Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 1 Preview: Linfield @ Hardin Simmons

It’s game week! It’s time to start kicking up dust! It’s time to strap in, kick butt, and take names. Man, I’m so pumped up that I think I could get my 32 year old body out there for at least one series….well maybe not.

However, as a fan I’m very happy it’s that time of year where our ‘Cats hit the field looking to win ball games and play the game the Linfield way. As usual the ‘Cats don’t have the luxury of easing into a season with a lesser opponent but the ‘Cats once again jump into the fire with all four paws.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be making the journey down to Texas and in the process try not to get blow away by Hurricane Ike. The ADvantage is sticking to last year’s format of better get to know a foe, keys to victory, and outcome (Wildcat victory). So get ready for some football Texas style.

Know Your Foe- (99% ripped off the Wikipedia page for Cowboy)

Cowboys – Did you know that the word “cowboy” appears to be a direct translation of vaquero, a Spanish word for an individual who managed cattle while mounted on horseback. Now don’t let the name of “cowpoke” confuse you because that word comes from the dudes that would proddle cows into railcars using long poles. That defiantly doesn’t sounds as cool as being a manger of cattle.

-The roots of the American cowboy tradition came from Spain as Spanish settlers brought their cattle raising traditions to the Americas.

- In pop culture, the cowboy and the gunslinger are often associated with one another. In reality, working ranch hands had very little time for anything other than the constant, hard work involved in maintaining a ranch. Likewise, cowboys are often shown fighting with American Indians. However, the reality was that, while cowboys were armed against both predators and human thieves, and often used their guns to run off people of any race who attempted to steal, or rustle cattle, nearly all actual armed conflicts occurred between Indian people and cavalry units of the U.S. Army.

-Hardin Simmons University was founded in 1891 and was then known as Abilene Baptist College so Linfield and HSU do have Baptist roots. People did refer to Linfield’s athletic teams as the Baptist before adopting the nickname of “Wildcats”. Go Baptists!

-HSU has a little over 2,400 students and holds a 13:1 student to teacher ratio.

-Some famous alumni from HSU include Dan Blocker who played “Hoss” in the famous TV series Bonanza, Doyle Brunson who is a well know poker player, and Stedman Graham who is best known as Oprah Winfrey’s ex-boyfriend. GOTCHA OPRAH!

Wildcat11’s keys to victory:

Limit the legs of Feaster. The Junior quarterback is a playmaker with his legs just as much as he is with his arm. Feaster does have the ability to pull down the rock and take off for big gains or extend the play by scrambling to allow his WR corp to break off and get open. It’s key for Linfield to do their best to contain Feaster and not allow the big scrambles. That is an easy thing to say but much tougher in practice.

Put the wraps on Mychal Carrillo. Linfield fans are all too familiar with Carrillo who has scored TD’s in both the 2006 and 2007 contests. The senior is HSU’s best offensive player and a game breaker whenever he touches the ball. I look for HSU to try their best to get Carrillo the ball (in the air or on the ground). The ‘Cats have to know where Carrillo is at all times and try to limit his touches.

Convert scoring chances. In a tough road game a key component is not coming up empty when you have scoring opportunities. The ‘Cats have one of the best kickers in the country in Scott Birkhofer so if Linfield is within his range the ‘Cats have a chance for at least 3 points. Touchdowns are always better but Linfield has to feel good about having a weapon like Birkhofer.

Unknown HSU defense vs Linfield’s unknown players. A big question mark for Linfield is what defense the ‘Cats will see. HSU brought in two former DIII coaches to Co-Coordinate its defense and the scheme has changed.

I’m not even sure if the ‘Cats have film from the LAX game so our ‘Cats are at a disadvantage there. Also, we know we have a number of new starters on offense and in our defensive secondary. The talent for Linfield is there, trust me these kids are VERY talented, but you don’t truly know how that talent will perform until the rubber meets the road.

A key will be how fast our traditional passing attack will adjust to the HSU changes and how fast our new kids clear the butterflies and just play ball.


HSU is a tradition rich program that, like Linfield, has something to prove this year. I truly believe that if the ‘Cats don’t hurt themselves with turnovers (LAX killed themselves last week vs HSU with TO’s deep in their own territory) and do a solid job on Feaster then there is no reason why Linfield can’t will this game by at least 10 points.

Linfield CAN be that good this season. The ‘Cats have some major speed on offense and defense and I feel the new starters will perform up to the staff’s expectations. Linfield was in a haze in 2006 the first time they traveled to Hardin Simmons but that haze is long gone and Coach Smith has been putting his stamp on our great program. Linfield fans are going to love this team.

Cats by 10 points


d1shima said...

Not a "pro" by any means but in the nomenclature of sports handicapping, the favorite would be -pts.
I'm sure that's what you meant; if I interpret your methodology incorrectly, I apologize. here. :-)

d1shima said...

And I like your analysis.

Wildcat 11 said...

forget it...I just changed it to "by 10 points". :)

d1shima said...

Go Wildcats!