfield with 11 tackles, a sack, and another tackle for loss. The physical nature of the game vs WOU fit Paul’s style perfectly and he shined.

Offensive Line: A traditional strength of Western Oregon is the play of their defensive line, and while the Wolves had their moments, I thought the ‘Cats offensive line was fantastic in providing plenty of time in the passing game and did a good job in moving wolves around throughout the game.

Cole Franklin: Cole and the Catdome just agree with each other. The Sophomore signal caller had a fine game behind center with netting 85 yards rushing and was 19-24 throwing the ball.

The Bad:

Missed Red Zone opportunities: In a tight game every red-zone opportunity is huge and Linfield missed on two chances to overtake and apply the pressure on the Wolves. Coming away with touchdowns instead of empty chances in that 3rd quarter was the difference between victory and defeat.

Blocked PAT/Field Goals: Linfield suffered a blocked PAT and a blocked field goal on Saturday and that is the ‘Cats 4th blocked kick the past two weeks. When the ‘Cats have a weapon like
Scott Birkhofer booming kicks we have to get the job done to allow him to covert on easy kicks. The blocks were pivotal on Saturday.

Kick/Punt Coverage: WOU had a very talented return man but this has been an area that has hurt Linfield consistently during the year and it bit Linfield again on Saturday.

The Ugly:

None for Linfield but I want to write about something else here.

As a former Wildcat player I was filled with pride after Saturday. Now don’t get me wrong I wanted to win and thought it was a few mistakes that the ‘Cats made that resulted in the loss rather than it was something spectacular WOU did to win. But when I say I was proud it was because of the way this group of young men carry themselves as football players and as people. In victory and in defeat Linfield plays with absolute dignity and respect for the game and themselves. The ‘Cats won’t celebrate by stomping on somebody else’s logo while turning towards and taunting the team they just defeated. The ‘Cats won’t stand 5 yards away from the other team’s sideline running smack while a big play is breaking 40-yards downfield. Our ‘Cats don’t stand around in pre-game talking junk to the other team warming up. The ‘Cats just strive to play Linfield football and that respect and character they play with now as young people will carry on in their lives after college and into their professional/adult lives.

So while others may taunt, preen, and really just embarrass themselves, their families, and their college. I’ll continue to be proud of Linfield and how they handle the adversity along with the victories. Go ‘Cats!

Photo By Brad Thompson. Check out his Linfield pictures here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great Work Catdome Family!

$811. That is the total money that’s raised for the Wildcat’s Helmets for Hunger fundraiser by all of you supporters that purchased a now *world famous* Catdomealumni.com T-Shirt(s). In fact there are some great folks that just sent in cash to donate for the H4H program. That is going above and beyond and it’s truly an awesome display of being a Linfield Wildcat.

When I first decided to sell the shirts I had no idea if I was going to even break even. My hope was to give the Linfield Seniors a little extra money to help with their now yearly tradition of purchasing groceries and other necessities during the Thanksgiving holiday for local McMinnville families in need. Honestly, I had no idea that we would be able to provide over $800 which is pretty cool considering we sold about 135 shirts on the cheap. It was a great response.

I had the honor of dropping of the money to the team on Wednesday after practice and while I know the players/seniors really appreciate it the people that are really going to benefit are folks that will have some slight relief during the holiday.

Great job Catdome and I’m for sure am thankful for all of you!

-11

P.S. Big shout out to Gig Harbor Cat who was slinging T-Shirts at the beginning of the year. He was a true worker and he could sell ketchup popsicles to someone wearing white gloves. 5 all rights GHC!

P.S.S. Yes, next season we will come out with a 2nd edition of the Catdomealumni.com T-shirts.

Around the CatdomeO'sphere

It's Friday so it's time for our weekly link dump of news around the Northwest Conference.


‘Cats lock up 53 – News-Register.com








Bonus Article:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Week 9: NWC Pick 'Em

It’s over Johnnie…it’s over. The race for the title of NWC Pick ‘em champion has been pretty much wrapped up by Bluenote of D3boards.com fame (You’re my boy, Blue!). I’m sitting 4th with a chance to still creep up in the 3rd position over the next few weeks. If you want to check out the NWC pick ‘em thread on D3boards.com you must be a registered member and it only takes a minute to get a profile set up…just ask the folks at WOU (Hi-Yo!)

