Thursday, December 31, 2009

An NWC Decade of Linfield Dominance


This being the last day of the '00 decade, WC11 thought it would be good to review the first full decade of the realignment of the Northwest Conference (The NWC regrouped in 1996 as the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges (NCIC) and then officially named back to the Northwest Conference in 1998).

During the past 10 seasons there has been one NWC team that has stood out above the others and, of course, that is our Linfield Wildcats. The NWC is not made up of Linfield and the everyone else because we know that there are some very competitive programs throughout the conference. However, when you take a step back and look at the past 10 years the Linfield program has been incredibly consistent and a force on not only the regional but also on the national level.

When you look at the data of the past 10 years below this is a tribute to all of the hard work by the Linfield staff, players, administration, and support folks who have made this program great over the past 54 years. It was a great ride this past 10 years and I have no doubt on Dec 31, 2019 that Linfield will be on top of these same stats. Go 'Cats!

Decade Records (2000-09) (I excluded Menlo due to they were not a member during the entire decade)

Overall Record
Linfield.............90-16
Whitworth.........66-30
Willamette........57-43
PLU..................54-40
UPS..................29-62
L&C..................16-69

NWC Record
Linfield............48-5
Whitworth.......36-17
Willamette.......32-21
PLU................30-23
UPS................10-43
L&C.................5-43

Home Record
Linfield............50-8
Whitworth......35-14
Willamette......32-20
PLU................25-20
UPS................15-30
L&C................10-32

Road Record
Linfield..........40-8
Whitworth.....31-16
PLU...............29-20
Willamette.....25-23
UPS...............14-32
L&C................6-37

Playoff Record
Linfield.........12-5
PLU...............3-2
Whitworth......1-2
Willamette.....1-2

NWC 1st Place Finishes
Linfield............7 (1 -tie)
Whitworth.......3 (1 -tie)
Willamette......1
PLU................1 (1-tie)

Conference Honors (2000-09)

Coach Of The Year
Linfield..........6
Whitworth......3
Willamette......1

Offense Player of the Year
Linfield.........5
Whitworth.....4
Willamette....2
PLU..............2

Defensive Player of the Year
Linfield........6
Whitworth....4
Willamette....4
PLU............ 2

NWC 1st Team Players
Linfield.......122
Willamette....61
Whitworth....55
PLU.............41
UPS.............15
L&C..............9

Statistics (2000-09)

(Full 2002 statistics were not available on the conference site so these stats are the averaged and compiled from 9 seasons (2000-01, 2003-09) and I excluded the 2005 stats from L&C since they only played 4 non-conference games and canceled their NWC games)

Points Per Game
Linfield..........36.6
PLU...............30.3
Whitworth......28.5
Willamette......27.7
UPS...............20.8
L&C...............16.9

Points Allowed Per Game
Linfield..........18.2
Whitworth....21.3
Willamette....22.9
PLU...............23.7
UPS...............29.2
L&C...............42.5

Pass Offense Per Game
Linfield.........286 YPG
PLU..............242.8 YPG
Whitworth.....205 YPG
L&C..............197.5 YPG
UPS..............131.7 YPG
Willamette....114.8 YPG

Pass Defense Per Game
L&C..............171.8 YPG
PLU..............192.7 YPG
Whitworth.....192.9 YPG
Linfield........194.4 YPG
Willamette....196.1 YPG
UPS..............211.6 YPG

Rushing Offense Per Game
Willamette....251.3 YPG
UPS.............193.8 YPG
Whitworth....172 YPG
Linfield........150.8 YPG
PLU.............144.8 YPG
L&C.............111.1 YPG

Rushing Defense Per Game
Linfield........114.3 YPG
Willamette....140 YPG
Whitworth....148.5 YPG
PLU.............155.5 YPG
UPS.............160.5 YPG
L&C.............249.3 YPG

Total Offense Per Game
Linfield........436.8 YPG
PLU.............387.6 YPG
Whitworth..377 YPG
Willamette..366.1 YPG
UPS.............325.5 YPG
L&C.............308.6 YPG

Total Defense Per Game
Linfield........308.7 YPG
Willamette....332.9 YPG
Whitworth....341.4 YPG
PLU.............348.2 YPG
UPS.............372.1 YPG
L&C.............421.1 YPG

Sacks Per Season
Linfield........27.8
PLU.............22.3
Willamette....20
Whitworth....16.6
UPS.............12.3
L&C.............9

Turnover Margin Per Season
Whitworth...+8.3
Linfield........+7.5
Willamette...+3.9
PLU............+0.4
UPS............-3.8
L&C............-9.875

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love my 'Cats



WC11 did not make this but props to whoever did. Great spoof of the Oregon Ducks "I love my ducks" clip.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Post Season Awards Rolling In For The 'Cats

Coming off their most successful season since the 2004 National Championship season, the Linfield Wildcats are having players and coaches being recognized on a Regional and National Level. All of these Wildcat players and coaches are very deserving and there are some 'Cats that were not tapped that had a strong case but that is the nature of post-season recognition.

However, WC11 does want to say that the AFCA and D3football.com does these awards/post-season teams the right way. They only have so many slots and with over 230 teams in division III selecting these teams is not an easy task but I'm thankful they don't name every player and their cousins to these post-season teams and dilute the significance of the selections.

2009 AFCA Coaches Division III All-American Team
2009 D3football.com All-West Region Team

Let's lead off with the program's 42nd First Team All-American.

Linfield senior offensive guard Scott Millenbach was named to the AFCA Division III All-American team this past Tuesday. Millenbach anchored an offensive line that helped the 'Cats average 40 points a game and avg. 432 yards of offense a contest. Linfield's offensive line was outstanding this season and was a MAJOR reason for the 'Cats 12-1 season. Scott was also named 1st team all-west region by D3football.com and should be in the running for the d3.com All-American team that will be announced this Saturday before the Stagg Bowl.


Sophomore Safety Drew Fisher was named to the D3football.com's 1st team All-West Region Defense. Fish has an outstanding 2nd season in the 'Cats defensive backfield and led the defense in total tackles (73), 9 pass break ups, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, a blocked punt, tied for 1st in Ints (5 w/ Nate Dixon), and might have led the team with bone jarring hits (Jaymin Jackson and Bubba Kukahiko might object to that). Drew had a great season and it wouldn't surprise me if he was named to D3football.com's all-american team.

Junior Defensive Tackle Paul Nishizaki was named to the West Region's 2nd team defense and for good reason. Nish was a major disruptive force for the 'Cats and IMO might just have been the Linfield defensive MVP. Nish has good but not eye popping stats: 30 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, but his true value was wreaking havoc between the two offensive guards and changing how offenses attack the 'Cats. Offensive Coordinators around the NWC hate Nishizaki and I think that is just about the biggest complement a defensive tackle can get.

Junior Quarterback Aaron Boehme was named to the 3rd team West Region offense. I think we all know that Boehme is one of the top QB's in Division III so I was a little suprised to see Boehme only listed on the 3rd team in the West Region but you have to look at the talent in front of him and it had to be a hard decision for the D3 staff. Whitewater's Donovan is a flat out stud and Monmouth's Tanney was a well known product before the 2009 season and had another monster year. Boehme's stat line is crazy: 3,261 passing yards, 33 passing TD's, 551 rushing yards, and 10 rush TD's. The crazy part, I think he'll be even better next season.

