Monday, October 5, 2009

'Cats Win! Linfield climbs all over Oaks.

A solid effort for the Linfield Wildcats propelled the Catdome to a 31-7 road victory over Menlo College at the Oaks homecoming game. The home crowd witnessed a suffocating Wildcat defense hold the Oaks to a season low 159 total yards on the day.

The Wildcat offense faced what I thought to be a pretty decent Menlo defense and was able to methodically put up 31 points on the day. The 'Cats had to overcome a number of issue with being on the road and having players banged up or ill but once again our 'Cats fought through the adversity and notched Linfield's first NWC victory of the year.

The Good

Road Warriors: For the 3rd consecutive week the 'Cats made the most of a long road trip and overcame all of the trappings the road can offer. I think this speaks to the togetherness and mental make-up of this group up to this point. As a road team, you can't expect to get any breaks or calls so you just have to figure out if you're going to dwell on the adversity or overcome it. So far, this Wildcat team keeps blasting through the obstacles. Great job.

Total Defensive effort: The 'Cats defense was great on Saturday and especially in the 3rd quarter. The 'Cats gave up a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter but after that the Linfield defense hammered the Oaks in forcing Menlo to zero points in their next 10 possessions. The defensive line pressure was making life miserable for Menlo's passing attack and once again our Linebackers and DBs were playmakers in the defensive backfield. Just a fine effort.

Pass Protection: Last week vs SOU I was a little concerned about the amount of hits Aaron Boehme took vs the Raiders but the 'Cats offense line took to the challenge and had a much better effort this week vs Menlo. There were a few times Boehme felt the pressure and had to use his legs to extend the play but he didn't take a single big hit all game long. Great job big fellas.

'Cats stepping in and stepping up: Linfield had to leave some of our starters and rotation players at home and one starter actually became ill before the game so the call came to a number of 'Cats to step in and show what they had either as a starter or as a heavy rotation player. I think there were a number of players that took that opportunity and ran with it. It speaks to the depth the coaching staff has built in the program and it bodes well for the 2nd half stretch of the season when team depth comes into play.

The Bad:

I really would like to stop using the term "The Bad" for this team because but it just wouldn't sound right if this segment was called "The Good, The Could Do Better, The Ugly". I believe there are things the 'Cats could have done better on Saturday and this is just one 'Cat's opinion.

Missed Opportunities and Field Goals: I'm a big believer in Freshman place kicker Maika Kunioka but he just had one of those days where he didn't have his best stuff and missed 3 of 4 tries. Maika will shake that off and bounce back because we're going to need him down the stretch. Linfield also could have punched in a few other chances but Menlo's defense was able to keep the game reasonable at least during the first half.

Passing Game: Again, the passing game has been excellent all year long and will be during the 2nd half of the year but the passing attack just wasn't clicking as it has in previous games. The 'Cats completed 14 of 36 passing attempts and you do have to give Menlo some credit as their defensive backs played well but we didn't have our best stuff throwing the rock on Saturday. I fully expect Boehme and the WR corp to be ticked and come out blazing next Saturday.

Blocked Punt: Kickoff coverage was great, we had a nice kickoff return to start the second half, but getting that punt blocked late in the 2nd quarter almost allowed Menlo to get into the game going into the halftime. This is the 2nd week in a row where a special teams play almost breathed life into the opposition. We need this group to be stellar the next three weeks if Linfield is going to snatch that NWC crown.

The Ugly:

The Menlo PA system: You all have seen the bumper sticker that says "If it's too loud then you're too old" well I guess I'm freaking too old because the Menlo PA system is downright ridiculous. It looks like they've dragged out two speakers out of the basement of the Theta Chi house, posted them up on either side of the Menlo bleachers, and then crank them up to an 11 out of 10. Also, I don't think the Menlo game management realizes the make up of a crowd for a small college football game. Along with students, you have a number of parents, grand parents, and just a wide range of ages (very young to very old) that make up the crowd. I have nothing against 'Lil Wayne or Coheed and Cambria but I just don't think I want them blowing out my ear drums at a Menlo College football game. I'm not saying you can't have some current or relevant music but please I'm begging Menlo to turn it down about 30 notches and mix in some tracks that folks of all generations can nod their head to.

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