Oct. 9, 2001
Below are selected quotes from head coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly football press conference. The Bears host Oregon at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in this Pac-10 match-up.
Will having WR Derek Swafford back have any kind of effect on your offense?
I think that it will help. Derek is a guy that has played a lot of football for us in the past and came into this season doing a very good job. He hurt his ankle (vs. BYU), but he's recovered now. We get an extra guy, which helps, we're a little bit nicked up. Christian Prelle, who has really filled in and done a good job for us, sprained his ankle and is questionable for this game. Having Swafford, a guy that is one of our faster kids and better receivers, will help us in a big way.
Who will start at safety this week?
Right now, I think Dewey Hale and Bert Watts have been playing well. Those are the starters and I'm quite certain that Nnamdi (Asomugha) will be in the game quickly. Depending on how he does this week in practice, perhaps he could start. There's no retribution. He served his suspension ... we sat him out for a week. He had a good week of practice last week and this will be a week where we are going against a very, very good offensive football team, and we're going to need all the help we can get. He'll play a role. What role he plays exactly will be determined this week in practice.
Can you address the turnover situation? Is there a way to address that in practice?
Coach Borges, at least on the offensive side of the ball, talks about not saying right before they go out on the play 'Now hold on to the ball.' That's a negative thing to put into their minds while they're running out on the field. In practice, there's quite a bit of talk about the positives. When a ball is dropped in practice, whether it's on a handoff, a hit or a dropped pass, those are times when you don't just say 'Don't drop the ball' or 'Hold on to the ball.' You have to examine why it happened. Sometimes it's a runner not changing the side that he holds the ball and getting hit on that side of the body. Or it's a receiver not securing it. Or it's a poor handoff, or even a running back that doesn't give a good target. All of those are things that can be and are talked about in practice. Those are the things that we are trying to get better at.
On the defensive side, the ball has been on the ground a few times, we just haven't recovered it. We've had a couple of opportunities to get balls out of the air and dropped them. So those are things that you work at. Sometimes, it's just breaks.
Is this a similar Oregon team of years past?
I think it's similar offensively. They have a very solid quarterback, which they've had in the past. They're running backs have been spectacular, and they have a good stable of wide receivers. Their skill people are really good. With their offensive line, they've been able to bring in replacements each year that do a good job. Then, they eventually get to the point where they're the stronger players. They have a good scheme. They have a very good tight end ... they've always had good tight ends.
What stands out that you absolutely have to stop?
They execute very well. They played a close game against the University of Utah and they didn't panic. They had enough patience to blow it open. No turnovers was the key. They did the same thing against Utah State. They maintained excellent execution, struggled a little bit on defense, but the offense hung in there. When the time came, they opened the floodgates and scored two or three times in the fourth quarter to have a comfortable win. As in the past, they execute very well.
Will the extra week of preparation off a bye week help?
I won't say that I feel much more confident, but I think the extra week of preparation has helped. They (Oregon) played a game last week and had a good win. So that's got to be positive for them. They've got a lot of momentum. I think for us, we needed that bye. We were able to heal up a little bit, lick our wounds, change our attitude, and get ready to go. We felt we played well against Washington but not well enough to win. We are ready to play Oregon and play well enough to win.