September 8, 1998
BERKELEY - On facing defending national champion Nebraska this week:
"I'm excited about this game coming up. It has been the talk ever since it was scheduled. How Nebraska is going to come in and what are we going to do and how are we going to think? The great part about playing a team like that is that we get a shot right now to see what we are all about, to see how we measure up. I have a very optimistic view of what we can do.
"I know that our team is extremely excited about the opportunity to play Nebraska. They are grateful that we got out of there with a win last week. We looked at the film, and obviously on offense there were a number of things that need to be corrected and corrected soon, same with special teams. The defense played very well, but they know that playing a team like Nebraska this week that the effort has to be as good if not better. They need to be able to come up with more plays and more turnovers to have a chance to beat a team as powerful as Nebraska.
"It is going to be a great opportunity for the Bay Area to see a team that is a perennial power. Everybody knows the numbers and the records. I would encourage everybody in the Bay Area to come out and see the game. We don't want this Nebraska team to come out here and have more red than blue in the stadium. We need all the Cal Bear fans to come out and get this one going and have a good time Saturday."
On looking past the media hype:
"The key is that you just have to examine the film and try to find the areas that you what to take advantage of or try to expose. And to be quite frank, there are not a lot of areas that you can expose. Everybody has an idea of what you can do, and some people are more successful than others. They are awfully dominating, their personnel is usually superior to what you are coming with, and the thing that is most impressive is just what people call 'the system.' They do a few things right and they do a few things extremely well, and it is hard. You know what they are going to show. Most of the time they are just coming at you. They are known for their offense, but their defense is pretty special to.
"The bottom line is that whenever a team like this comes in, to beat them you have to out-execute them. They have to make mistakes, you have to force mistakes, and you can't make mistakes. That is what we are looking for. We are looking for a perfect Cal game, and less than perfect Nebraska game."
On respecting Nebraska's success:
"I think there is a great deal of respect (for Nebraska). When you see a team play that successful over time, you have a tremendous amount of respect for them. We are going to play the game and fight hard. You try to find areas where you think you can grab an advantage."
On improving quarterback protection:
"That is something that we need to address immediately, and there will be some personnel changes. Unfortunately we got into a game and we maybe over estimated being a little bit more prepared then we were. There were a number of breakdowns, mainly individual breakdowns. There were very few plays where there was more than one breakdown on the line. It was very discouraging to see that in the first game."
On it being the biggest game of his coaching career:
"Definitely. This team is very strong. We obviously played some games last year against some really good teams, but I don't think we have ever played a team quite as physical and dominating coming in."
The key to defense:
"One of the things we need from our defense in order for us to be a really good team is to have those guys who started to show stability at the end of last year to step up and start to be play makers."