Oct. 16, 2001
Below are quotes from head coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly media luncheon. The Bears return to action this Saturday when they visit UCLA at 7:15 p.m. in the Rose Bowl.
On UCLA's defense:
They are very efficient. All of them are playing extremely well. They have good personnel. They're experienced, they don't make mistakes, they play hard, and they're talented. The process that they've gone through is similar to the process our defense went through. A couple of years ago, they were very much a maligned team defensively. They were playing a bunch of guys that were true freshmen or sophomores, and they were getting beat up. It was similar to us with Sekou (Sanyika) and Matt Beck in 1996 and all those guys that played a lot as freshman. Slowly but surely they got to be pretty good.
On the fact that UCLA doesn't use situational substitution much on defense:
If you've got the personnel, that's the best way to do it. You use situational substitutes because you want to match the best with the best, but that's a little hectic. We do that, and we've gotten in some trouble this year trying to substitute defenses because we try to put ourselves in the best possible match-up. There's difficulty in doing that because you're always trying to guess and run guys out on the field, and that's tough.
One of the things that is different is that they're pretty generic defensively. They don't show you a ton of stuff, they don't blitz wildly, and they play a lot of zone. They can afford to do that because they have good personnel that can play a lot of the different situations.
Does DeShaun Foster remind you of any running back from the past?
He kind of reminds me of Roger Craig. Not so much the style, but he'll run over you, around you, and by you. And you don't know which one it's going to be. That's how Roger (Craig) was. With this guy, there's one play where he'll come to the line of scrimmage and there's a linebacker in the hole and he'll (Foster) put his helmet right into his chest and run right over him. The next play, the same hole and same guy, he'll come up give him a little move and he's off. Sometimes he'll take the corner and sprint past everybody. Other times, he'll come to the corner and cut back. He's got a lot of tools. He's one the more talented running backs you're going to see. He's a smart kid and anything you ask him to do, he's going to do it. You put him into a situation that's different and he's going to jump right on it.
On UCLA's running game:
Well, against Washington, there were no tricks. DeShaun (Foster) carried it like 33 or 35 times. There weren't many doubts about what the next play was going to be. They were going to give him the ball. They only completed nine passes in the game. If you're only completing nine passes and you still win the game, you're doing something right in the running game. Aside from DeShaun Foster, their offensive line is the best we play. They're solid as a rock.
On UCLA's play action:
You can run play action well when you run the ball. If you don't have a run threat, there is no play action. You can do it, you can run through the motions, but based on what they are accomplishing on the offensive line and the running game, it makes it very effective. He's (DeShaun Foster) averaging a 162 yards a game.
On Cal's quarterback situation:
Kyle (Boller) is not playing in the game. He's injured and he's had a bad back for most of the season. He was sore after the game, but he woke up the next day and was really sore. He went to the doctor yesterday and he won't even practice this week. He's had a couple of epidurals, one in camp and one in the bye week, and it helped. I don't want to make an excuse for him ... he hasn't made an excuse ... but he didn't play very well last week. Knowing Kyle, if we don't take him out of the lineup, he won't take himself out. The doctors say this is the time right now. It is important in the quarterback position to have Eric (Holtfreter) start right now and go. We need to get him going. Thank goodness he has played in some games, has some stuff under his belt and improved greatly through the course of practices. Reggie Robertson will be the number two quarterback.
On trying to get the first win of the season:
I don't think the task is the motivation, I think the tough task is playing the game against these guys. They are good. You can get these guys motivated and be ready to play, but you have to play and execute those plays. When you're playing a team like UCLA, if they're not motivated, you're not going to win. We played a game against Oregon where we just didn't play well. We had some receivers open and we didn't hit them. We had a couple of times where the receiver didn't run the right route. It's not lack of motivation, just lack of execution. We missed a lot of tackles. They came to play and they jumped on us early. That was tough. We had open opportunities. We had open receivers and we had open players. I don't know if this was necessarily a lack of motivation. It's just not executing.
On Eric Holtfreter: I think he's improved a great deal. When he first got here, he was a guy with a big strong arm. He would throw a lot of balls in the dirt. His accuracy is much improved. The way he's handled the game situations this year, he's done well. He has done his job. It's hard to come in off the bench, especially as a quarterback. The team will be fine. He's had a lot more reps this year in practice than he did in the past. Al (Borges) tries to get the second quarterback a considerable amount of reps, it's not a 50-50 proposition, but Eric is prepared. You can see it by the way he throws the ball. He's a confident kid and he's waited for his opportunity to play and he's had a few times and done well. I fully anticipate that he will be fired up about it.
Are there going to be personnel changes on offense?
In practice we will turn the heat up and give guys some more reps in some situations. We're not changing any starters this week. We just want to make sure that the starters realize that they are not set in stone. Our backups are capable. Our number ones should be better, but this is the point where you need to play the guys who are going to do the right thing. Some of these guys deserve the chance, even if they're not as good as the starters, to show what they can do.
On the third quarterback position:
We will not pull someone out of a redshirt year. Maybe Adam Sugarman will be the backup. He was a high school quarterback and he's got a great head on his shoulders. If anyone can do it and not panic, he can.