Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 Game 5 Preview: Linfield (4-0) at Willamette (1-3)

Off to Salem!
The 'Cats are back at it this week as Linfield continues their march through the heart of their Northwest Conference schedule.  The ‘Cats will be loading up the buses to make the short trip down the Salem as Linfield will be taking on the Willamette Bearcats in a rematch of last season’s stunning upset by Willamette.  As much as that game stunk, in some ways it was a blessing. It snapped the program back to attention and put Linfield on a course where the program made history with historic playoff road victories and had Linfield knocking on the door of a national championship game.  I’m hoping that lesson still sits in the front of the minds of the 2015 Wildcats as they prepare to take on a Willamette team that’s played in just about nothing but tight games but came up short until last week.

While Willamette is only 1-3, the Bearcat defense has been pretty solid in only allowing 23.8 points per game and only allowing 125.3 rushing yards per contest.  Linfield’s offense struggled mightily last season against the Bearcats defensive front so that’s a match-up I’ll be keep a close eye on this Saturday.  Where the Bearcats have been struggling is with their offense.  Willamette is only scoring 15.0 points per game, and while the Bearcats are moving the ball at a respectable clip (340.0 yards per game), it’s their red zone offense that’s been under performing (only 4 TDs in 14 red zone trips so far in 2015).

I’m expecting Willamette to go back to what worked against Linfield last season and that’s try to possess the football (Willamette held the football for over 38 minutes in last year’s game) and try to get the Wildcat’s offense out of sync with a lot of defensive movement and pressure.  Willamette is going to try to make Saturday’s pace slow and ugly and get Linfield into a tight game and see if the ‘Cats will make mistakes under duress. In that regards, it will be a good test to see how our ‘Cats handle the pressure.

Get To Know A Wildcat
Photo Courtesy of Linfield S.I.D. Kelly Bird: View Linfield Sports Photos Here

#99 Ty Farber, Defensive Tackle, Junior
Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska , High School: Wasilla High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: The D (WC11 note: The Deluxe does have the best burger in town!)

Favorite Movie: Interstellar

Favorite Music: Rock/Rap

Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad

Favorite Book: Slaughterhouse 5

Class I Most Look Forward to:  Ceramics

Iphone or Android: iPhone

CPU Homepage: Google

Personal Mantra: It's life, just keep moving forward

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: 1969 road runner truck: 2015 ram

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

What first inspired you to play football: My dad loves the game and I love my dad, also I like to hit people.

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "You don't deserve anything in life but death and taxes."

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: My friends I get to see every day get together to play the best game in the world

Linfield Defensive lineman that you would want to go to Vegas with: Obviously Alex Hoff, not because he is my best friend but because he knows how to have a good time.

Post Linfield aspirations: I would like to get an HR position/snowboard design position at burton snowboards. Also just live a happy life.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

Keep building: Now is not the time to be content.  We all saw what’s possible with this team last weekend but that can’t be just a one time or every now and again type of effort.  Linfield needs to aspire to keep building upon the early season success and continue to aspire to play an aggressive but controlled brand of football. 

Don’t Allow Willamette to possess the football: The Bearcats are going to do their best to grind out first downs and keep the football away the Wildcat offense for as long as possible. Linfield’s defense has been fantastic this season and will doing their best to keep Willamette from moving the chains and get the ball back to the offense.

Handle Willamette’s defensive movement/pressure:  Willamette has some good players up front and in their linebacking corps and they’re going to move around and give Linfield all sorts of looks this weekend.  Pacific tried to take a page out of that books as the Boxers were sliding their defensive front all around and Linfield handled it beautifully.  I think Linfield will see more of that this weekend and how the offensive line and RBs handle it will go a long ways to determining how the offense performs.

Stuff the Bearcat Running Attack: Willamette has been respectful in running the football this season as the Bearcats average 146.5 rushing yards per game (3.8 per carry).  Linfield’s defense has been stout against the rush this year (61.8) and if the ‘Cats can continue to bottle up the opposition run, the Wildcat defense should be in great shape.

Great Decision Making: Linfield needs to continue their upward trend of on-field decision making and that will be key once against in Salem. 

Run the football effectively: Linfield’s going to get a stiff test in the running game this weekend and I hope our offensive line looks forward to it and is able to create the running lanes necessary for Willis and Payne to move the chains and set up the other aspects of the Wildcat offensive attack.  Don’t allow Willamette to make your offense one-dimensional.


‘Cats by 21.  This will be an interesting game. Linfield is coming off a huge win over Pacific and Willamette’s has been in a number of tight ballgames so far.  Granted, the Bearcats have been coming up short but their defense has been very respectable and the Bearcats still have talented players on their roster.  However, if the ‘Cats keep it clicking, Linfield is going to put this game away in style.

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