|Cruz Castillo was beaten like a drum all game long.|
View and Contact Brad Thompson for game photos here
Let's not forget about the offense either who put in a workman-line 457 yards up on a pretty solid Menlo defense. Linfield is leading the NWC in Point per game (43.0) and total offense per game at 477.1 yards per game. So if you add the two together we have the NWC leading defense and NWC leading offense which means we're a dang good football team. I know that is crack analysis on my part but I am a master of the obvious.
As for the actual contest itself it's hard me to gauge the readiness and emotion of the 'Cats as I was listening (watching when I could) to the game on-line because of a Saturday work commitment. Obviously, the 'Cats were prepared and took care of business but I still think some aspects of the team can improve greatly and this team has to address these little items in order to be the team they want to be and will be required of them in order to finish the year 8-1 and be a major threat in the Playoffs to make it to Salem, Va. Next week, the 'Cats are back to NWC play and a chance to clinch a share of the NWC title and the Automatic bid. Another HUGE game for this 2010 team.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Not giving Menlo any life: This was a big key in the mental part of this match-up. Menlo's head coach is a very emotional guy and that trickles down into the mental makeup of his team. You give Menlo life and they will give you everything you can handle but if you get them down early and keep the steak in their heart you'll have them by their cash and prizes all day long. The 'Cats jumped them early and never let them off the mat. 5 all-rights for bring the wood to the Oaks.
0 for the Oaks: It's always a major accomplishment to shut out an opponette on any given Saturday. There are so many ways you can lose the 0 on the scoreboard so you always have to give a standing ovation to a team and their defense when you hang a big fat zero on the board. A great effort and a special shoutout to the young bucks who preserved the dounut on that great goal line stand at the end of the game. Awesome!
Piling up the yardage: Like it was mentioned above the 'Cats piled up 457 yards vs a defense that was only giving up 260 yards coming into the game. The 'Cats had a well balanced day at the office to with the split being 166 yards rushing and 291 yards through the air (37 rush attempts/40 pass attempts). I love seeing that balance in our offense!
Kickoff Team: OUTSTANDING! I can't stress more what a weapon this team has been this year. Such a huge improvement this season and this unit seems to get better and better. Menlo's starting possession after Linfield kickoffs where on their own 24, 30, 25, 25, 24, 31, 30. I cannot understate just home important this stat is for this Linfield team. Just a great effort and this group should be applauded.
No Offensive Turnovers: Yes, we had two turnovers (will get to those in a minute) but the offense had zero of those to their name. Great job in taking care of the football on the ground and through the air. If we don't hurt ourselves with turnovers Linfield is going to be one of the toughest outs in the country during the second season.
Stinking Yellow Flags. Seriously, WC11 almost threw his CPU out of my window during the 1st half of the game as it seemed that every time the 'Cats did something positive it was negated by a penalty. The 'Cats were flagged 9 times for a total of 73 yards. The flag sequence is as followed: Personal Foul on Defense (15 yards), Illegal Motion (5 yards), False Start (5 yards), Holding on Punt (1/2 distance to goal), False Start (5 yards), Personal Foul on Offense(15 yards), Holding (10 Yards), Offsides on Kickoff (5 yards), Personal Foul on Defense(15 yards).
I can understand some holding calls and occasionally not being able to hold your water on the snap but ENOUGH of the personal foul garbage. 3 personal fouls is way too many and especially coming from a Linfield team. Clean it up.
Not Catching The Ball on Punts: Two fumbled punts and two turnovers. One of the kicking game rules is "Catch The Ball". That was just potential disaster along with keeping the defense out on the field too long and taking away snaps from the offense. I have great confidence in our returners but we need to square that away.
Attendance: 1,278. Ugh...that's just a pathetic effort by the Wildcat fan base. I'm lumped into this ugly too as I wasn't at the 'Catdome so I'm partially to blame also. I'm going to blame Menlo too as they are a life sucking force when it comes to attendance when they are on the road. Last weekend Menlo at Willamette only drew 975 fans and this week the 'Catdome could only scroung up 1,278. In fact, Menlo coming to the 'Catdome has always keeps the crowd away. The Oaks are like a fan repellent. Here is the rundown of attendance of Menlo at the 'Catdome over the past decade: 2008: 2,111 fans, 2006: 2,014 fans, 2004: 1,800 fans, 2002: 2,400 fans, 2000: 2,000 fans.
In watching the on-line stream the student section blew. That's what I get for heaping praise on them after their 1st two efforts (when they showed up in droves). Boehme could have fired 10 rockets into the South Endzone bleachers and not hit a single person. The 'Catdome nation needs to Hulk-Up this next Saturday (rain or shine) and be a factor as the 'Cats try to clinch the NWC and playoff slot. Get the word out now!