Tom Holmoe's Weekly Press Conference
November 10, 1998
BERKELEY - Comments from Cal head football coach Tom Holmoe at his weekly press conference:
Looking ahead to Saturday's game against Arizona:
"We are facing an Arizona team this week that is probably playing the best in the Pac-10. They are rolling over people and in their stride. Offensively, they are very big up front. They have three excellent running backs. They will put tight ends in the backfield and use them as blocking backs, and they are good. Again, offensively, there really is not a weakness, they just come at you from all angles and are very well balanced. Defensively, I like their style. They have some big guys up front, and they are all very athletic and fast, a typical University of Arizona defensive team. Rich Ellerson is their guy, he is really a very good coach who is able to put together these packages that take advantage of each individual's defensive talents."
On Arizona Defensive Backs Chris McAlister and Marcus Bell:
"Chris McAlister is one of the premier players in the country. He is fun to watch. It should be a good match-up with Dameane Douglas, who is obviously one of the better receivers around. And then there is Marcus Bell, who is having a really super year. He makes a lot of big plays and a ton of tackles and basically rounds out their defense."
Holmoe's thoughts towards Arizona:
"It is going to be a challenge for us in all aspects of the game. But we have two games left and a lot riding on the season, and I am confident in our players. I believe in both sides of the ball that we have the ability to beat this team. I'm anticipating that our guys will work hard in practice and prepare for something big. It will be a great step to get these guys and then go into the Stanford game."
On the injuries:
"We go into the game with Jerry De Loach and Mike Freeman out, but other than that, we have just about everybody else back. Corey Smith might be questionable, but I think he will practice this week and we'll have to see how he does. But the rest of the guys will practice and get ready for the game. So we go into it relatively healthy and ready to play Arizona."
On the loss to Arizona State last week:
"They took advantage of some very big mistakes that we made in the open field. I think our front seven played pretty well against them. The statistics showed last week that they ran the ball a great number of times for very little yardage. What the statistics also show is that they threw five touchdown passes, many of them in the open field where we just didn't make the plays. I'm concerned about those plays, and we certainly need to get better, or it could happen again. Our guys are very disappointed that it turned out the way it did, especially since it is the first time that it has happened. It wasn't strictly the defense. Our offense moved the ball, and I think we did a good job physically against their defense, but we gave up five interceptions and a fumble that cost us."
On quarterback Justin Vedder's performance against Arizona State:
"He realizes that he threw some bad balls and some of them were picked off and some of them weren't. He made some nice throws too and did some good things. But he knows that with plays like that, we are not going to win. He is perfectly capable of completing some of those balls that he missed, and we had some guys open. We can overcome those mistakes; they are all correctable mistakes."
On the passing game and wide receiver Dameane Douglas:
"I guarantee that we will look to Dameane. Now, with guy on him like (Chris) McAlister, it will make it difficult. But maybe this is the game that will force us to spread the ball around more. The best success that we have had during the year in games offensively is in games where we have spread it around. Sometimes we get so one-dimensional in our passing game, looking for Dameane, that it kind of hurts the rest of our passing game. I'm not going to say 'Don't throw the ball to Dameane,' though. He has been great for us. But next year, we can't do that. It doesn't appear that there is anybody that can succeed Dameane or Bobby (Shaw). We have got a guy who's got a hot hand and makes plays. There are not too many times when he fails you. And so we are going to keep throwing to him until they stop it. I'd rather have the ball in Dameane's hands than in one of the other guys' hands, but not at the expense of throwing balls into the dirt."