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Dedicated to the hardcore fans of NU Football

In March 2005 Far East Wildcat took down his site (www.FarEastWildcat.com).   His humor, his insight and his unique perspective on Northwestern football had been online since 1998.

This site serves as a mirror and archive of  the old FarEastWildcat.com site.  It has been pieced together using archived data from FEW's site that was stored in 2003 by web.archive.org. Other, more recent pieces of this site came from files saved from FEW's page before it was removed, and some pieces are new, rebuilt as close to the originals as possible.  Together they compose a close facimile to the original site-- close, but by no means exact. 

So sit back and enjoy a slice of  Wildcat fan history.


Countdown to Kickoff 2005

Big Ten Champs
1903, 1926, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1995, 1996 & 2000

Golden Web Award Winner

Taking the Purple to Pimlico Northwestern Gridiron Network
Taking the Purple to Motown The Pickle Boat
Taking the Purple to Pearl Harbor 2004 Big Ten Standings
Taking the Purple to The Great White Heron The Instant Classic
Taking the Purple to San Antonio 2000 Season Commemorative Wallpaper
Taking the Purple to Paris Big Ten Final Standings Record
Taking the Purple to the Great Helmsman The Purple Hayes
Taking the Purple to Ha Long Bay 2005 - 2014 Schedule & Notes
2004 Season Notes The Stadium
2004 PreSeason Notes Links
2003 Season Notes 2004 Roster
2003 PreSeason Notes Michigan 2000 Tailgate
2002 Season Notes Big Ten Bowling Alley
2002 PreSeason Notes Flashback to September 2, 1995
2001 Season Notes Flashback to September 16, 1995
2001 Preseason Notes Flashback to September 30, 1995
2000 Season Notes The Iowa Series
2000 Preseason Notes Wildcat Fight Song Lyrics
1999 Season Notes Other Big Ten Fight Song Lyrics
1999 Preseason Notes The 1949 Rose Bowl & The Block
1998 Season Notes Complete Results since 1882
1998 Preseason Notes All Past Season Records

Click for Evanston, Illinois Forecast

Current Notes

March 11, 2005

The Wildcats' spring practice schedule:

Wed., March 30 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thu., March 31 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Fri., April 1 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sat., April 2 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tue., April 5 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thu., April 7 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Fri., April 8 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sat., April 9 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Coaches' Clinic)
Tue., April 12 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thu., April 14 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Fri., April 15 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Closed)
Sat., April 16 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tue., April 19 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Closed)
Thu., April 21 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Closed)
Sat., April 23 TBA (Spring Game, presented by Yellow Book USA)

November 26, 2004

From the Waterboy:

November 26, 2004

Get a Leg Up

The only thing the Cats took away from their unimpressive and very improbable victory over an overmatched Ill-Annoy team: post-season bowl eligibility. Although this “W” represents the 2nd leg of four in Our Master & Commander's final coaching hurdle of his tenure as HC of the Wildcats, a bowl game victory, there was little to celebrate. In truth, the 'Cats played their worst game of the season since the debacle against the Minnie Mighty Marmots.

The Ill-Whine-I faced the 'Cats with nothing to lose. Their season lied shredded and in tatters for the entire football-rabid state to see, their prospects for improvement in a similar state and it was all but a foregone conclusion that Ill-Whine-I HC Ron Turner would be handed his walking papers after the expected drubbing at the hands of arch-rival Northwestern.

But a funny thing happened to the Pumpkin-helmeted team from Shampoo-Banana as they prepared to face the Big Bad 'Cats in Dyche's Ditch … they didn't give a rat's behind about any of that. This Ill-Whine-I team was p.o.'ed in a big way and were gonna take full advantage of this opportunity to unleash their many frustrations straight into the face of their over-confident and unsuspecting foes.

And they nearly pulled-off their biggest win of their 2004 campaign, let alone one of the biggest upsets in the Big 10/11 conference this season. Were it not for the fickle, swirling winds curling around the South Tower of Ryan Field, Ill-Annoy should have snatched a well-deserved victory from the bumbling, stumbling, penalty-prone 'Cats and salvaged their pride and a small portion of their season by keeping the 'Cats from a bowl game invitation.

But in the end, the 'Cats pulled the “W” out of their moon simply because the Ill-Whine-I failed to seal the deal on several occasions to stick it up the 'Cats' Sea of Tranquility.

There were so many negatives in this game, it boggles the mind to realize that the 'Cats, indeed, had won.