You already know that I’m taking my ‘Cats over WOU but here are the rest of the picks.

Pacific Lutheran over Menlo: It looks like Menlo is the popular choice here but I think the young ‘Lutes are starting to show some growth even though Menlo has also been making strides as the year moves forward. These are two teams that could cause some major issues for the traditional guard in 2009 so I’m curious to see who gets the upper hand here.

Whitworth over L&C: Look for Tully to keep feeding Adam Anderson and tack on some more TD’s to his resume as an All-American candidate. I think Anderson is a mortal lock to repeat as NWC offensive player of the year (Willamette’s guys split up the load too much) and should pound out a killer 1st half versus the Pios.

Willamette over UPS: Willamette is going to kill the Loggers this weekend. The Bearcats know what’s in front of them and I’m sure last year’s loss up in Tacoma is still fresh on their minds. I know that “Cut and Run” Kavin Williams had a huge game last week vs Linfield but that’s not going to happen this week. Look for Willamette to unload this weekend.

Bonus Game: Carlton @ Concordia-Moorhead (MIAC). In a huge game in the MIAC this week as there is log-jam on top of the Minnesota conference. Moorhead is pretty much in Canada and I hear is really a miserable place to play this time of the year. Cobbers corn Carlton here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Game 8: 'Cats Vs. Wolves

A huge challenge faces our Linfield Wildcats this Saturday in what looks like will be a rainy day at the ‘Catdome. Western Oregon is coming to town to play their final game of the season while the ‘Cats get ready to defend their home turf for the last time in 2008. Western Oregon is easily the most talented team Linfield will face this season…and it’s not even close. Don’t let WOU’s four losses fool you. They’ve dropped a game to I-AA Portland State, lost two close games to DII top ten Central Washington, and lost another close game to a sound Western Washington squad. The Wolves are a very explosive team that’s been close all year to duplicating last year’s 9-2 overall record.

That doesn’t mean Linfield should just roll over but the ‘Cats have to correct the wrongs from the past few weeks if our Linfield team is going to snuff the Wolves. I know for a fact that Linfield has the talent to get it done. The ‘Cats only losses on the year are against two top ten DIII teams (Hardin-Simmons and Willamette) and I think there is little doubt in the mind of ‘Cat fans if a few moments went the ‘Cats way, Linfield could be rolling into this contest with a 7-0 record

Know Your Foe

Wolves- Do I really need to describe what wolves are? If you are curious here is a link to the Wikipedia page on the Grey Wolves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolves

Western Oregon University (WOU) is a public liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Oregon, and has gone through more name changes that Puff Daddy. Originally established in 1856 by Oregon pioneers as Monmouth University, a private college, and later merged with another private institution, Bethel College, to become Christian College. It became a state college called Oregon State Normal School in 1882. Subsequent names include Oregon Normal School, Oregon College of Education, and Western Oregon State College. Talk about an identity crisis.

One cool think that WOU has done recently is to promise students that enroll will have the same tuition rate for four academic years starting at the time they enroll. I have to say that is a sweet deal and I’m sure is a nice recruiting point.

Athletically the Wolves were a long time NAIA member where their big highlight was a couple of NAIA National Titles in Women hoops. As a DII member, the Wolves floundered around at the beginning of their affiliation but have recently been making some headway in Division II with the play of their football, baseball, and softball teams.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

-Finding ways to score: The Western Defense is giving up 25 points a game but they’ve faced some high powered offenses and have been very stingy vs. the run this season where WOU is only allowing 2.3 yards a rush on the season. Linfield’s offensive is going to have to be able to be productive in the air and not allow the Wolves defense to tee off on the run game. The Linfield receiving corp. has to rise to the challenge this weekend.