Senior Wide Receiver Trevor Patterson was also named to the 3rd team West Region offense and I couldn't be happier for Trevor. The NWC has some outstanding wide receivers and Trevor was the only one named to the all-region team. Honestly, Trevor was the biggest surprise to me in 2009. Before this season he was so held back by injuries that I didn't know he was this big play receiver just waiting for his opportunity. In some ways I'm a little sad that we didn't get to see a healthy Patterson for multiple years but if you are going to go out as a senior, catching 78 passes for 1,264 yards and 17 touchdowns is a pretty damn good way to go out. His big play ability is going to be sorely missed next season.

Head Coach Joe Smith was named the West Region Coach of the Year and I'm 100% certain that Coach Smith would say this kind of honor is a reflection of the work the entire staff put in this season and he would be right. The 2009 Linfield Coaching staff was incredible from the jump and should be saluted for not only their work during the season but in the winter, spring, and summer. However, Coach Smith is the man upfront that drives this boat and a lot of doubters (babies) were slinging arrows at Coach Smith. Externally, that never seemed to bother him as he knew that the team was on the verge of breaking through. Coach Smith never lost his confidence or his drive during the past few seasons and it made this season sweet to see all the "haters" get silenced and put to bed with a resounding swing of a hammer that was this 2009 season.

Congrats Coach Smith, The entire Linfield Staff, and players on the post-season recognition.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Cats season ends with a tough 27-17 loss at Whitewater.

Our 'Cats dropped a 27-17 heartbreaker in the NCAA Semi-Finals to #2 UW-Whitewater. Anyone that followed the game knows that Linfield held a 17-10 lead early in the 4th quarter and looked to be in prime position to pull the upset and advanced to the NCAA Championship game but you have to credit Whitewater for making enough plays to overcome the Linfield lead and pull out the victory.

It was such a bittersweet feeling for the players, coaches, and fans of the 'Cats. Linfield has NOTHING to hang their heads about but everyone in the Purple, Red, and White knows that it was there for the taking but it just wasn't to be. However, that's part of football/athletics and in some ways life. Sometimes you are of the verge of doing something great and for whatever reason it just doesn't happen. In those moments you tend to find out really who you are as a person and from what I saw after the game made me feel pretty dang good. The 'Cats, even though they were bitterly disappointed, handled themselves with class and dignity after the game. True, there were tears, but they stayed together as a team and held each other up in a very tough moment. These guys truly care about the 'Cat next to them and are very proud of what they did this season as they should be. It was an incredible season by anyone standards.

I'm not going to get into a huge recap of the game with the usual "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" because it just doesn't feel right for me to break down that game. Bottom line, it was a awesome game with two excellent teams trading blows. Yes, Whitewater made the play to win the game but everybody at Perkins Stadium knows that game was up for grabs up till the finals minutes.

What I would like to write instead is just pour out some thoughts on the season. You know that I'm a Linfield honk in the highest regards. I have blind faith in the values of the programs and the people who run it. That may not be the healthiest perspective to have but it's for a good reason. This program will always try to put their best foot forward when it comes to preparing young people for their lives after Linfield and also try their best to put out a high quality product on the field.

That is what this 2009 team did this year. They worked everyday on putting their best on the line. Not just on fall and winter Saturdays but in the early mornings during Jan term and in the springtime when the eyes of the 'Catdome family were not on them. This group of young men earned everything this season. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect at the start of 2009. Sure, we had some very talented ballplayers but we were young in spots and unproven in many others. However, what we didn't know is just how tight the bond of this team was headed into the year. That believe in the player next to them is what carried this team to the heights they reached and will carry the program forward into 2010. They need to be applauded for their effort and performance. It was truly great.

To the Senior Class of 2009. Thank you. I don't know how else the 'Catdome can express what you men did for this program this season. Myself and others can't really know the pressures and frustrations that you all felt the previous few seasons when the program was so close but see the season end at 6-3. The classes of 2006-08 each worked very hard but they all had a taste of the success of the 03-05 seasons and that is something you guys had hanging over your heads coming into the year. Instead of letting that break you down, you guys came together and moved forward, formed your own identity, and carved out your own piece and place in Linfield history. What you did this year was special and it may be one of your greatest memories of your college lives and it should be. You once again set the standard for the teams that follow you and the 'Catdome family can't thank you enough.

WC11 wants to encourage any fans, students, or parents to drop a thank you in the comment section. You can do it anonymously or you can leave your name...it doesn't matter. Just let the 'Cats know how much you appreciate their effort this year. Go 'Cats!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Around The CatdomeO'sphere

WHAT A RUSH!!!! WC11 is going to have to make it snappy this morning. I'm sitting here at the Southwest gate of PDX getting ready to go down to PHX before heading to Wisconsin. It's going to be a long day. Again, a boat load of links to articles to catch you up to everything Linfield related. Be safe out there this weekend and GO 'CATS!!!!

Newsregister.com: Wildcats knock off Tommies, advance to D-III semifinals

Oregonlive.com: Linfield keeps marching on after quarterfinals win over St. Thomas.

Statesmanjournal.com: Wildcats move into the Semifinals.

Tommiemedia.com: Tommies road ends at Linfield

Tommiemedia.com: UST head coach says loss to Linfield was 'extreamly frustrating'

Twincities.com: One on One with UST football coach, Glenn Caruso

StatesmanJournal.com: Linfield football is one of this weeks "winners"

Mailtribune.com: The 'Cats Chris Buck a key on the 'Cats offensive line.

Theoutlookonline: Linfield's Drew Fisher is packing a wallop for the 'Cats

D3football.com: Unlikely duo keys Linfield offense.

Eastoregonian: Pendleton grad, Linfield's Trevor Patterson, helps Linfield to Semi-Finals

d1shima.blogspot.com: A terrific win

Sportsillustraded.cnn.com: Linfield thrives on winning tradition

Newsregister.com: Follow the 'Cats on Gameday.

Newsregister.com: Whitney Bermes Linfield vs UST football blog.

Newsregister.com: Linfield student charged in bomb hoax. Four years of college down the drain.

Honoluluadvertiser.com: The 'Cats love their Hawaiian Punch.

Royalpurplenews.com: UWW Quarterback, Donovan Thriving under the spotlight

Royalpurplenews.com: Warhawks on the verge of another Stagg Bowl game.

Royalpurplenews.com: VIDEO. UW-Whitewater post game conference (Wittenberg)

Royalpurplenews.com: The Royal Purple News staff members pick the semi-final winner.

WKOWTV.com: VIDEO. UWW's marches on after toppling Wittenberg.

JSonline.com: Warhawks break a sweat.

JSonline.com: Whitewater vs Wittenberg Photo Gallery.

Forestgrovenewstimes.com: Boxers get the green light to play at Lincoln Park

Forestgrovenewstimes.com: Former Forest Grove HC navigates local recruiting trails.

WC11's quick guide to hooking up your CPU to your TV

Alright, I've had about 10 emails asking me how to hook up a CPU to a TV so you can watch the game on the big screen. First you need the link to that game: CBS Sports NCAA Broadcast of Linfield @ UWW Now there are two cables that you need to get ASAP and you can find at any local electronics store (i.e. Radio Shack).

