Aug. 28, 2001
Below are selected quotes from head coach Tom Holmoe at Cal's weekly football media luncheon. The Bears open the season this Saturday, hosting Illinois at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
It's good to be back. We are very eager to start this thing off. We had a very good camp. I thought it was a successful camp. I looked at the injury report today, and it looked great, better than it's been. A couple of guys will miss the first game, but no long-term things right now and that's very positive. I think we got a lot accomplished. I think we were able to put in and complete the offense that we started in spring ball. And defensively, we're able to continually build upon the foundation that Lyle (Setencich) and his staff had set a couple of years ago.
Also, we have spent a good deal of time on special teams with LeCharls McDaniel. I feel that we are where we need to be as far as preparation. We've spent a lot of time on the core things and LeCharls has spent a ton of time with snappers, holders, kickers and punters. We're really eager for that.
This Illinois team is a good team. I spent time looking at their film against us last year. They have a lot of guys returning. They're very big on the offensive line. (Kurt) Kittner returns as their quarterback. Two really good tailbacks come back, and a full corps of receivers. So really, they're similar to us, offensively, in that they return a lot guys that played. They have a new defensive staff and lose a few guys, but have a couple of pretty darn good players coming back on defense. I think that the game is pretty evenly matched personnel-wise. Looking back at last year, the game was sloppy. I look at some of the things that happened, and we were just very sloppy - a bunch of opportunities that slipped right through our fingers. Quite frankly, they didn't play all that great either.
On Cal's punting situation:
I think the punting right now is good. Tyler Fredrickson is our punter. Tyler's known that it has been his job since Nick Harris left. He's got a nice leg. It's just a matter of how he'll react under pressure, how our punt protection team will do and the situations that he's in. I feel pretty confident going into this season with Tyler.
On Cal's tight ends:
I think that it's really been a feature of Al's (Borges) in the past. He's been able to effectively use it. It might not be the highlight of the offensive schemes that he's had, but it's certainly been an integral part of it. And if you do have a tight end that's effective and you can use one or two tight ends, even if it's in a blocking scheme, that puts a lot of pressure on the defense. I am comfortable with the tight end situation. We have three tight ends that we will carry right now - Tommy Swoboda, Terrance Dotsy and Jordon Hunter. Brett Bischofberger is probably going to redshirt. We feel comfortable with the three of them. Those three guys are players. They can all catch the ball. All three are blockers. There will be times where we will have three tight ends in the game at the same time. That's the first time that we've ever been able to do that.
On true freshman getting playing time:
(DT) Lorenzo Alexander will play on defense. On offense, (WR) Christian Prelle will play. We're contemplating playing (WR) Burl Toler. He had an unbelievable camp. He's a walk-on wide receiver. The reason that we would do it (play Toler) is that it'd give us a special teams guy. He's a guy that played high school wide receiver and defensive back. He played quarterback early in his days. He's a very good athlete and we can use him on special teams, so he could possibly be the sixth wide receiver at this time. With Chase Lyman and Chad Heydorff missing time - Chad, out for sure, Chase, limited probably because of his appendix - we'll probably bring (Toler) along. It'd be good for him because that's like gravy. You get a walk-on that can play like that, that's darn good. (As for SAF) Harrison Smith, no. He had a great camp, but we're pretty deep at that position. There's a couple of defensive linemen, Brandon Povio and Josh Pukini who played well in camp, but right now, we don't feel like we'll have to play them. Richard Schwartz had a great camp, but he's a quarterback, and all three quarterbacks ahead of him played well. This is really where we want to be. We really don't want to have to play the freshmen. I'm comfortable that they'll develop.
On the tailback situation:
(RB) Terrell Williams is our second guy right now, Michael Sparks and him, they're probably 2a and 2b. Sparks probably would have been two just from experience, but he nicked his shoulder a little bit. He's back in practice this week, but because of the proximity of the game, Terrell will go into the game at No. 2. Will Scott is having surgery on his knee. He had a freak, non-contact knee injury. He's going to have it scoped. He'll be out a couple of weeks. This probably puts him on the shelf for the season. He'll be able to practice, but he'll redshirt.
When Al (Borges) came in and looked at last year's film and saw that we used the three tailbacks more than he would have liked to have. He made it clear right in the beginning that in a perfect world that Joe (Igber) would carry the ball, be in the backfield more than the other guys, that they would come in just to spell him. When (Joe) got his breath back, he'd be back in the game. Terrell is a freshman, and you don't really want to have a true freshman at No. 2 in the first game. But he can do it. He's played hard against the defense, and he'll be prepared to play somewhat of a role, but it is not a perfect situation going into the first game.
On Illinois' quarterback Kurt Kittner:
I think he had a really good sophomore year where he had a lot of people around him. He lost his best wide receiver in the summer and they had a better running game than passing game last year, and his stats dropped off. But he's a big, strong kid with a good arm. They don't put a lot of pressure on him to be the guy. However, the better he plays, the better they're going to be. If they can keep healthy on offense, and he stays in there, he'll have a good year.