-Solid Fundamentals: Look, the ‘Cats are going to have to do more than just have solid fundamentals to best WOU but without doing the little things right the ‘Cats are not going give themselves a chance to have success. What I mean by solid fundamentals is tackling well, good snaps, not fumbling the ball on exchanges, all the little things that can make or break a team. Last Saturday vs. UPS, the ‘Cats didn’t do the fundamentals well and the result was giving up big plays to the Loggers. If Linfield doesn’t clean up these areas this week the Wolves are going to exploit it 10x worse than UPS.

-Getting pressure on WOU QB Josh Riddell: The Wolves have a very talented signal caller in Junior transfer Josh Riddell. The Wolves have leaned more and more on the explosive passing game because Riddell has a small army of rangy and playmaking receivers and Riddle likes to share the wealth (3 WR’s with over 30 catches each on the year). The ‘Cats cannot afford to let Riddell just sit back and sling the ball around the yard so it’s up to the Linfield defensive front to try to make Riddell as uncomfortable as possible.

-Don’t let Ben Kuenzi get rolling: While the WOU offense has been an air attack this year the Wolves are more than capable than running the ball. Junior Ben Kuenzi is a bowling ball type of RB that loves to pound away. It the ‘Cats let both the run and passing game get going it could be a long day. Linfield’s defense is typically strong versus traditional running attacks and I hope that pattern holds up this Saturday.

-Strong First Half: The common theme in both losses this season where less than desirable 1st halves for Linfield and in order to win this Saturday the ‘Cats need to come out the gate with their best foot forward. You know that WOU is going to try to put the hammer down early and if the ‘Cats are able to counter then it's going to be a game.

Prediction

Of course I’m picking Linfield to win by a field goal. No doubt this is going to be a challenge. Even if Linfield would have been able to win the conference and go deep in the DIII playoffs I don’t think there are many Division III teams that would have as much talent as Western. However, I still don’t’ think this Linfield team understands just how talented and good they can be. The 'Cats haven’t played a peak type game yet and if they can rally and reach that potential then there is no reason why Linfield can’t cap off their season with a giant statement. Go ‘Cats!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

'Cats vs Wolves via Google Maps


The ADvantage has what you need for your game day travel or if you're at home we have the links for you to catch all the action.

Catdomealumni.com has crafted a 2008 game schedule using the power of Google Maps. All you need to do is click on the Wildcat Logo number "8" at midfield and a pop up window will appear that will direct you to all of our cool links. If you don't want to work with that small window just click on the link below the map to go to the large Linfield Schedule map.

The Links that are included are:

-Map Location of the Linfield Tailgate area (for those new to Linfield football)

-Game Previews from Linfield and WOU

-Links to Video and Audio Broadcasts

-Information on Menlo College

-Ect.

Monday, November 3, 2008

'Cats win...but it was Ugly.

What we already know is that with Linfield’s 32-24 victory over Puget Sound is that Linfield wrapped up consecutive winning season number 53. However, what we also know is that Linfield pretty much did it in an incredibly ugly fashion. “Cut and Run” Kavin Williams was cutting and running all over the Linfield offense for over 200 yards rushing on the day. Yikes….

The Good

-Winning. What we found out is that on one of Linfield’s worst days is that Puget Sound still cannot beat the ‘Cats. Even with Linfield playing with a bachelor party style hangover the ‘Cats did enough to avoid total disaster and provide another NWC foe with a moral victory.

-Cole Bixenman. The sophomore came off the bench and helped spark the struggling Wildcat offense in the 2nd half. Bix went 5 of 8 passing for 104 yards and one TD passing and one TD rushing. He made sound decisions with the ball and has made big improvements since his start vs Menlo.

-Erik Koczian: The frosh punter/defensive back had a great day assuming the punting duties for an ill Dan Egan. Koczian had a 39 yard punting avg and let loose some booming kicks.

-Dean Kongslie: The Rover made his prescesns felt in returning a fumbled punt for TD and recovering another mishandled Logger punt. Dean’s early special team play wound up being the difference for the ‘Cats.

The Bad:

-Tackling. It was nasty bad. UPS Williams was blowing through arm tackle after arm tackle. I don’t think I’m offending any Wildcat defender when I say that was some urine poor tackling.

-Not putting away UPS early. Linfield had the chance to put the Logs away early on their home field but the ‘Cats made it interesting and gave UPS the life they needed. Next thing you know Linfield was in a dog fight for the rest of the afternoon.

