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Tom Holmoe Assesses Houston Game
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  06/21/1999

September 1, 1998

BERKELEY - On individual players' off-season work ethic...

I am very pleased with the performance of our team. I think individually, our players have done more than we have asked of them. During the off-season when we were not around watching, the players basically took over themselves and tried to take the team to a new level. This is what I have been asking for since I have been here, even as a defensive coordinator.

On wanting to start the season...

I am really excited about what was accomplished in summer camp. This past week has been very difficult not playing. You start seeing the games on television and you just can't wait to start playing. These guys have been waiting for this just like me, and now we get the University of Houston.

On not overlooking Houston...

People have talked about the schedule, Nebraska and the Pac-10 and going to Norman, but for us the only thing we can think about right now is Houston. We spent preparation on Houston in summer training camp. I think that it was one of the benefits of us having another year under our belt collectively as coaches and players, it wasn't just a learning experience. It was time to start game planning, and we were able to do that. We feel that we will be prepared for Houston. Obviously, the first game, there are a few jitters because you are not exactly sure what they are going to do, what new wrinkles they have, some of the personnel that is new and what they are going to do. But what we are certain of is where we are at, and that has got me excited.

On the offensive and defensive lines...

We are thin offensive and defensive line wise. I am very excited about where we are with the starters. Defensive line wise, we have the people ready to play who we wanted to play, and we are starting to get back a few more guys like Mawuko (Tugbenyoh). Maybe a young player like Zech Whittington, who we really didn't expect much of, might need to play a factor if that is the case. On the offensive line, we went into spring football not knowing what to expect. We had an offensive line coach that was new, he was going to teach new techniques and new philosophy to a group that was kind of scrambling. Now, going into this game, I am happy where we are at. We are very pleased with the performance of John Welbourn, John Romero, Kevin Doherty, Brandon Ludwig, Tate McCallister, Robert Truhitte and Langston Walker. Those are guys who needed to step forward, and they did. Is it a solid, etched in stone, five-man front? No. But we are closer than I we expected at this point in time. Hopefully, these first couple of games will help solidify that line so that when we do get into Pac-10 play, we won't have to be making a lot of changes.

On using Jeremiah Parker and the defensive line depth...

There is a possibility that Jeremiah (Parker) could play inside. Our philosophy would be that going into a schedule like we have, that he's going to have to be able to come in and rest some of the ends, and we feel great about that. There are not too many teams in the country that are going to go wire-to-wire with their defensive line, and we feel that when we come in with Jeremiah, it's kind of like a sixth man in basketball. There is not going to be a big drop off. That is one of the strengths of our team, the defensive front, and I am excited about that. To have that depth at that position is better than moving him inside and then not really having someone to take care of Andre (Carter) when he needs a breather.

On Houston's strengths as a program...

Houston is in a transition period. Two years ago they won their conference, and then they graduated a whole slew of fine players. And then last year, they were kind of starting over, and then this year they have really tried to infuse that team with a lot of junior college players. One of my concerns is that they are going to line up with a lot of junior college players we were not able to know. But they are trying to make a difference in the program and I think they are in good shape, and they have won with the way they have done it with coach Kim Helton, and I think they will surprise people this year. There offense is going to be pretty good. They have a lot of guys on that field that can strike from anywhere. Vaughn Inniss and Ketric Sanford will be two of the better guys that we face. We are going to need to practice because we are going to see a lot of great tailbacks in the Pac-10.

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