The first thing you need to get is an S-Video cable (you'll need this if you want a picture)The Second thing you need to get is a 1/8th headphone jack to RCA cable (you'll need this if you want sound)

So what you do is plug the S-Video cable into your laptop/CPU. If your CPU doesn't have this there are other cord options but really just about every laptop/CPU SHOULD have a S-Video plug. Once you have it pluged into your laptop/CPU, then plug the S-Video cord into your televesion in one of your "Input" options. (Don't plug it into one of the "output" options or it won't work)

Now, plug in the headphone-to-RCA cord into the headphone input of your cpu (like you are listening to music) and then take the RCA jacks and plug them into the audio input on the back of your TV (The RCA jacks have to be in the input option as the S-Video connection if you want sound to be synced with the picture).

Now here comes the part that I can't really help you with. Each CPU is different. Some TV's/CPU's will pick up the S-Video signal automatically and you have nothing to worry about. Others you have to prompt to display on the TV by hitting a function key (most CPU's are Function+F8). Make sure your TV is on the right channel/input selection (where you S-Video and RCA jacks are plugged in should be labeled) and you should be off and running.

You can fool around with the display settings on your CPU to make the picture bigger but I dont' want to confuse you anymore if I have to. If you have other tips or pointers about hooking up your CPU to your TV please post them in the comments section.

Here's a YouTube video that gives you some more detail about setting up the display of your TV once you have the CPU hooked up.

If I where you I would test this out tonight so you're not scrambling on game day.

Best of luck!!!!
WC11

Coach Of The Year Update - Coach Smith was snubbed

The folks over a Coachoftheyear.com sent out a list of the 5 finalist of the Coach of the Year award for the Divsion III level and they are:

Steve Briggs - Susquehanna University
Greg Debeljak - Case Western Reserve University
John Gagliardi - Saint John's
Steve Staker - Coe College
John Troxell - Frankin & Marshall College

Well, that is just the way it goes sometimes but I'm pretty sure that any of those 5 coaches above would trade places with Coach Smith right now and be in the NCAA Semi-Finials. Great effort Catdome in getting Coach Smith into the top 15 on such short notice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NCAA Playoff Semi-Finals Preview: #5 Linfield @ #2 UW-Whitewater

KABOOM!!! Down to the final four of the division III playoffs and what a crew of semi-finalists we have. On one end you have Mt. Union pairing off against a fine Wesley team but there is only one game that matters for the Catdome and that’s when our ‘Cats head out to Wisconsin and play the #2 ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks (Kickoff 10am PST). Wildcat11 will be headed out on Friday and will be on hand at Perkins Stadium when Linfield tries to overcome a Warhawk program that has made 4 consecutive trips to the Stagg Bowl. It’s no coincidence why the ‘Hawks have reached this level in Division III. They are just flat out a great program. UWW has great talent, great coaching, and great execution on game day. Whitewater is a goliath on the DIII landscape and it just very well may take a biblical effort by the ‘Cats to overcome this team.

We’ve already established that UWW has been great the past 5 seasons but many surrounding that program are saying the 2009 version just might be the best team UWW has fielded yet. That’s a scary thought but for good reason. The ‘Hawks are just stomping the competition this season by a tune of 44 to 8.5 points per contest. Dig further and UWW rushes for about 6 yards a pop while only yielding 2.4 yards a carry. Along with the rushing stats, UWW QB Jeff Donovan has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 27 TDs. But the biggest beast for UWW is running back, Levell Coppage. Don’t let the stats fool you (1,887 yards, 30 TDs) as those could probably be deeper in the 2,000 yards range and many more TDs racked up if Coppage wasn’t shut down by the ‘Hawks coaching staff when UWW had games in hand. He might very well be the best back the Linfield program has faced since Southern Oregon’s Dusty McGrorty (2000-03). You just don’t find the kid’s skill set at the Division III level.

On the other sideline this Saturday you have our Wildcats who just made it out of a stacked West Region bracket after beating #22 Cal Lutheran, #8 Mary Hardin-Baylor, and #10 University of St. Thomas. Not too shabby at all as our ‘Cats just keep rolling along. Obviously, Linfield is an under“cat” this weekend but Linfield positively has a chance to get it done. The ‘Cats have both offensive and defensive playmakers that have the ability to make enough plays to turn the tide in any ball game. Collectively, the ‘Cats will need to bring their “A” game to the Perk but as I’ve said before…I’m a believer in this team and so should you.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Find a way to run the ball: The ‘Cats HAVE to have a run game this weekend. Just got to have it. If Linfield can make UWW respect the run then the ‘Cats can open up the other aspect of the offense. Whitewater is a great run stopping defense but Linfield just can’t throw in the towel and not try to rush the ball. The ‘Cats don’t have to put up 200 rushing yards but they have to make UWW respect it. IMO, this is priority number one on Saturday.

Wide Receiver Corp step up: The ‘Cats wide receivers are going to need to be razor sharp this weekend and grab every opportunity to make plays that comes their way. It just can’t be one WR this weekend to get it done…every WR that steps on the field this Saturday needs to be a playmaker or find a way to contribute.

Linfield defense has to win 3rd down: The ‘Hawks are converting 3rd down at a clip of 55%. If the ‘Cats can drop that to the low 40’s/high 30’s then Linfield will be able to keep the game close. First, Linfield has to put UWW in 3rd down situations but that’s another story.

Have to Start Fast: UWW is outscoring their opponents 132 to 7 (10 to .5) in the first quarter this season. The ‘Cats have to continue to be a strong starting team and not allow UWW to gain the momentum early. The longer the ‘Cats can stay within striking distance the better Linfield’s chances will be late in the game.

Make Coppage earn it: I’m not going to write “Stop Coppage” because that probably won’t be the case but we can certainly make him earn every yard he gets by putting a hat on him each time he carries the rock. Linfield’s defense has to maintain leverage and limit his cut back ability and be great tacklers. For Linfield/Oregon residents, Coppage is going to remind you of Oregon State’s Quizz Rogers. Not big but has great power and ability to exploit small gaps between the tackles. Coppage may very well break off a couple of big runs but if we can frustrate him the rest of the time then I’ll be a happy camper.

Continue to be defensive playmakers: Linfield has done it all year long and the ‘Cats will need that again this Saturday. I don’t want our DB’s to take unnecessary gambles on throwing downs but continue to be in the right spot at the right time.

Put on the Road Warrior gear one more time: It seemed like a lifetime ago that this team methodically won four very long road games in a row but I believe the lessons the ‘Cats learned about the overnight travel and being on the road could be a factor this weekend.

Not too tight, not too loose: Linfield has nothing to lose this weekend. All the pundits and DIII experts are going to pick UWW to win this weekend and head back to the Stagg Bowl. That’s fine because UWW has earned that type of respect but the ‘Cats have to remember that you don’t get to 12-0 by accident. You don’t beat 6 ranked teams by mistake and you don’t get a chance to play for a National Title because a computer or writers say you should. Just remember, that if the ‘Cats go and play up to this Linfield team’s potential and ability then there is no reason this team can’t win this game. All the pressure is on UWW to make another trip to the Stagg and for Linfield it’s a chance to turn everyone’s head.