1st half offense. 50 total yards of offense vs. UPS in the 1st half. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

The Ugly:

Alleged WOU administrator educating D3boards.com members: This is not related to the game but a poster using an WOU administrator's work email account pulled off one of the worst offenses in the interwebs/tubes world and that was fire off a post on the Northwest Conference posting board about Linfield myopic fans and how WOU would have rolled Willamette. This possible WOU administrator thought he was covered by his handle of “jocko” but he forgot that the email you register with is visible by board members. After this alleged WOU athletic administrator was called out he tried to cover his tracks with a lame excuse but it isn’t working. However, the alleged WOU athletic administrator did the first smart thing of his d3boards career and that was shut down his account.

It’s like the first unwritten rule….if you are administration (unless you're posting up general inforamtion) you should just keep your mouth/keyboard shut and let your fans talk smack for you. Alleged WOU administor gets ZERO five-alrights for that boner of a move.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We're going Streaking....again



Congrats on Linfield locking up winning season number 53. That's crazy to think about just how long Linfield's been putting quality products on the field year after year and just how fast it could go away....just ask Michigan.

Since I've been around Linfield (1994)I thought I would share in a couple of my most favorite Streak Moments. Below are two videos you can find on Catdomealumni.com's Top Ten of the Past Ten(1996-2005). 1996's Craven Saves the Streak, and 1998's win over Willamette that locked up number 43 that left Linfield standing all alone.


1996 - Carven Saves The Streak


1998- Higgins To Forsey/The Goal Post Goes Down

Back from the office grinder!

I made it! It was a long.....long week but Wildcat11 made it through another killer fiscal year-end at the job and our team at work did a great job. However, let me say that not being at the Linfield game at UPS yesterday was painful. I couldn't listen to game so the only thing that was keeping me up to speed was the UPS "live" stats, a few phone calls from Gig Harbor Cat (of D3boards.com fame), and I almost had a meltdown in following the game by hitting "F5" (web refresh button) on my keyboard over and over again.

My biggest concern about the loss to Willamette was a hangover the following week and the fact that I don't remember the 'Cats playing well at UPS since a 2002 beat down of the Loggers. (2004 Champs had their lowest regular season scoring output at UPS). I'm getting the film a little later today but it sounded ugly...really ugly. However, I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week and twice on Saturday.

BTW...was there really 3,740 people at the game on Saturday? The Linfield/Willamette game only reported 3,200 plus and it seemed like the 'Catdome was packed pretty good.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sorry for the lack of anything this week...

Just wanted to give you a quick update. I'm not trying to avoid my usual posts during a game week but like I mentioned before this is hands down the craziest week of my year when it comes to work. Heck, I hardly have time to even post this up. I expect a late night for WC11 at work tonight and that will roll right into tomorrow...which means no game for WC11. First Linfield game I've missed since 2006 Menlo (work related miss again). Anyways, Cats control the run game and take away "Cut and Run" Williams' best WR and slowly pull away for a 17-20 point win.

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Video Tuesday...on Wednesday!

Sorry this is late but it's the most hectic time of the year at my real job and as much as I love Linfield football paying the bills is pretty nice. I'll get the trivia clip up tonight (the clip went over real well at the game). I'll also get Saturday's preview out as soon as I have the time. Old WC11 has too many irons in the fire.

video

Today in Linfield History - 99 yard Int return vs Willamette

video

Senior Moment - RB Dan Lever

video

Senior Moment - O-Tackle Jared Hinkle

Monday, October 27, 2008

‘Cats lose…early game hole was too deep to dig out of.

That was zero fun. I knew that Willamette was having a great year but they showed on Saturday that you cannot afford to have gaffs in your game and not expect a good team to take advantage. Saturday the ‘Cats found the hard way as the ‘Cats battled back out of a early game hole to only watch the whole thing blow up in the middle of the 4th quarter as Willamette turned a 3 point lead into a monkey stomp victory of 24 points.

The Good:

-Offensive line: I thought that once again the offensive line did a fine job against a solid defensive front. Franklin had ample time to throw for the great majority of the day and helped Linfield run for over 200 yards and was key in Linfield actually outgaining Willamette on offense on the day.


