November 3, 1998
BERKELEY - Comments from Cal head football coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 3:
On to Arizona State this Saturday:
"This one takes on a pretty big significance in that a win really keeps us in contention for a really nice bowl and also in contention for a high standing in the Pac-10. They (ASU) really have as much on the line as we do. I'm excited about the opportunity to go down there and trying to get a win. They are a team that is extremely talented and play with great confidence. They still have a lot to look forward to this season. They will be fired up and ready to go against us. I look at this team as still one of the better teams in the Pac-10 Conference and a team that had some adversity early and has since responded and is now playing some pretty good ball, so it's going to be a pretty big battle for us."
On coming out of a close win at Oregon State:
"We are very happy to come out of Oregon State with a win. It is about that time of the year where every team in the conference is nicked up and a lot of guys have to play on just strength and pure will. It kind of gives a challenge to every coach to try to put together a game plan that protects your interests. We are just looking forward to one more game and keeping things going."
On overcoming the close win anxiety:
"Each win that we have is going to be big for us. When they are close wins, and they are come-from-behind wins, then it gives you even more strength. There have been some anxious moments this year in a lot of those games. We try not to make too much about it as much as just trying to learn from the lessons. It is good to have that kind of winning attitude now."
On Arizona State this season:
"I knew that they were going to be good just because they are well coached and very competitive. They play extremely tough football. They have struggled with a few injuries and just didn't play up to the level that they wanted to, and I'm sure that they are disappointed and that coach (Bruce) Snyder addressed it. I think that they have adjusted and are trying to get the best of what is out there."
On the possibility of a bowl berth:
"The bowl people are going to do what they are going to do. If you start trying to slot yourself in the games and even get the win, you still might not get selected. To talk about it is premature. To worry about it is insane. For us, our strategy is to play and let the bowl people figure it out when it is over."
On Arizona State Head Coach Bruce Snyder:
"I've probably played against him 17 years out of the last 20, so I'm very familiar with his style. He is a very fine coach, and his teams always have the same pattern. They are physical. He is a running back coach, and he likes that. His teams are very physical and love to run the ball. Everybody is aware of it, but you just have to try to slow them down because they are pretty good that way."
On running back Saleem Muhammad:
"He has been exceptional at picking up the blitz and is a fine open field runner. I think it is going to be to his advantage that he got this playing time this year. The confidence that he is going to gain, and just the experience of having played in the big games, will help him next year. There is no question in my mind and in our coaching staffs' minds that he can run the ball. So what we call him or where he lines up doesn't really matter. If he is the best back, we will put him in whatever position we want to get him the ball, whatever the best combination will be."