Overall:

‘Cats by 3. Yeah, Linfield is going to have to play an exceptional game but I 100% believe this Wildcat squad has the ability to come up with that type of effort. Without a doubt, there’s going to be adversity to overcome during the course of the game and how Linfield deals with the adversity is going to lead to the end result of the contest. All year long, this team has dealt with the peaks and valleys of these types of games with a steady and confident demeanor and that’s not going to change this weekend. UWW may be a great team but so are our Linfield Wildcats. Catdome!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Great Work Catdome Family! Coach Smith made COY.com's Top 15

(Which one of these coaches has their team still playing?)

The Fan voting is over and Linfield's Head Coach Joe Smith went from about 450 votes to 1,492 votes in just a matter of days to secure a spot in the evaluation round of the DIII Coach Of The Year Award. The top 15 fan voted coaches will put through an evaluation process and the list of 15 will be cut down to 5 by December 15th.

Then the fans will get a chance to vote for the top 5 coaches and a committee will also vote to announce a winner on Jan 6th.

If Coach Smith can make the cut (WC11 thinks he will) we'll have to rise up once again and get voting away for a two week period. In the meantime, great work Catdome!

Shocker..Emory Hunt is taking UWW over Linfield



Once again the "Czar of the Playbook", Emory Hunt, is taking the other team over the Wildcats in the DIII playoffs. Emory, Emory, Emory....have you learned not to bet against the 'Cats yet?

Monday, December 7, 2009

'Cats Win! Linfield Tanks the Tommies 31-20 in West Regional Final!

(Photo by Brad Thompson: View Brad's Photos Here)

YEAHHHHH!!!!!! What a way to close out the 2009 home season by our Linfield Wildcats beating the University of Saint Thomas 31-20 in the West Region Finals (I don’t care what the NCAA calls it…that was the West Region Final) as the ‘Cats advance to the Semi-Finals of the Division III playoffs. Linfield is now 12-0 and in the incredible history of the Wildcat program only 5 other teams have reached that mark (1982, 1984, 1986, 1992, and 2004). You all know the 80’s teams won the NAIA titles by going 12-0, the 1992 team lost in the NAIA title game to finish 12-1, and the 2004 team would take it one step further by finishing the season 13-0 and winning Linfield’s first NCAA DIII Championship. Yeah, this 2009 team is in rare air but why stop now?

In regards to the Regional Final, UST was a fine football team and lived up to their billing as a big, physical team, with some great play makers. UST was able to create problems for the Wildcat offense that nobody has done all year long while their offense had moments where the Tommies were tough to stop. However, Linfield stuck to what they have been doing all throughout the season and the playoffs: the ‘Cats just keep making big plays on both sides of the ball, put up points with a more balanced offense, stretches of shutdown defense, and other aspects of the team rises and make major contributions. This season has been a complete team effort by Linfield. For the faithful: this year has been a wild ride for the Catdome family that has had the ‘Cats backs and never lost the faith over the past few seasons. This has been one to savor.

So the ‘Cats now advance to the DIII Semi-Finals for the 2nd time in program history and now have a chance to play for a birth in the National Title game. We all know who the opponent will be (The Warhawks of UW-Whitewater). DIII fans that have been around will talk about the 2005 Epic where Whitewater was able to knock off Linfield in what many people that attended the contest call the “greatest game” they have ever seen. However, there isn’t one player on the current 2009 rosters that was on either of those '05 teams. While it’s fun for the fans to talk about that 2005 epic, the game on Saturday is about 2009 for both Linfield and UWW. These young men are playing for Right Now and a chance to play for the 2009 championship.

Before we dive headlong into a week of previewing the UWW/Linfield game let’s reflect on the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of last week’s 31-20 win over the Tommies of St. Thomas.

The Good

Takeaway kings: It doesn’t matter if it’s Apple, Berry, or Cherry, the ‘Cats continue to create turnovers that have been a key to this season’s success and this weekend was no different. The ‘Cats came away with 5 turnovers (3 picks, 2 fumble recoveries) that helped Linfield lock up the win. That brings the total up to 16 Linfield takeaways in 3 playoff games. Outstanding.

Special Teams was special: I’ve been hounding the special teams group all year long for various reasons and the main one was the ‘Cats Kickoff coverage but Linfield’s special teams unit came though incredible huge by locking up the Tommies great return game, a huge punt block, a good kick return game, and a big 41-yard field goal. It might have been the best the Special Teams have played all year.

Goal Line Offense: Linfield’s offense front was able to punch in the rock 3 times from short distance against a big and physical defense. Linfield runs the spread even on the goal line so you really have to tip your cap to the earth movers up front and the RB core for getting the push up front.

Bend but don’t break team: Linfield had their chances to really boat race UST but give the Tommies credit for fighting back and taking the momentum on a 29-yeard TD by Fritz Waldvogel to make it a 4 point game (24-20). At that moment, a lesser team might have had the wheels fall off and let UST take over the game but Linfield calmly answered with a great kick return that set up a 10 play, 52-yeard TD drive to put too much distance for UST to overcome. Great composure by the ‘Cats.

The ‘Catdome Fans: Once again, the attendance number was only 2,864 but the crowd seemed twice that size with the amount of noise and energy the ‘Catdome was pumping into the game. The Linfield Student body FINALLY showed up in the South Endzone and made a difference. Good work by them but the older fan base was the crew that got it done all playoffs. Great work “old” cats for showing how you get it done as a home crowd.

The Bad:

Battered Boehme: St Thomas blitzed out of all sorts of different looks yesterday and was able to sack Boehme 3 times yesterday and put a number of hammer jobs on him though out the game. Two of the sacks didn’t come from UST beating guys but seem more like protection breakdowns in communication. I’m sure the O-Line and Running Backs will get on the chalkboard and get that corrected this week.

More Drops: I was really on the fence if I was going to mark this down as a “bad” because a few of those drops would have had to been outstanding efforts in order to bring the ball down but I know this WR core expects to make those tough catches so I’ll hold them to that standard. Needless to say Linfield has to get those drop off the books headed into this Saturday.

UST’s 4.2 avg per rush attempt: The ‘Cats defense got it done when it mattered most but Linfield has a bigger rushing challenge this upcoming Saturday, so I had to point out UST’s rushing average. Linfield really has to tighten that up.

The Ugly:

Nothing. A Linfield playoff win, a perfect day of December weather, a birth into the National Semi-Finals…what could be Ugly about that? I could point out some of the Linfield player and coach playoff mustaches but I’m going to leave that alone. That would be like mocking Sampson and his hair. Don’t mess with the power of the playoff ‘Stach!

Linfield Post Game Interviews (UST Game): Defense



Here is the defensive post game interviews that I promised you. We talked to Linebacker Paul Partlow, Defensive End Sparky Gonzalez, and Corner Bryce Comfort. Don't be alarmed by the 'Staches in the video...those are all about the Playoff Mojo.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Linfield Post Game Interviews (UST Game): Offense



After yesterday's 31-20 Linfield victory over University of St. Thomas, Wildcat11 tracked down Linfield Wide Receivers Chris Slezak and Ryan Henderson. Both of these 'Cats have played big rolls in the Wildcat offense this past year. We'll post up the defense interview early on Monday morning along with our game review around 1pm (PST) tomorrow. Go 'Cats!!!