-Cole Franklin: Cole played all out on Saturday and sacrificed his body time and again in an effort to break plays wide open. He rushed over 100 yards and threw for over 170 yards on the day. A very solid effort. The sophomore went down very late in the game with an ankle tweak but I’m sure he be ready for next Saturday.

-Team Resolve: It would have been very easy to just lay down after that disaster 1st quarter but Linfield rallied and slowly climbed back in the game. It was awesome to see the kids respond and not check out.

The Bad:

-Giving up Big Plays: It was a concern of mine going into the game. You have so many things you have to honor in the fly offense that one simple breakdown that would cost you maybe a 10-15 yard gain vs a standard offense turns into a 50 yard untouched TD run with Willamette. I thought that we might give up a few big plays but it was hard to see Wilamette hit home run after home run.

-QB Pressure: This is more of a compliment to the Willamette offensive line than an indictment of our defensive line (who I think is the best unit in the NWC) but in the 2nd half the Willamette game plan shifted to a passing attack. The pocket held for the 2nd half and that allowed Willamette to move the ball and eventually put the game out of reach.

-Untimely penalties: The ‘Cats only had 5 penalties but they all seemed to give a Willamette drive extra life or stall a ‘Cats drive.

The Ugly:

-Special Teams: As a group it killed us. We gave up 14 points on a blocked punt and a bad snap/mishandled snap. Then we gave up the short porch on short kicks, we gave up WAY too much yardage on kick/punt returns, couldn’t field kickoffs, missed a FG, etc. We all knew Willamette had fine special teams coming in but that was just an ugly performance by special teams that crippled our game plan.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Week 8: NWC Pick 'Em

Wildcat11 is creeping up the ladder step by step and currently sits in the 4th spot this week and only a few points off the lead. The problem is that since we’re in conference play the number of games to pick from are very few (only 4 total games this week). However, there is some divide over the PLU/UPS game and the Bonus Game. We’ll see if I can keep making up ground.

Whitworth over Menlo: The Rats have a long road trip down to Atherton but that shouldn’t get in their way as the Rats will rush their way to victory over the Oaks.

Pacific Lutheran over Puget Sound: This is a toss-up game for me and could go either way. PLU and UPS are both having big struggles this season but I think that PLU does have the better defense and will make enough plays to squeak by their cross town rival.

Bonus Game: Carleton over St. Thomas (MIAC): A battle of the number one team in the MIAC (Carleton) over the number 3 team (St. Thomas) and I’m going to be a front runner and take visiting Carleton. Main reason is that I think that the Tommies are still suffering from the hangover of a hair thin loss to Saint John’s.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Game 6: Cats vs Bearcats

This is it. The Northwest Conference game of the year and if you couldn’t tell I’m pretty darn excited. Before the beginning of the year most Linfield fans expected for the ‘Cats to be right in the middle of playing for the NWC championship but Willamette has been a big surprise this season. The Bearcats lost some outstanding linebackers, a two time all-american offensive lineman, and both their kicking specialists. I thought Willamette would be solid because they were returning some talent but I had no idea they would being coming into the ‘Catdome on the roll they’ve been on this season. Even with some injuries the Bearcats have been cruising right along with contributions from all phases of their team.

It should be a special atmosphere and I think it will be an instant classic of a ball game. Tradition rivals, playoff implications, conference championship implications, bragging rights, etc. are all on the line. Is it Saturday yet?

Know Your Foe (Ripped 90% from Wikipedia)

Bearcat. A common question you hear when Willamette comes up is “What the hell is a Bearcat?”. Well, it’s not the tool in the photo on the right with the crappy tattoo. But I do have your answer.

Bearcats are actually a “Binturong”. It’s neither a bear nor a cat but is a four legged fuzzy creature that lives in the forest canopy of rainforests throughout Asia. They have a tail but it’s fully prehensile, which means they use it like a fifth hand. They’re not really big and are the size of a small dog. Their ears are small and round and have beady eyes with coarse and thick black fur.

