Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Game 7 Preview: Linfield (5-1) vs. Menlo (3-5)

 Back at the 'Catdome this Saturday in what could be potentially a trap game for our surging Wildcats. Linfield will host the recently NWC departed Menlo College Oaks who left the NWC before the 2010 season to become a member of the NAIA. Obviously, this is a non-conference game now but it's still a large game in the grand scheme of the Wildcats 2010 season. Not only are your Wildcats playing for the 2010 NWC crown and the automatic playoff birth that comes with the conference championship, but the 'Cats are also building a case for seeding and trying to get a potential home playoff game in the 1st round. With Linfield having a loss on the season the 'Cats need to bolster their case the best they can if they want to have any shot at playing in the 'Catdome come the 1st round of the 2010 playoffs.

However, this won't come easy. Don't be fooled by Menlo's 3-5 record. They are a dangerous team that has had a brutally tough 2010 schedule. Menlo started the season red hot in jumping out to a 3-1 record and a NAIA top 25 ranking but have dropped their last four to their former NWC mates. However, each of those game could have gone the other way in the Oaks favor and the difference in a few of these game was a just one or two plays. Menlo has size, speed, athleticism, and they have been through the battles already. They are a tested and tough team that would love nothing more than to come up to Linfield and put one on the 'Cats. This is a team Linfield can't sleep on.

The strength of this Menlo team is their defense. They only allow 24 points a game and are only allowing a 316 yards a game. Now you may say, Wildcat11 that is not super impressive but if you consider the Oaks offense has struggled somewhat this season (17.2 points per game, 262.1) then that tells me that the Oaks defense has been under pressure the entire season and those are pretty solid numbers considering the 'Oaks offense hasn't been as dynamic as in the past. It's going to be one of those games where we find out where this Linfield team is headed. The 'Cats are coming off a huge win up a PLU so we'll see if Linfield can put that behind them and focus on improving and coming at Menlo hard. Even if this game won't effect the NWC title race, I believe it's another huge game for Linfield in terms of build the foundation the 'Cats will need if they are serious about making a statement in November/December. This is a must win for Linfield on a number of level.

Get To Know A Wildcat

Chris Saunders, #85, Senior - Tight End

Hometown: San Francisco, Ca.

High School: Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory

Major: History

Favorite Place in Mac to eat: El Primo

Favorite Music: Hip-Hop, mainly Bay Area artists like Andre Nickatina and Mac Dre

Favorite TV Show: Either It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Breaking Bad

Do you have a TV Show that's a guilty pleasure: Not really, I did watch a few episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager with Tommy Patrick when it first came out.

Do you have a Friday night before game ritual: For Home Games I usually clean my room. I am not sure why, it might be thats the only time I get all week to do it.

Favorite Pro Football Team: Niners Baby!

Class you look forward to the most at Linfield: Understanding Jazz

Mac or PC: Mac

What's is your CPU homepage set to: I know its lame, but Google

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Playstation 2. I never graduated to the new systems.

Favorite NWC road trip: Menlo. I got to see my friends and family.

Least Favorite NWC road trip: Whitworth

Favorite Movie that Coach Smith has picked for a bus ride home: Iron Man

Favorite Coach Hire Saying: "Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome! HBR Brudda!"

Who has the best hands on the team: This is a heavily debated question, but the reality is that the entire Tight End receiving core has by far the best hands on the team. I would have to give some love to my fellow H-backs as well, because they do a lot of blocking that softens up theirs hands as well. So overall it goes to the Tight Ends, then the H's in a close 2nd.

Wildcat11's Keys To Victory

Get of the gate early and don't left off the gas: The worse thing that could happen this Saturday is if the 'Cats come out of the gates stumbling and breath life in the Oaks. Linfield needs to come out on the opening kickoff ready to bring the hammer and not take the foot off the gas. The 'Cats don't have to be perfect but I looking for Linfield to be sharp on their assignments and emotionally ready to play Linfield football.

Be the more physical team: Menlo has size on both sides of the ball and want to impose their will up front. Linfield needs to take the fight to the Oaks upfront on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball.

Sharp passing game: I'd like to see the 'Cats passing attack be lights out this week. I thought Linfield missed some things last week vs PLU with some of the incomplete passes and decisions. Menlo is going to try their best to be stout against the run game so let's cut 'em up with throwing the ball.

Do not hurt ourselves: It was the ugly in our PLU game wrap and a major point of improvement I'd like to see on Saturday: penalties. Let's put ourselves in the best position possible to be successful and try to minimize the yellow hankies.

Pin them deep: Starting field position could be huge this game. The 'Cats kickoff team and punt team need to keep shinning and pin the Oaks as deep as possible to try to win the field position game. If Linfield can create short fields for the Wildcat offense to work with it could be a major factor in the contest.


'Cats by 14. Again, if Linfield has a great week of practice and come to play Linfield football on Saturday then the 'Cats should take care of business vs Menlo. However, like I've stated before this is a dangerous Menlo team that has nothing to lose at this point. I'm sure the Oaks coaching staff has been in their kids ears all week about busting up Linfield's party on Saturday. The 'Cats need to be game ready and take the fight to the Oaks and now think Menlo will just roll over. I believe the 'Cats will be ready and rack up another solid Linfield win. Go 'Cats!

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