Fox12 and KATU's Game Stories on Linfields 31-20 win over UST

Friday, December 4, 2009

Around The CatdomeO'sphere

Hi-YOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! We have a massive link dump for you today. It's HUGEEEEEEEE and should give you a Friday overdose on Linfield and St. Thomas as you head into your weekend. Tomorrow should be an awesome day at the 'Catdome and if you can, you should really get to the game by any means necessary. BTW, make sure you get to Coachoftheyear.com and VOTE FOR COACH SMITH...NOW! There are only 2 days left and we have to keep Coach Smith in the top 15 in order to move to the next round. The race is heating up so get clicking away. CATDOME!!!!!

Oregonlive.com (The Oregonian): Wildcats Crush The Cru

News-Regsiter.com: Linfield keeps rolling with a defensive mugging of UHMB

StatesmanJournal.com: 'Cats Cram The Cru

StatesmanJournal.com: Linfield vs UMHB Photo Gallery

TDTnews.com: UMHB blitzed in 53-21 playoff loss at Linfield

KDHnews.com: UMHB's Head Coach Fredenburg looks to tweak The Cru in the off-season

TDTnews.com: UMHB's Fredenburg seeks answers, change after playoff loss

Newsregister.com: Follow the Linfield vs UMHB game through Whitney Barmes blog

A Word With Kelly Bird: Eric Evenson's game live Linfield vs UMHB game blog.

TommieMedia.com: Tommies Crush Coe 34-7 (WITH VIDEO)

StarTribune.com: Tommies hammer the Coehawks for 34-7 in 2nd round playoff victory.

kcrg.com: Coe's season is done after UST drops the Coehawks 34-7 (WITH VIDEO)

Gazetteonline: Coe loses at Univ. of Saint Thomas

TwinCites.com: St. Thomas racks up 499 yards on offense to lead the Tommies to the win

BlueOregon.com: Civil War? Not for me. My heart belongs to the Wildcats.

TommieMedia.com: Breaking down the numbers: St. Thomas vs. Linfield

StarTribune.com: UST's center, Josh Ostrue, says "These are not the droids you're looking for"

TommieMedia.com: Football team eerily similar to St. Thomas’ last playoff squad

TwinCities.com: Saint Thomas' Tommy Becker is the man in the middle of the UST Defense

TommieMedia.com: Who is Linfield and why is St. Thomas traveling to Oregon?

TommieMedia.com: UST post Game Interviews after Coe game

D3football's Daily Dose: Regional Final Predictions

D3football.com Notables: UST's Greg Morse is growing into the position

Beavertonvalleytimes.com: Linfield great and Southridge High Football Coach, Doug Dean, inducted into Linfield's Athletics Hall Of Fame

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wildcat11's personal Voicemail to all Linfield Students

Wildcat11 has tried calling out the students on the blog multiple times and even had a "Catdome 3000" campaign that brought our the alumni and older fan base but had no impact on the student body. So, WC11 decided to pick up the phone and call every last student in the Lindex. Below is the transcription of my voicemail:

"Hey, it's Wildcat11, I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please make it out to the ‘Catdome this weekend? University of Saint Thomas went through my phone and may be calling you out. So if you can, please take your butt out of your dorm room and make it to the ‘Catdome. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

West Region Final Preview: Linfield Vs. St. Thomas

(St. Thomas and their fans invade the 'Catdome this Saturday)

CATDOME!!!!!!!! Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest. Saturday is another HUGE day in the Catdome as Linfield will be hosting University of St. Thomas in the West Regional Finals of the NCAA Football Playoffs. Weather for Saturday is currently being forecasted as being partly sunny with a high of 44. In other words, it should be a picture perfect early December day in the Northern Willamette Valley. Man, I’m so geeked up that I’ve not been too functional so far this week but I’m holding it together.

After the Wildcats 53-21 2nd Round victory over Mary Hardin-Baylor you would think that the road might be a little smoother in the quarterfinals but as ESPN’s Lee Corso might say “Not so fast my friend.” The University of Saint Thomas is hands down the biggest and most fundamentally sound team that the ‘Cats will face the entire season. When I say biggest, I mean they are huge all over the field. Their starting 5 offensive linemen ave 295 lbs and check in at 6’ 5”, 6’ 6”, 6’ 3”, 6’ 4”, and 6’ 2”. On the division III level that is just incredible size. It just doesn’t stop there, their star running back, Ben Wartman, is a bruser at 6’ 2” and 205 lbs, and starting quarterback, Greg Morse, is listed at 6’ 5” and 215 lbs.

However, an a ironic twist the Tommies biggest playmaker is the only starting offensive player under 6 feet tall and comes in the package of 5’ 9” wide receiver, kick returner, punt returner Fritz Waldvogel. For Linfield fans, Waldvogel is a player in the model of Travis Masters (Linfield 2004-08) but even more explosive. This is a punishing running offense but they can hurt you with big passing attack when needed.

Defensively, the Linfield offense will see a huge defense that has only give up 14 points per game, racked up 32 sacks on the season, only allowed 35% 3rd down conversion, only give up 2.8 yards a rush, picked off quarterbacks 17 times, and only give up 276 yards of offense a game. Pretty much, they’re really dang good on defense too.

The more you look at UST the more you realize why they’ve punished teams all year long and in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Tommies cram it down your throat, they don’t turn it over, make big special teams plays with Waldvogel, and their defense out physicals their opponents. Mary Hardin-Baylor has had the most talent of any team Linfield has face but UST will be the best coached and most outstanding TEAM the ‘Cats will line up against all year long.

Wildcat11’s keys to victory:

Linfield’s Defensive Line vs UST Offense Line: Bottom line, this is a paramount battle in deciding who is going to move on and who’s season is going to end. Linfield has to find a way to limit the push of the huge UST offense line and keep those big bodies off the ‘Cats linebackers and safeties. It’s cliché to say this game will be decided in the trenches but it’s cliché for a reason….it’s the truth.

Limiting Fritz Waldvogel in the return game: This young man is a crazy, crazy weapon in the special teams game. Waldvogel has 3 punt returns for touchdowns and 3 kickoff returns for touchdown. He’s fast, elusive, and a threat to break every time he touches the ball in space. He avg. 37.4 yards in kickoff returns and 14.5 yards in punt returns. The Linfield special teams HAS to get it done this week and not only give up the big one to Waldvogel but not allow UST to set up shop beyond the UST 40 yard line off of kickoff returns. The performance of special teams is going to have a huge impact in the outcome on Saturday.

Linfield has to run the ball: UMHB did a fine job in slowing down the ‘Cats rushing attack and UST is another fine rushing defense but Linfield can’t go away from attempting to establish a running attack. The better the ‘Cats can move the ball on the ground, the harder it will be for the Tommies to slow down the other aspects of the ‘Cats offense. If the ‘Cats can rush the ball effectively then the ‘Cats are going to score points.

Start Strong: The Tommies are rolling teams to start out in the 1st quarter to the tune of 124 scored to only 30 points allowed. UST likes to establish the dominance early and keep pounding away. Linfield has also been a strong starting team and is going to need to be able stay close with UST early in the contest.