Bearcats are nocturnal and sleep on branches. It likes to eat fruit but will chow on small animals like a bird or rats (you hear that Whitworth…rats.). They also have a sent or musk that is compared to that of warm popcorn and cornbread (I always wonder why I smelled warm popcorn when watching a game at Willamette)

Willamette University was established in 1842 and they love to brag that they are the “First” university in the west. Well congratulations on that and here’s your cookie for being first.

WU has about 2,500 students if you combine their grad students and undergrads. They have a Law school which is well respected but I have a general distain for most things Willamette. That probably stems from the near multiple fights/word exchanges I’ve had with some moronic Bearcat students. I’ll save my favorite story for another day.

On Willamette’s Wikipedia page in the athletic section they talk about the Bearcats best football team being the 1997 group but that gets trumped by touting Liz as the first female to kick in a college game. So, once again the greatest team Willamette every put on the field gets overshadowed by Hawkins stunt. Happens every time they talk about the 1997 team. Don’t believe me? Even when that team gets a big article in WU’s athletic magazine they still play 2nd fiddle to Liz....way to go Hawkins.

Wildcat11’s key to Victory.

-Bottle up the Fly Sweep/Bottle up Mervin Woo. The #1 key in slowing down the Fly offense is putting the clamps on the sweep. The whole offense is based around the sweep and if you can’t contain it then everything else they run off the sweep (ISO Blast, traps, play action pass) will slice you up. The most important player on that Willamette team is the “sweeper” and that’s Mervin Woo. Woo is not only the Bearcats best weapon running the ball he’s also Willamette’s best receiver too. If Linfield’s defense can put Woo in check then the ‘Cats will make life much more difficult for the Bearcat offense.

-Limit Willamette’s big play strikes. Defending the Fly offense is assignment football and it only takes one breakdown to give up the big play to Willamette. This season alone, Willamette has scored 6 touchdowns of 40 yards or more and 2 more touchdowns from 30 yards out. Linfield has to be able to limit the big plays on defense in order to keep the point total low. Last year’s loss to Willamette can be chalked up to a few items but giving up a few big plays was a huge factor. Make them earn it with sustained drives.

-Win on Special Team. Willamette has always done a nice job on special teams and this year is no exception. This week the special teams battle is huge and Linfield has to win this phase in the game. We cannot afford a blocked punt/kick and we have to do a great job in the return game. This is the type of game where a play in special teams could make or break a team.

-Counter the Bearcats 2nd half adjustments. In two of Willamette’s toughest games (Whitworth and SOU) the Bearcats started out somewhat slow but picked up steam as the game went along and really showed they are a fine 2nd half team. In fact, the Bearcats have outscored their opponents 175-52 in the 2nd half of games this season and have been particularly strong in the 3rd quarter holding a major 76-16 scoring edge. While the ‘Cats haven’t exactly been a point scoring machine our offense has been efficient in the 2nd half of games while the defense has only given up a total of 29 points the entire season in the 2nd stanza.

-Convert in the Red Zone. Willamette is a bend but don’t break style of team so I feel confident that Linfield will be able to move the ball in between the 20’s but it’ll will get down to who is going to win the battle in the red zone. The Bearcats have shown the ability to stiffen up and turn away teams from touchdowns so Linfield’s ability to execute opportunities into touchdowns will be huge.

-Turnover battle. The Bearcats are a +10 in the turnover department this season and that is a huge key in why they’re currently 7-0. They’ve been able to hang onto the ball for the most part and been able to take the ball away on a regular basis. Linfield’s defense has been creating more turnovers this season but we’ve still been giving away the ball too much. It goes without typing…whoever wins the turnover game will have a huge advantage.

Predictions

Linfield by a late 7 points. I suspect there are going to be times where each team is going to have the momentum and this game could really come down to the last few possessions. I like the fact we’re at the ‘Catdome and our players have already been in some tight ball games where different players have made the plays to propel Linfield to victory. On the other hand, Willamette has experienced the same thing this season where it’s been a collective effort and not just one or two players that dominate a game.

In the end I believe that Linfield’s defensive front seven is going to get the job done late in the game and provide the Wildcat offense enough time to put the dagger in during the ladder stage of the game. Go ‘Cats!