Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2014 Game 6 Preview: Linfield (5-0) at Lewis & Clark (0-6)

Linfield looks to extend their win streak vs L&C to 37 games.
The ‘Cats hit the road after back-to-back dominate home wins against George Fox (Is that billboard still up?) and Whitworth, as Linfield will made the short trip up I-5 to Palatine Hill to face the Lewis and Clark Pioneers.  Honestly, I love this road trip. First, it’s not too far away from home and I love getting a cup of coffee for the drive. Second, Palatine Hill is one of my favorite setting/backdrop for football in the Northwest Conference (Quick WC11 NWC 2014 Stadium rankings: Linfield, Whitworth, L&C, Willamette, Fox, PLU, Pacific, UPS). If L&C was any good and had a following, Griswold Stadium would be a tremendous environment for football.

It would be great if Linfield was headed up to a rocking Griswold Stadium but it will probably be mostly a Linfield contingent holding it down for the ‘Cats.  Right now, Linfield is in a strong position in sitting at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Northwest Conference play. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done if this Wildcat team wants to reach the level they aspire to. This week is about getting better for Linfield and not about Lewis & Clark.  The Weather is starting to turn wet, it’s getting darker sooner, colder, harder. This is the time of year when getting everyone to continue to buy into what you’re trying to accomplish as a program becomes paramount. There are only 11 full padded practices left in the regular season. You have to make each one of those count.

I’m going to spend a lot of time trying to dress this one up. Let’s face it, Lewis and Clark isn’t a very good football team. I’m actually a concern about their viability as a program after only being a few years removed from a 2011 season that saw L&C finish 7-2 overall, second place finished in the Northwest Conference, and getting a chance to play Linfield is a defacto NWC “title game” at the end of the regular season.  If Lewis & Clark was going to strike and carry that momentum to build a competitive program that was the time to do it.  Instead, the Pioneers have fallen sharply in going 4-5 in 2012 and then 1-8 in 2013.  It clearly looks like the Pioneers are going to be winless in 2014 (Yes, I think even George Fox will be able to beat the Pios).  Compounding my concern is the depletion of bodies in the Pioneer program. At their more recent high-water mark, the Pios had 73 members on the roster in 2011 & 2012. Now, Lewis & Clark is down to only 56 players (only 16 lineman currently in their program) and I’m scratching my head if we’re moving towards another 2005 situation, with Lewis & Clark taking a long hard look on if football is even worth it to the L&C community.  Both Pacific and Fox have brought back football and with Puget Sound starting to resemble a football team, Lewis & Clark is moving even further away from the pack.  I really hope I’m reading too much into this performance trend and the Pioneers can start moving in the right direction.  It’s better for everyone in the NWC if the Pioneers can get in a better place.

Get To Know A Wildcat

#2 Dylan Lewis, Corner, Sophomore
Hometown: Pleasant Hill, OR,  High School: Sheldon High School

Favorite place to in Mac: Alfs

Favorite Movie: The Lion King

Favorite Music: Country

Favorite TV show: The Office

Favorite Book: The Bible

Class I Most Look Forward to: Accounting

Iphone or Android: Android

CPU Homepage: Apple

Personal Mantra: "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

Social Media of choice: Twitter

Car or Truck: Truck

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: PS3

What first inspired you to play football: My Dad loved football and every kid wants to be like their dad.

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "It never went to 40"

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Being able to continue a winning tradition.

Post Linfield aspirations: I'd like to either be a CPA or Police Officer.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Eyes on the Prize: Like every Saturday, this is about Linfield’s effort and determination. The ‘Cats have to come into this game with a mindset of improving as a program and maintaining a competitive sharpness. That can be challenging in these types of situation but giving your all anytime you put on the uniform is the Linfield Way.

Early Offensive Sharpness: In the past two games, the Linfield offense stalled on their first 2 drives before starting to gain traction. That can’t be a continuing trend as Linfield needs to come out in their opening drives and establish their offensive attack.

Pressure: The Pioneers are leaning more on the pass this season and will probably start a freshman this week (Rochon, started last week against Willamette).  I’m expecting L&C to try to get the ball out fast but Linfield needs to turn up the heat on the Pioneers up front.

Sharpness: I want to see Linfield play a sharp brand of football. We talked about the penalties on Monday and how I feel that some of that is due to the aggressive style of play.  I want to see if Linfield can maintain that razor’s edge style of play but see if they can fine tune it so we don’t see so much laundry on the field.

Young Guys turn it loose: If Linfield is sharp; this should turn into a situation where a number of young guys see extended time for Linfield. Don’t let youth and inexperience hold you back.  When you get on the field, do your job, turn it loose, and showcase what you’ve got.


‘Cats by a lot.  It’s going to be victory by a wide margin this weekend. There is a good chance the weather will be poor and that’s a great thing. I’d love to see the ‘Cats get some reps in poor conditions as that can only serve Linfield well as we move deeper in the season. I’m expecting a great effort on Saturday and for each player to focus on their role and responsibility. If the ‘Cats can do that, the victory will be satisfactory for all parties involved.

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