Continue to handle adversity: Linfield has been great in not getting too up when things are going well and not getting down when things are going bad. As long as the ‘Cats are able to maintain steady composure through all 60 minutes of the contest then they are going to be in a good position to win the game.

Overall:

‘Cats by 7. Like I’m going to pick against Linfield! Seriously, this is the biggest challenge to date and for good reason. With only 8 teams left standing, everyone is a top flight team and anyone can win this Saturday. If Linfield doesn’t perform then we’re not going to win this ball game, however, I really believe in this team and this staff. They are confident, intelligent, and I don’t think they’ll be afraid of the physical nature of this Saturday’s game. If Linfield is able to limit and overcome the adversity of the contest then look to Linfield to hold off UST and move on to the final four.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vote for Coach Smith for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

Vote NOW for Coach Smith in the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for the Division III level. The way this works is that the top 15 vote getters advance to an "evaluation" phase where the coaches must meet the Coaching Excellence, Sportsmanship and Integrity, Academic Excellence and Community Commitment criteria. And out of these eligible coaches, the top ten from Division III will pass through to the Finalist phase.

From there the winner will be announced on Jan 6th. So what does the winner get? More than just a trophy, this Award provides each coach with $50,000 to donate to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 grant to donate to his school's alumni association.

Right now, Coach Smith current sits in 16th place and is only 45 votes behind Mike Sirianni of Washington & Jefferson College. We don't have to get Coach Smith into 1st place but just in the top 15 for him to advance to the evaluation round where he would stack up VERY well this year.

You can vote once a day, so take the few minutes, sign up and vote everyday to get Coach Smith into the top 15. Do it not only for Coach Smith (who would be well deserving) but for the college to get a nice check.



**Update (12/2) Coach Smith has moved into 15th place With over 830 votes! Great work Catdome Family. Let's keep the pressure on and try to get him over 1,000 votes to make sure he doesn't get overtaken. 5 Alrights to Everybody!

'Cats Win! Linfield's defense drops the hammer on the Cru for 53-21 win.

(Photo By Brad Thompson: View Brad's Photos Here)

Saturday was a GREAT day to be a Wildcat. I really don't know where to start with this game recap because there are just so many different aspects of the game that jump out in terms of things going the 'Cats way. The final score of 53-21 isn't truly reflective of the talent level of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The 'Cru is a fine team and a fine program but they just ran into a Wildcat team that became a runaway freight train in the 2nd half and UMHB was on the tracks when the 'Cats came through.

This whole playoff run has been so enjoyable for this Wildcat. With the victory, Linfield has run their NCAA playoff program record to 11-4 since 2000 and has now 10 home playoff wins (9 at the 'Catdome and 1 "home" game victory at Willamette, BTW, Willamette only has 1 NCAA home playoff victory in their program history too...ZING!).

But for myself, this run is becoming one of the most enjoyable of them all since I've been around the Wildcat program (1994). In the prior playoff runs these type of deep pushes in the NCAA's where expected before the season even started. Linfield fans just expected those Wildcat teams to be in the West Regional final and make a push to the Stagg Bowl. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all of the success and memories of those great Wildcat teams but this year....it's something different.

I'm not saying the expectations where not there before the 2009 season kicked off, because they were. However, there was some uncertainty about what this team would do. Heck, the NWC coaches picked Willamette to finish first, other publications has Linfield finishing 3rd in the NWC behind Whitworth, and the Oregonian pre-season article mentioned that Linfield's winning season streak might be on the line with the monster schedule the 'Cats were facing. The 'Cats had big questions to answer and the only ones that might have truly believed that this team had stuff to make a run towards Salem might have been the staff and players themselves.

So here we are. Tomorrow the calendar hits December 1st and the Wildcats are still playing football. It's sweet and the tough road the program has been battling the past few seasons had made me enjoy this year a little more. Dare I say the adversity of the past seasons has made me a more "mature" Linfield Wildcat fan? Naw, probably not!

But now I'm saying to myself; Why can't they keep it rolling? Who is left standing to say "Linfield isn't good enough to win Walnut and Bronze?" I'm going to savor every moment of this playoff run but at the same time I'm saying to each of you: "Right now...why not Linfield?"

OK.....let's get to the game review at hand and dive into some The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

3rd quarter Defense. Remarkable how fast that game turned from a close contest to a full out roll job by the 'Cats. All phases of the Wildcat defense had a hand in making it happen. From the Defensive front pushing back and limiting the Cru running game, to the LB's and DB's making plays in the defensive backfield. That 3rd quarter might have gone down as one of the best quarters of Linfield defensive football and that's saying something.

Creating Turnovers. I have to correct people when they said after the game "If UMHB didn't give up the ball" That wasn't the case. It was Linfield taking the ball away from the Cru offense. UMHB wasn't putting the ball on the turf as much as the 'Cats were ripping it away and setting up the 'Cru quarterbacks for picks. Awesome playmaking.

Offense Got It Done: Mary Hardin-Baylor had a great defense. I mean, they were really good. But Linfield's offense is really good too and once the 'Cats made adjustments Linfield's offense really started to pick up steam and put together scoring drives of 58, 65, 79, and 72 yards to go along with being 5 for 5 in red zone chances. Just a gutsy effort by the Linfield offense.

4th down stand with 3:04 left in the 1st half: This was the turning point of the game. Linfield was down 14-6 with 3:04 left in the 1st half and The Cru went for it on 4th and 1 from Linfield's 34 yard line. If UMHB converts, then Linfield might have been looking at a 21-6 half time hole and the game might have had a different outcome. Instead, the 'Cats defense turns away UMHB and Linfield takes the ball and marches down the field to punch in a TD with :25 seconds left to make the score 14-13. That was a season changing moment.

Team's mental makeup: The early going of the game was shocking to say the least. The 'Cru just marched down the field twice and took what looked like was a commanding 14-3 early lead in the game. Instead of panicking and getting tight, the 'Cats just kept chipping away and adjusting their game plan. I didn't see panic just some frustration because Linfield knew they were not playing up to their standard. The 'Cats handled the adversity with grace and tenacity.

Linfield's older fan base: The Linfield alumni fan base just keeps getting it done. With the college closed for Thanksgiving and the student support was once again small it was up to the older Linfield fan base to knock it out of the park in terms of their support for the 'Cats. The crowd was loud and proud. I saw so many former classmates and former players that I haven't seen in years at the game and they rallied around this team. The official attendance was only listed as 2,500 but it seemed much bigger to me than that. Awesome showing.

The Bad:

Limited Running Game: This falls more into giving credit to The 'Cru because they did a great job in limiting the 'Cats run game to only 1.7 yards a carry (58 total rush yards) on Saturday. Obviously, I know Linfield's better than that and are going to have to be successful running the ball if the 'Cats will want to move on in the NCAA's.

Drops: During the game there we about 3 dropped balls in the passing game. I'm not too upset about it because the drops came from guys that I know are sure handed and I know Boehme wouldn't hesitate throwing the same passes to them again. That may seem nitpicking but those passes could have been big gainers for the 'Cats.

First two defensive possessions: Again, this falls more towards credit to the Cru but they moved the ball so dang well those first two possessions. We all know that Linfield made their adjustments but the Catdome was holding their breath for that first quarter.

The Ugly:

Come on...perfect late November day, Linfield winning 53-21 over a great program, and finding out that Linfield gets to host the West Region Finals. I don't think there is anything ugly about that.

