Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Game 8 Preview: Linfield (6-1) vs Whitworth (4-4)

Much is on the line this Saturday as your Linfield Wildcats will close our their regular season home schedule by hosting the Whitworth Pirates. For the 'Cats, a victory means at least a share of the NWC title and locking up the automatic pool A playoff bid to the NCAA playoffs. Willamette and PLU are sitting in 2nd place and since the 'Cats have the head-to-head victories over both squads the 'Cats have the auto bid tie breaker right. This is just another major game for the 'Cats in their quest to win another NWC title and the goal of playing in the last DIII game of the season in Salem, Va.

Standing in our 'Cats way is an old nemesis who has been a thorn in the 'Cats side over the past four years. The Whitworth Pirates come into the 'Catdome with a very stingy defense and ball control offense (Tullyball) and looking to recapture the magic of the 2006 season when the Rats walked away by breaking Linfield's 14 game win streak over the Rats in a Rain Soaked 17-13 nail biter. That win over Linfield stopped the 'Cats 5 year streak as the NWC champs and knocked the 'Cats out of the playoff race. While Linfield has been able to win the last two games over the Rats it hasn't been easy and the stinging memory of that 2006 game still lingers in the fans and coaches minds.

This game is going to require a full effort of all three phases of this Wildcat team. Coach Tully is going to try to shorten the game with a ball control offense and try to force Linfield to turn the ball over and into mistakes. On occasion, Tully will break out a trick play or a fake punt deep in his own territory but you know what you're going to get when you line up vs Whitworth. An ball hawking athletic defense and a big offensive line that is going to try to run it down your throat but isn't afraid to throw the ball down field.

Get To Know A Wildcat
Bubba and Taylor Avritt (#2) enjoy a Willamette beat down.

Bubba Kukahiko, #42, Senior - Linfield

Hometown: Lahaina, Hawaii

High school: Kamehameha High School (Maui Campus)

Major: Business

Favorite Place in Mac to eat: Muchas, Sandwich Express, Chan's

Favorite Music: I like all kines of music, yup even some country

Favorite TV Show: Buried Life, The Office, Swamp People

Do you have a Friday night before game ritual?: Dinner with the roomamtes (Sam, Axel, Testa), and "Hot Seat" with the young linebackers...Testing them on the adjustments and stunts

Favorite Pro Football Team: Ravens

Class you look forward to the most at Linfield: Sales and Sales Management

Mac or PC: PC

What's is your CPU homepage set to: Google

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

Favorite road trip: Texas

Least Favorite NWC road trip: Whitworth

Favorite Movie that Coach Smith has picked for a bus ride home: The last of the Mohicans

Favorite Coach Rombach Saying: "Feet, Feet, Feet, Feet, Feet"

Who has the best BBQ skills on the team: I will take that award...Our house makes some pretty good BBQ

Wildcat11's Keys To Victory:

Take the fight to Whitworth from the opening kickoff: The Rats take pride in being an athletic and physical team. There is nothing fancy about how they go about their business. Linfield needs to come out of the game with the mindset we are the more physical team and set that tone early and often. Be the Hammer.

Control The Rats Running Game: Whitworth is a ball control offense (leads the NWC in time of possession at 32:30 a game) that loves running counters and zone based plays until the cows come home. The Rats average 152.5 yards a rush at 4 yards a pop and have punched in 14 rush TDs on the year. This is a fun game to play as a defensive lineman because you don't have to worry about a bunch or rules or changes at the LOS. Whitworth is going to try to force their will on you upfront so it's a matter if you're a better football player than the guy in front of you. It's vital for our defensive line to be better than their offensive line.

Aaron Boehme and the WR core have a day: As it stands right now, the Whitworth pass defense currently ranks 1st in the NWC in pass defense is only giving up 172 yards in the air a game and only 12 passing TD's. Boehme and the WR core have a huge challenge in front of them and need to answer the bell on if they can have a big day against a very good pass defense.

Win the Field Position Game: Special teams has to have a huge day in kicking and covering the ball. The Rats do a decent job in kickoff returns and I can't stress enough that if we're able to pin their offense deep on kickoffs, Linfield is going to have some shots on getting the ball back in great field possession. Not only is coverage huge but we need our return game to do some damage too. Let's get it done!

Protect the ball, limit silly mistakes: Whitworth is a team that feeds off of creating turnovers and defensive scores and will be looking to strip the ball and gamble for picks anytime they can. As usual, the 'Cats have to put a premium on taking care of the rock. Along with that, let's not shoot ourselves in the football by extending their drives with penalties or putting our offense in bad spots with still false starts, illegal motions, etc.

Remember to enjoy the opportunity: How many teams would love to trade places with Linfield right now? A lot. Remember to relish this opportunity to play for a conference title and a chace to get to go to a playoff and decide a championship on the field. What an awesome thing to be a part of. Saturday is payday so remember that when you strap up those shoulder pads to play hard, have fun, and savor playing in the 'Catdome one more time.


'Cats by 17.
I'm looking for the 'Cats to come out of the gates on a mission in what could be a rain filled Saturday. If Linfield just focuses on their performance and do what they do then there is not one reason why the 'Cats should control this ball game. Whitworth is a worth opponent but Linfield should absolutely control this contest from pillar to post.


CH said...

Good analysis, but I think this one will be a little worse than 17 point. I think it'll be Linfield by 24.

Chris said...

Go Cats! I got to watch my first game since seeing the Hardin Simmon's game in TX last year and this team is doing great. My favorite moment:
The second team Defense stopping Menlo at the goal line to end the game!