We all have confessions to make.
Some of us actually take a deep breath and make the confession, like Ross admitting to Rachel that he hooked up with the copy store girl on “Friends.” Some of us pull luck out of nowhere and don’t have to make an admission (I’m looking at you, O.J. Simpson), and some of us will never make the admission no matter how long we live, like Chone Figgins.
Chone Figgins has to have been a mole from the Angels. They are paying him under the table. You can’t prove me wrong, and if you try to prove me wrong, I will show you his putrid Mariners stats and give you a place to throw up.
The crux of the matter is, admissions are hard, so I have one to share with you.
I tend to take our football team for granted.
I am not saying that they don’t get enough credit. We have football memorabilia and information plastered all over the gym, the football stadium, our recruitment packages and even in this newspaper.
But I need to take a quick moment to marvel at this team and this program.
Never mind the 56 (now 57) straight winning seasons or the video game type final scores.
The offense loses the guy who may have been their best player, senior Josh Hill, to injury, and they continue to roll on, with 63 points two weekends ago, and 45 points against Willamette last weekend.
Their defense… wow, the defense. They have also had some devastating injuries to some good players, and like the offense, it continues to do its best Division-III impression of the Seattle Seahawks.
Willamette’s quarterback comes into the game with 2,500 yards passing and a completion percentage in the upper 60s. He had thrown 29 touchdowns. It was almost as if he was Colt Brennan running the Hawaii offense from a few years back. This would be Linfield’s sternest test yet.
I think they passed the test with flying colors.
Willamette’s quarterback went 13-30 with just 96 yards passing. He threw two picks and was sacked seven times. For a guy who has an efficiency rating of 156.40 for the season, his game against Linfield (56.88 rating) is the outlier of the year.
Except, if you know Linfield football, it’s not an outlier at all. The defense was one of the best in the country last year, and it is most definitely rounding into form this year. Could this team add on to the school’s storied history?
They are ranked number three in the country. The defense just shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The offense has not missed a beat.
I don’t want to get too overzealous with the predictions. Anything can happen in football. Florida State lost to North Carolina State a few weeks ago. Washington beat the Beavers on Oct. 27. That’s right, Beaver fans, the Dawgs just ruined your magical season. Bow down (but please beat the Ducks in the Civil War, that would be magnificent).
Do you happen to remember Oklahoma State losing to Iowa State last year, thereby dashing its national title hopes? Or UCLA beating USC 13-9 in 2006 to derail USC’s hopes during John David Booty’s last season?
You know the difference between all of those upsets and Linfield, however? This team takes care of business. They could get tripped up every year by lesser opponents in conference play, and yet they always make the necessary adjustments. They were tied at halftime yesterday, and they came out and scored 35 points unanswered in the second half. The best teams make in-game adjustments, and this team does that beautifully.
So, my admission is embarrassing. I shouldn’t take this team for granted. Its last game was impressive, and we will see what it can do to end the year. All I know is that I have full confidence in the squad (for what my opinion is worth, which is about as much as a signed Heathcliff Slocumb baseball) just as I have full confidence that Chone Figgins is a well-placed mole.
Curse you, Mike Scioscia.
Tyler Bradley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.