Linfield vs UMHB Post Game Interviews - Defense



Wildcat11 talked to Defensive Tackles Tyler Steele and Paul Nishizaki and Defensive Ends Eric Hedin and Ian Estrada about the 'Cats defensive in Linfield's 53-21 2nd round victory over the Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Oh yeah, we couldn't leave our kickers out in the cold so we also chatted up Punter Josh Repp who had a great day pinning UMHB.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Linfield vs UMHB Post Game Interviews - Offense



Wildcat11 talked with offensive guard Jordan Barnes and Wide Receiver Trevor Patterson after the Wildcats 53-21 2nd round playoff victory over the Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor. What a day to be a Wildcat!

KGW's Linfield vs UMHB Game Recap



Portland's KGW (Channel 8) was also there yesterday and he's their take on the 'Cats runaway train win over the 'Cru.

Linfield/UMHB Game Story - KATU



Portland area station KATU (Channel 2) was at the Catdome yesterday and captured some nice shots of the 'Cats big 53-21 win over Mary Hardin-Baylor. We'll have more stories and interviews as the day goes on so keep checking back.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Around The CatdomeO'sphere

Better late that never! Sorry but the Thanksgiving holiday really threw a wrench into the normal weekly postings of the ADvantage. I feel bad this is late but there is a TON of Linfield news about last weekends big Round 1 win and the upcoming game with the Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Really geeked up beyond believe for this game tomorrow. I would post up my weekly game preview but at this point I just don't have the time. This should get you through till game time as there is a gaggle of links to get you to kickoff. Catdome baby!!!!

News-Register.com: 'Cats clobber Kingsmen for first round NCAA win.

The Oregonian: Linfield use ground game to ground up CLU

Portland Fox Sports (Video): Linfield over Cal Lutheran Highlights

News-Register.com: Linfield's Defense delivers the salt in 1st round of NCAA's

Statesman Journal: Linfield's 1st half too much for Cal Lu.

LA Daily News: Cal Lu gets taught a lesson in 1st round of NCAA's.

News-Register.com: Linfield's Aaron Boehme is damn good.

The Oregonian: 'Cats, 'Cru, 'Catdome, need we write more?

TDTnews.com: UMHB player thinks '04 Cru had a better team than Linfield. Guess that's why they took second.

The Oregonian: Aaron Williams gives Linfield offense a rush.

TDTnews.com: The 'Cru is thankful to still be playing.

kdhnews.com: Mary Hardin-Baylor gets rematch with Linfield...Too bad the players on each team were still in high school when these teams last played.

TDTnews.com: UMHB's coach has memories of loss in '04 Stagg Bowl.

Theoutlookonline: 'Cats Fisher picks twice to help land Linfield the win.

kdhnews.com: 'Cru turns away the Dutch to advance to 2nd round.

Statesman Journal.com: Linfield's Slezak gets shot a playoffs.

D3 Daily Dose: D3football.com crew makes their round 2 picks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emory Hunt Like UMHB



Now I have no idea who Emory Hunt is or what Footballgameplan.com is all about but Emory gives us his breakdown of the UMHB vs Linfield round 2 playoff game this weekend. Emory likes the run game of UMHB to be the difference.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Linfield/Cal Lu Post Game Interviews



Wildcat11 stuck his camera in the mugs of some 'Cats to get some feedback on Saturday's 38-17 NCAA 1st round victory over the Kingsmen of Cal Lu. We spoke with defensive end Ka'ohu McCabe, Offensive Guard Scott Millenbach, Running Back Simon Lamson, Corner Taylor Skore, and WR Gunnar Cederberg.

‘Cats Win! Linfield dethrones Cal Lutheran in Round 1 of NCAA’s

(Photo by Brad Thompson: View Brad's Photos Here)

YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Now that’s what I’m talking ‘bout! It was a great day to be a Wildcat as Linfield jumped all over the Kingsmen of California Lutheran to advance from the 1st round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Man, it felt like old times in the ‘Catdome with a crowd that was into the game from the opening kickoff to the overwhelming energy that was radiating off the players as they came up with big play after big play. It was just a fun day to be a Linfield Wildcat. I couldn’t be happier for the players, staff, fans, parents, and everyone that helps support the ‘Cats. A very satisfying day of Linfield Wildcat football.

I don’t want to jump right into the next round match up with Mary Hardin-Baylor because there is plenty of time to do that, so let’s just take the remainder of the day as fans and finish soaking in this past Saturday. Yeah, the wind was brutal but once again the football gods blessed the Catdome with not a single drop of rain. It was pretty wild because just a few hours later I thought that we were going to need to build a raft with the amount of rain coming down. It reminded me so much of the 04/05 playoffs when the weather looked awful but by the time kickoff would roll around it was near perfect conditions for late November football. It just feels like everything involving Linfield football has their Mojo working…from the performance of the team, the contribution from the alumni and older fans, to the weather. Great things are going on in the ‘Catdome.

The Good

The Defense: It wasn’t too long ago when people were freaking out about the Wildcat defense when a defeated UPS squad came into the ‘Catdome and looked like the Oregon Ducks offense. I was getting heckling phone calls from my SJU “friend” and the Northwest Conference board was near implosion. However, everyone associated or that has been following the team knew this was a very good defense. The stats have been fooling some because of some late scores against the young backup defensive units and a single bad performance vs UPS.

So it was great to see this defense get to shine and really put on a great performance vs what has been an explosive Cal Lu offense. Linfield sacked, harassed, and hammered CLU's quarterback all game long and the Wildcat defensive backs put on a show with play making picks and blanket coverage. Their best performance of the year and I believe they are just beginning to peak.

Linfield Rushing Attack: Awesome. I haven’t seen a Linfield team run the ball this well since the great 2002 squad. Cal Lutheran has a good defensive backfield so Linfield really needed to get the run game going and they did that with a balance of bone jarring runs between the tackles mixed in with speed and execution on the edges. The Linfield offensive line AND wide receivers did a great job in the run game on Saturday and should get the offensive game ball.

Pass Rush: Eight Sacks on the day and it wasn’t just one guy carrying the load. The ‘Cats had 7 different players get a piece of a sack on Saturday and they did a great job of keeping Toilolo contained in the pocket while putting constant pressure on the CalLu QB. It was a Jailbreak!

Pick City: Along with the 8 sacks, Linfield also piled up 4 picks on the day. It was a perfect blend of sometimes the defensive front forcing a bad throw for the pick or sometimes it was the coverage of the DBs that were allowing the rush to get there. This young defensive backfield is growing up right in front of us and its fun to watch.

Maika Kunioka getting’ it done: Our Frosh place kicker was a perfect 5 for 5 in PAT’s and nailed a 38 yard field goal try. Getting those PAT’s converted and pinning up those field goal tries are huge aspects of playoff football and Maika passed his first playoff test with flying colors.

‘Cats Backs: I know these guys deflect attention away but quarterback Aaron Boehme, and RBs Aaron Williams and Simon Lamson need to get called out individually for their hardnosed effort on Saturday. Yes, it’s a team game but these guys played brilliantly on Saturday and should get their props. Well done fellas.

