Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015 Game 2 Preview: Linfield (1-0) vs Redlands (0-1)

It's 'Cats vs Dawgs this weekend in the 'Catdome!
Back in the ‘Catdome once again as your Linfield Wildcats will be hosting SCIAC contender the University of Redlands Bulldogs.  YOUR ‘Cats are coming off a 52-14 pasting of Chapman where Linfield had plenty of rough spots to work on but flashes of promise of what this team can be.  One area of this Linfield team that I’m going to be closely paying attention to is the ‘Cats focus and preparedness.  As most of you know by now, Redlands took a very tough loss last week in their season opener as they dropped a close contest to George Fox.  That had to be incredibly disappointing for Redlands, and in fact, downright embarrassing on many fronts.  I’m sure the Redlands coaching staff and players took a long hard look in the mirror the past few days and will be coming to McMinnville looking to prove that last week was a fluke and that the Bulldogs has what it take to stand toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s elite programs. 

For the ‘Cats, this is going to be the first in a few tests on if this group of players took to heart the lesson the Willamette game taught Linfield last year.  For those that don’t remember, Linfield pasted PLU early in the 2014 season 41-14 and then later in the season PLU hammered Willamette 56-14.  Well, the ‘Cats saw that score and assumed a Bearcat butt whipping was on the agenda when Willamette came into town but what was served was one of the largest upsets in recent NWC history as Willamette upended Linfield 31-28.

So that’s the test for Linfield.  Do they see that Fox took down Redlands and just say to themselves “Oh, we’re gonna roll next week.” or does this Linfield team take nothing for granted and focus on being the very best Linfield team these ‘Cats can be when they hit the turf this weekend.  If Linfield wants to get to reach their ultimate goals, the ‘Cats have to understand every team they face is going to give them their very best and has to be prepared to answer the challenge.  So we’ll see if Linfield assumes they’re getting puppies this weekend or if they’re getting ready for a dogfight.

Get To Know A Wildcat

Thaddeus Cox, #57, Senior, Offensive Tackle
Hometown: Rocklin, Calif.  High School: Whitney High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: Tequila Grill

Favorite Movie: Happy Gillmore

Favorite Music: Rap/Hip-Hop

Favorite TV show: The League

Favorite Book: White Fang

Class I Most Look Forward to:  Partial Differential Equations

iPhone or Android: iPhone

CPU Homepage: Google

Personal Mantra: Put a smaile on and keep on going

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: Car

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

What first inspired you to play football: Just wanting to put on a helmet and hit someone

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: “In all reality”

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: The close community that the program develops

Post Linfield aspirations: Go on to grad school and earn a PHD in either physics or some type of engineering

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Start fast and finish strong:  If Linfield can come out of the gates firing on all cylinders and push the tempo on both sides of the ball it will go a long way to making Redlands uncomfortable and not allowing the Bulldogs to gain traction and smother belief that they can hang with Linfield for the whole game.

Establish a balanced offensive attack:  This Linfield offense is going to be at their most efficient when they are attacking defenses with a balanced offense.  I would love to see Linfield really mix it up against Redlands and keep attacking teams with that play action pass game.

Limit the Bulldog Rushing Attack:  Redlands is going to attack Linfield with two very capable running backs in Devin Appleton and Curtis Tanquary.  Along with that, QB Kevin Russell is a dangerous runner as well.  The ‘Cats defensive effectiveness this game will hinge on Linfield’s ability to limit the Bulldog rushing attack.  If Linfield can force Redlands into 3rd and long situations consistently then look for a big day for the Linfield defense.

Count on Special Teams:  A great debut for the ‘Cats special teams against Chapman.  I’m not asking for another two TD performance but I’m asking for great coverage and execution in the kicking game.  The special teams battle will be a huge component in the final result in this non-conference tilt.

Aggressive Pass Rush:  Linfield’s Alex Hoff had extra company this past weekend as Chapman consistently threw two bodies at the ‘Cats All-American this past weekend.  I’m expecting Alex to get that treatment all season long so it’s going to be up to the other ‘Cats to make teams pay for trying to minimize Hoff’s impact on the game.  Linfield has to get after the QB in those passing situations this weekend.

Capitalize on scoring opportunities:  It was a great debut for the 2015 ‘Cats Red Zone offense this past Saturday and that trend needs to continue against Redlands.  I loved how Linfield mixed it up with getting the ball in their playmakers hands in space and letting them do their thing.  If Linfield squanders these opportunities this Saturday it could allow Redlands to hang around and make life hard for the ‘Cats.


‘Cats by 17. I’m expecting to Linfield not to pay attention to scoreboard watching from last weekend and be ready to handle their business against Redlands.  Regardless of last week’s result, the Bulldogs are a competitive program that have given the ‘Cats all they can handle in previous games.   No doubt, Redlands will come into this game with a renewed focus, but Linfield comes out and executes and performs to the talent level of this roster, the ‘Cats are going to get it done.

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