|Alex Hoff #55 and the 'Cats defense brought the salt truck to the 'Catdome against Redlands.|
That may sound silly to some people in not being fully satisfied in just beating a team by 36 points but this program has such lofty goals and aspirations that every live moment on the field counts towards building a profile that will allow this team to measure up and go toe-to-toe with the very best in division 3. So when there are rough edges in performances, it’s ok to take a critical eye to some sore spots. It’s not being critical just to be critical but more of acknowledging where this team needs to see improvement if Linfield will truly be the contender they inspire to be.
The ‘Cats get the bye week at a good time. I think we would all rather just keep playing games but this week will give Linfield a chance to get back to basics and start building up for the start of Northwest Conference play. Linfield will head up to Palatine Hill in two weeks to square off with Lewis & Clark. The conference is setting up to be another challenging gauntlet of challengers as Pacific, PLU, and Whitworth all look to dethrone Linfield as the number one team in the NWC. I’m excited for the start of conference as we know anything can happen but if this group of Wildcats continue to keep put in the work, the sky is the limit for Linfield.
As for the blog during the bye-week, we'll have a mini-highlight on Wednesday (a technical glitch sank me last night...lots of yelling at my computer was involved) and our pick 'em post up on Thursday with a news round-up on Friday. Go 'Cats!
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
2nd half effort: All three units put the pedal down in the 2nd half as Linfield took a 17-0 lead and blew it out to a 44-0 margin by the end of the 3rd quarter. It was classic Linfield football as special teams would pin Redlands deep, the defense creating turnovers or short possessions, and the offense making them pay. I’ve seen that sequence time and again in the ‘Catdome and it’s a thing of beauty.
Defensive lock down: The defense continues to impress for the ‘Cats. Linfield only allowed 8 first downs, 27 net rush yards (0.7 per carry), and only 136 yards of total offense (only 91 yards through the first three quarters). It was such a blistering performance for the Linfield defense that Redlands only crossed Linfield’s 50 yard line twice….and that’s only because Linfield turned it over twice in their own territory. If Linfield didn’t give it up there’s a good chance that Redlands would have never crossed midfield all game long.
Special teams great again: This group has already been a big difference maker on the young season and is going to continue to be. We have guys that can break it open in the return game, guys that can fly down the field and cover, and might have the best collection of kickers in the division. This has been a fun group to watch operate.
Red Zone Offense: Once again the Red-Zone offense continues to be impressive. The ‘Cats went 7 of 8 in the red zone and six of the trips resulted in touchdowns. The only miss was hampered by a penalty and a rare field goal miss. Beyond that, the ‘Cats offense once again showed diversity in how they attack the defense in these short field situations and that bodes well for down the road.
Pressure: 8 sacks by 7 different Wildcats and 14 total tackles for loss by the ‘Cats defense. Linfield straight up whooped the Bulldogs offensive line as the push across the board was noticeable. I loved the pressure and play making by the ‘Cats upfront and by the Linebackers.
Pass Protection: The big guys up front for Linfield gave up zero sacks and zero QB hurries in 40 passing attempts on the day. I think as this group continues to gel this offense will start to take off in a hurry.
Uneven 1st half offense: I already addressed it up above. The 2nd half was much better but Linfield’s offense needs to see some growth as the season develops.
Dumb Penalties: The ‘Cats made some straight up bad decisions during the game that cost Linfield some big plays and killed some drives. Linfield was penalized 9 times for 75 yards and that’s just too much for a team as talented as Linfield.