By far, this was the worse 60 minutes of the season for the 'Cat receiving corps. There were at least 10 dropped passes over the course of the game - many in situations that could have had substantial positive impact on game momentum and control. I was impressed that NU QB Basanez kept his composure throughout the proceedings while dealing with the dreaded dropsie disease ravaging his wideouts. One thing is for certain: if this group doesn't gets its collective hands right, the Wildcat Nation can forget about this bowl game eligibility silliness. As witnessed last Saturday, the team that took the field in Dyche's Ditch didn't deserve any such consideration.

The penalties. Lord Have Mercy, the penalties. I must admit that many of the yellow flags thrown in the direction of the 'Cats were dubious at best. How in the world could a referee standing on the fifty yard line throw a flag at an indiscretion he spied occurring clear across the field at the 15? Not once, but 3 times - while the official standing directly in front of the action doesn't make a move whatsoever for his handkerchief. What about the pass interference penalty on Dominique Price where the field judge 3 yards away sees no infraction while another zebra 25 yards removed from the play chucks his yellow laundry towards the group - outrageous. However, before anyone thinks that the 'Cats were being unfairly mistreated and abused at the hands of the Big 10/11 officiating crew, there were so many others that were not called. Virtually every kickoff or punt return made by the 'Cats saw numerous holds and blocks-in-the-back. What was going on … was something slipped into the team Gatorade buckets before the opening whistle? Whatever it was, the 'Cats proved themselves to be their own worst enemy, exhibiting an extreme lack of disciplined field play that was absent against their more serious adversaries throughout the 2004 Big 10/11 schedule. This is a BIG problem, but is not NU's biggest nemesis.

That distinction goes to NU's utterly woeful kick coverage teams. The collective performances of the players who comprise these special teams are nothing less than dog-doo. Coverage techniques resemble what might be expected from a collection of Jerry's Kids, the South Park foursome and Special Ed clones from Crank-Yankers. To call them “bumbling, stumbling” would be kind. Simply put, NU's coverage is purely putrid - even by Pop Warner league standards. And it's been getting worse over the last 3 games. Arm tackles, lack of focus and failure to stay in return lanes, slow, tentative convergence on the return man, failure to break-down into football-hitting position, throwing the body instead of attacking the midsection of the ball carrier … where do I start? I'll do so by stating that this is totally unacceptable. The kicking game is 30% of any football game and NU is failing miserably to execute at a Big 10/11 level in any of its critical areas. This deficiency is a major concern - especially since NU's AD, Mark Murphy, is seriously entertaining ideas of facing an upscale Division 1A opponent in a nationally televised bowl game. To do so with the current field play profile of NU's special teams would be an embarrassment.

Last but not least - offensive and defensive play calling. Periods of inspired offensive play calling have been interrupted by others where the game plan plays-out like a comedy of errors. And should I even mention the 3 man DL pass rush used during long-distance passing situations? It's all so frustrating and obviously debilitating to those purple-clad players trying to execute these misdirected strategies. If NU's OC and DC don't get their general game-time play calling strategies together, NU will be going nowhere against the Oahu Wahinies this next Saturday, let alone a quality team like the Crimson Hides of Abalama in Nashville.

How NU beat the Ill-Whine-I

Positives From Negatives

This game was a case where NU garnered positives from their opponent's negatives. Essentially, Ill-Annoy snatched defeat from the jaws of victory twice in the game's last 2 minutes, and NU took the gifts in-hand and made the Ill-Whine-I Pumpkin-heads pay dearly for their miscues.

First was NU return-man Jeff Backes' timely punt return for the game-tying TD with 2:00 minutes left on the clock. Talk about a Maalox moment. Up to that critical juncture, NU's offensive play-calling, coupled with the continued dropsie disease displayed by NU's WRs, decimated the 'Cats' all ability to mount anything resembling a sustained offensive attack. The reputed strength of NU's offense, first and foremost, lies in its ground game. With NU's primary weapon, Noah “The Herring” Herron getting a mere 12 touches in H-2, the 'Cat O was stymied series after series as much by it's debilitating game plan as by the inspired field play of the Ill-Whine-I defenders. With a mere 120 ticks left on the game clock, NU's offensive scoring capacity appeared DOA and the Purple Populace attending the game were resigned to an ignominious defeat to overmatched Ill-Annoy. Then BANG. Backes makes the grab, blasts through a middle return wall deftly set-up for the first time in the contest by NU's punt return team, side-steps a would be tackler, then flies-by Ill-Annoy punter Weatherford to paydirt. The Dyche's Ditch patrons explode. Now on to overtime and a victory.

Then ka-boom, NU's kick-off coverage breaks-down once again, allowing Ill-Whine-I wunder-kin return-man, Pierre Thomas, to wind through NU's traffic cone coverage to the NU 30. 4 rushes later, Ill-Annoy lines-up for the game-winning FG. The football goes up and, thank Gawd, sails wide left. Another bullet dodged by the Cardiac 'Cats.

