Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013 Game 2 preview: Linfield (1-0) vs Cal Lutheran (0-1)

Do I know you?  Yeah, I think we've met before.
Well, if you’re going to open up your home season you might as well do it against one of the best teams in the nation.  Coming off a 71-21 road pasting over the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys, Linfield will kick off the home schedule against one of the most familiar foes of the ‘Cats over the past four seasons, The California Lutheran Kingsmen.  This will be the 7th meeting between Linfield and CLU since 2009 and even with Linfield holding a decisive advantage in the win column the series has been highly competitive, especially the down-to-the-wire last two meetings.  I’m expecting more of the same this Saturday in the ‘Catdome.

Linfield was able to answer some of the questions heading into the season last week but the ‘Cats are dealing with a whole other animal on Saturday.  Hardin-Simmons was not a very good football team so don’t expect for the ‘Cats to just saunter out and put on a duplicate performance.  Linfield did some great things last week but in taking a look back at the game they left plenty of chances on the field to make more plays and this team has a whole lot of room to improve as the season moves along.  Linfield’s depth defensively is going be tested greatly this week as CLU will be the most physical offensive team Linfield will see during the regular season.  CLU’s offensive line is big, excellent run blockers, and they have two hardnosed running backs that are going to attack Linfield all game. On the other side of the ball, Linfield was able to do whatever they wanted route running wise and we already know that CLU prides their defense on the ability to man up players and win the one-on-one battle.  Linfield QB Josh Yoder and the Wildcat receivers are going to face a very good challenge in the passing game. 

CLU did drop hard fought home game to what I think is an excellent PLU team.  PLU defense is one of the better run stopping groups in the country and at times CLU was able to force their will on the Lutes.  CLU’s new QB had an OK day but the ‘Lutes secondary have made a number of QB’s grind over the years.  I think CLU’s passing game is much better than what was shown last week.  Overall, CLU is as talented as ever.  They have good depth, size, speed, and players that can make plays on both sides of the ball.  The past two Linfield/CLU games could have gone either way and if Linfield doesn’t execute at a high level for the duration of this game, the Kingsmen are more than capable to walk out of the ‘Catdome with a victory.  It has to be all hands on deck this weekend for the ‘Cats.

Get To Know A Wildcat

#9 Michael Link, Senior, Corner

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Sandwich Express

Favorite Movie: Remember the Titans. Classic.

Favorite Music: Never can go wrong with a little bit of country.

Favorite TV Show: The League (WC11 note: every clip I found on YouTube was too raunchy to post)

Favorite Pro Football team: Circle the wagons! Buffalo Bills. It's finally their year.

Class I Most Look Forward to: Photography

Mac or Pc: Mac

Cpu Homepage: Yahoo

Netflix or standard cable: Standard cable

Car or Truck: Never had my own car so I'd take either

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Xbox

Favorite Coach Haze Saying: "It is what it is"

Who would you vote as the "best dressed" DB on the team: Brandon Funk aka Funky Fresh

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: How close the team is. These guys are my brothers.

Post Linfield aspirations? To become a sports broadcaster for a college or professional basketball team.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

-Limit The CLU Run Game:   You’re going to see a lot of physical football on Saturday from CLU.  I’m sure the CLU faithful like what they saw out of the CLU offensive line and both of the Kingsmen running backs (Chapman and Zirbel) as they’re not going down easy and can find the lanes in traffic.  Linfield’s defensive front has to win the battle in order to slow down the CLU offense.  This will be a key match-up in determining the outcome of the game.

-Run the Football:  Yeah, this is basic football 101; If your defense stops the run and if your offense can run the ball with efficiency, then you have a good chance to win.  That holds true this weekend as well.  Linfield HAS to be able to consistently run the ball on CLU’s defense.    The ‘Cats offensive line looks to be a good unit this season and will have a chance to make a major impact on Saturday.

-Win 3rd down.  With both teams trying to flex more on the ground this season, we’re probably going to see a lot of 3rd and mediums, and 3rd and shorts.  Who can stop who on 3rd down will be a statistic that should indicate which team controls the action on Saturday.

-Get the Pressure on:  The secret is out that returning 1st team All-American Brynnan Hyland is out for the season with an injury suffered in fall camp and so is returning 1st team All-NWC DT Marq Randall.  Thankfully All-American DT Tyler Steele is back for the ‘Cats and the rest of the group is very capable of getting to the QB and will have to have to show that this weekend.  Their ability to put pressure will be huge on passing downs.

-The ‘Cat receivers winning the battle:   CLU’s secondary held a very competent QB (PLU’s Ritchey) to only 13 completions last week for a little under 200 yards.   The Kingsmen have always had players in the secondary and this year is no different.  Linfield is going to need the passing game this weekend in order to maximize the ‘Cats scoring chances.  This is a big challenge for the ‘Cats receivers.

 -Limit Mistakes:  Linfield was brilliant last week with not turning the ball over and keeping their penalties down.  Turnovers and drive killing/drive extending penalties change the outcome of close games on a weekly basis.    Whoever can play the cleaner game will have the advantage.

-Embrace the Challenge:  A game like this weekend is why players choose to come to Linfield.  The ‘Cats are not afraid to play against high level opponents and should be thrilled they get a chance to compete against one of the better programs in the country.  Saturday’s atmosphere should be rocking and I hope the players soak in every second of it.


I’ve never picked against the ‘Cats in all of my time writing these game previews and I’m not going to stop now.  I’m going to say Linfield by 7 but it could be closer than that.  CLU is going to be dang good and their staff will have them plenty prepared to face Linfield.  I’m expecting another edge of your seat type of game and it will come down to which team better executes better over 4 quarters and I’m betting that will be my ‘Cats.

1 comment:

DS said...

A solute win this Saturday would go a long way in not having to travel to Mac in the playoffs.
They will be fired up - so will the home crowd.