The Bad

Bad 1st half Turnovers: These were bad turnovers where Linfield just put the ball on the ground without CalLu having to do much work and a bad overthrow that led to a big end of half score for CalLu. The turnovers (along with the kick return) gave CalLu everything they put up on the scoreboard on Saturday and it’s just a reminder that taking care of the ball is paramount in the playoffs.

Giving up big kick return: Linfield’s special teams had a good day at the office except for the one bad moment which led to a huge return for the Kingsmen. It was a momentum stopper and allowed CLU to hang around the contest. It only takes a handful of plays to change a game and you don’t want one of them to be giving up a big kick return.

The Ugly

Instead of again bashing the Linfield student body for another lackluster showing (they were again pathetic), I’m going to praise the alumni base for getting out to the game and getting loud for the Wildcats. I saw former players that now live in Seattle/Tacoma, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and just from all areas of the Pac NW at the game. They and the Linfield faithful were awesome on Saturday. They were loud and helped give the ‘Cats that little sharper edge that a home crowd should. I think all the players would want to thank you guys for coming out and getting behind this team. It’s filled with fun and hard working young men so it was great to see so many that have come before them out at the ‘Catdome giving all they could from behind the sidelines. Great work Catdome family!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Around The CatdomeO'sphere

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE VALLEY! Acutally, it's wet and nasty but I do love it. I guess that's the Oregonian in me speaking. Lots of playoff chatter this week in our Friday round up. I hope that tomorrow's forecast doesn't keep you away from the 'Catdome. I know you all have rain gear and that Oregon/Oregon State are both out of state so you don't have an excuse not to make it out to Linfield. Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow to root on our 'Cats! Catdome!

Portland Tribune: Linfield's hard work all leads to "Right Now"

News-Register: The 'Cats makes sure PLU can't find a way.

LA Daily News: Cal Lu is confident as they head up to the Catdome

Oregonlive.com: Linfield has their playoff dancing shoes back on

Statesman Journal: 'Cats back in post season for 21st time

Santa Cruz Sentinel: The Wildcats Aaron Williams is gettin' it done.

LA Daily News.com: Cal Lutheran QB Toilolo happy to be here

WeOneHumble: The Top 10 Linfield games I wish I would have seen since moving to STL.

Statesman Journal: James Day likes Linfield to win 34-17.

VCSpreps.com: CalLu's trigger man has come into his own.

PLU Mast: Lutes made it look respectable but it was never in doubt.

D3dailydose: The D3.com staff picks scores for round one. Guess who they like for the Linfield game?

D3football.com: Around The Nation's Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments

Extra:

News-Register.com: Linfield's Delta Alpha chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity extends a helping hand to local Mac charity. Good work brothers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Linfield vs California Lutheran Playoff Game Preview!

I have to tell you that it's so sweet to have playoff football back at the Catdome. Linfield has played 9 playoff games at Maxwell field this decade (10 at home if we include the 2003 vs. Wartburg game played at Willamette) and there is something so pure about these types of games during the second season. The combination of cold weather, the top level of competition, the intensity from the Catdome crowd, and the knowledge that it's win or go home, just makes each of these games something to cherish. I'm pumped up for this Saturday and it's going to be a good one.

California Lutheran, the Champions of the SCIAC, will be Linfield's first round opponent and they are a good one. From watching their games on KadyTV.com, Linfield is playing a complete team that has speed, play makers, and is well coached. This is no gimme for our Wildcats and if Linfield thinks that CalLu is going to just roll over because we're Linfield then it's going to be a long day.

It's going to be a classic mid November day in the Northern Willamette Valley (To all those Wine Snobs, I refuse to call if Yamhill Valley) and by classic I mean wet and cold. ADvantage Catdome's offical weather service, Accuweather.com, is calling for rain and wind with a high of 46 on Saturday during game time so there is an added story line to the ball game in regards to how each team can handle the elements.

This is going to be the Wildcats biggest test to date. Is this Linfield team going to be able to elevate their play even a step further and handle what looks like to be a evenly matched opponent? I believe that Linfield is going to answer the bell and I hope our 'Cats prove me right.

Wildcat11's Key To Victory:

Start strong: Linfield needs to continue to get out of the gates playing great football. I've said this over and over again, the 'Cats don't need to be so jacked up that they're bouncing off the walls or so low that they are not ready....but just find that right tension where Linfield is ticking away like a Swiss watch. That readiness comes from good preparation so I hope the 'Cats have been having a heck of a week so far.

MUST limit the Cal Lutheran running game: The Kingsmen has a balanced offense but their most explosive weapon is Senior running back Brian Stuart. The speedy and powerful Stuart, is avg 5.2 yards a carry, racks up over 100 yards a contest and has punched in 14 rushing TDs on the year. Linfield has to put a premium on trying to take away Stuart and the running game and try to force a balanced offense to turn to the air. The Wildcat defensive line has to have a big day.

Linfield has to force their will on the ground: Linfield has been pretty balanced throughout the year, and while we need to limit Cal Lutheran from running the ball, this is something Linfield has to be able to do effectively in order to make the other aspects of our offense click. The Cal Lutheran defense likes to play with a 3 man front and really bring blitz after blitz (run blitz and pass blitz). If the Wildcats can get the run game going that will create all sorts of issues for Cal Lutheran in trying to defend the play action passing game.

Special Teams has to match Cal Lutheran: The Kingsmen have a pair of outstanding kickers that avg 39.3 yards punting and have hit seven touch backs on kickoffs. This is a phase of the game that Linfield needs to have a great effort in with regards to pushing back Cal Lutheran's starting field position on kickoffs. I'd love to see the Kingsmen not start a drive past the 35 yard line all game long. The deeper Linfield can push them back the better off 'Cats will be.

Contain Jericho Toilolo in the pocket. Well, that was easy to type, but I'm not sure how easy it will be in practice. The 'Cats need to try to take away the legs of Cal Lutheran's quarterback. Toilolo is Cal Lu's second leading rushing and in all the video I've watched I haven't seen one designed run for the QB. He's very unconventional with his play and that has to give defensive coordinators fits. This is sort of a "darned if you do" type of situation because Toilolo has a capable arm and good receivers but I'd rather make him beat us throwing the ball in the pocket than killing us with his legs.

Which team will be better on 3rd down? Linfield has converted 46% of 3rd down situations this year while Cal Lu has converted 44% percent of the time. This will be a huge stat on Saturday in determining who's going to be moving on.

The Linfield passing game vs Cal Lu's play making defensive backfield. Aaron Boehme and the Wildcat receiving corp have their work cut out for them in the passing game this weekend. The Kingsmen has a fantastic set of DBs and they're touted as one of the best groups in the country. Linfield's passing game has been stellar all year but this is where the rubber meets the road. The conditions are not going to be ideal for passing the ball but Linfield has to find success in making plays in the passing game.

Overall:

'Cats by 7. Beyond the above there are other things that could impact the outcome (turnovers, ball control, penalties, etc) but the bottom line is that the team that comes out and is better at executing, handling adversity, and is able to make more plays is going to win. I think this is a special Linfield squad and has a chance to go deep this post season but they are facing an excellent team this weekend. This will be a good game for 60 minutes but in the end I just think Linfield will have enough to move on. It's going to be a battle but I see Linfield playing a home game over the Thanksgiving holiday.