New life and the 4th overtime of 2004, an NCAA record begs the question: Did NU win this game or did Ill-Annoy lose it. Personally, I truly feel it was the latter.

Overtime Opportunity

It was very apparent that NU fielded the superior football team. Our Master & Commander knew it, the players on both sides of the LOS knew it, the fans in either stands knew tit. But to their credit, Ill-Annoy didn't concede anything to the somnolent 'Cats and their lack-luster field play displayed throughout regulation.

Now NU inexplicably had another chance at vindication - an unlikely overtime opportunity born of a truly remarkable punt return TD by NU and a missed “gimme” FG from the Ill-Whine-I.- to keep their bowl hopes alive.

Here, was the whole game in microcosm - one possession apiece for all the marbles.

5 plays later, Baz finds an open Jonathan Fields, running a disciplined possession route and curling into a seam in the Ill-Annoy secondary, who turns and makes a fine grab of an underthrown ball off the turf. 7 points up, the 'Cats stand poised to steal the victory. Now the game comes-down to NU's inconsistent D.

Then Ill-Annoy's HC Ron Turner, doing his best imitation of the Who-Zits Gerry DiNardo, puts the game into the hands of his newby freshman QB, Chris Pazan. Instead of continuing his effective ground game, Turner turns to the pass; and Pazan shows his inexperience by missing 5 of 7 passes. The gutsy, gritty Ill-Whine-I return to Shampoo-Banana knowing that they had this game in-hand in regulation and did not seal the deal.

Sorry Mr. Turner, not this year.

And now … The Oahu Wahines …

With the memory of this poor effort against a very beatable Ill-Annoy still very fresh, NUs' excursion to the idyllic islands of Hawai'i holds great trepidation for the Wildcat Nation. Who will show - that hungry, “gonna-prove-to-the-world-that -the-'Cats-belong” team who opened a big can of whoop-azz against the BuckNuts, or that “write-it-in”, over-confident bunch that nearly folded to the Ill-Whine-I?

I hope that Cap'n Vlasic gets the collective heads of his troops set straight. There will be plenty of time for beaches and bikinis after the game. This picture-postcard travel scenario has been a great advantage to the Oahu Wahines. The sun and fun that these island tropics hold are very real diversions for a weather-weary team from America's heartland.

To that I say Bull-Ship!!!

OC Mike Dunbar better keep his play-calling challenged counterpart, Mr. Hyde, shackled and thrown deep in the hold of the Purple Pokelboot. The Wahines are very vulnerable to a team that exercises a ball-control ground game accented by opportunistic, possession passing attack. Our Master & Commander aspires NU's offense to the true balanced attack; and I believe that NU has shown both at times during the 2004 campaign, but never together. Time for that complete offensive game to come together and let the Wahines feel its full weight.

As for NU's defense, the return of LoHo and the emergence of the Killer C's, Messrs. Castillo, Clark & Cofield, as an effective front four must be complimented with a blitz package that puts premium pressure on the Wahines' reputed QB, Tim-aaahh Chang. Wahine HC June Jones knows a thing or two about a sophisticated passing attack, and he has a very good pupil in Mr. Chang. However, one notable negative to this coach-QB tandem: Chang also owns the NCAA record for career INTs. If LoHo, the Killer C's and LBs Pickens, Roach and McGarigle can get into the face of Tim-aaahh, his effectiveness as a passing phenom could be neutralized. It has in several games this season. NU's DC Greg Colby must can the 3-man DL formations and concentrate on keeping the pressure of an unrelenting pass rush focused in Mr. Chang's direction.

This game is impossible to predict owning to NU's infuriating tendency to play to the level of their competition. Last week, I thought that the 'Cats not only would cover the 12.5 spread against Ill-Annoy, they would double it. Well, I'm through predicting what the 'Cats will do because the only thing that is consistent with this team is their inconsistency.

It is an absolute necessity for NU to put all the positive pieces of the complete football game to bear against our last regular season foe. Do this and the table is set to jump that last hurdle.

The Waterboy

2004 Season Notes continued here

Disclaimer: FarEastWildcat is a Northwestern football season ticket holder, a member of the Gridiron Network and an alumnus of the University's College of Arts & Sciences. Beyond these three factors, he has no affiliation whatsoever with Northwestern University, its Department of Athletics, its football program, its coaching staff nor its players. Nothing said within this commentary should be construed as anything but the personal ramblings of a Wildcat football fan. To believe otherwise is to engage in self-delusion. As a football fan and a former expatriate in the Far East for many years, he is grateful beyond measure to all who have provided information about Northwestern football on the internet.


© 2005 Far East Wildcat "The Purple belongs in Pasadena!"