Oct. 26, 1999
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BERKELEY - Comments from Cal head football coach Tom Holmoe at his weekly media luncheon. Cal hosts USC at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, and the game will be televised locally on KICU TV (Channel 36).
On the loss to Washington last week:
This team is not done by any stretch of the imagination. We are not through. When I went in to talk to the players on Sunday, and told that the only people that can count them out are themselves and that is not going to happen. I was encouraged by the attitude when I went in there Sunday and saw them ready to go. I have always told them that the statute of limitations on pain after a loss is 24 hours, and then you've got to let it go.
On playing USC this Saturday:
It's exciting to play USC, and as much as people down south are deriding them, they are still pretty darn good. They have a lot of explosive players that can score at anytime from anyplace. And their defense, which has had its struggles and shown its weaknesses, is still very good. Special teams-wise, you're going to see a guy in R. Jay Soward that will be very reminiscent of Deltha O'Neal. That's a nice little match up in this game. I don't know if there are two better guys in the country. You could throw in (J.R.) Redmond from Arizona State and you'd have the three best guys there in the country.
On TB Joe Igber's game status:
Going into the game, we believe Joe Igber will play. He is probable. He is going to practice today with no contact, but he's made progress. His injury was a first degree AC sprain, which wasn't serious, but is sore.
On the California offense coming back from last week's loss:
It is a team that I think is not in shock. It was a very difficult, hard loss but we are coming back knowing that the offense has shown a little bit more improvement. Joe Igber opens up a whole new adventure with him in there, and that's exciting. The wide receivers started showing some semblance of running some nice routes, executing some nice plays, and that was good. I think our running game is healthy and our offensive line has come together a little bit better, and that is good. Mark Jensen got two good field goals and almost squeezed in another one, a longer one, and we feel good about that. That is something that we haven't had many good feelings about lately.
On the California defense coming back from last week's loss:
Defensively, we had a couple of breakdowns, a couple of individual performances on key plays that really hurt us, but these are guys who have won games for us and that is a position where you hate to see it happen but it is going to happen every once in a while. You just hope that it doesn't happen more than once in a blue moon. There will be no position or personnel changes on that side of the ball. We'll just move forward.
On Cal's defensive style:
We play very aggressive. We have a very assertive style in our front seven, and our safeties play extremely tough, and that really puts us in a position to succeed on defense. But it puts a lot of pressure on the corners and the secondary. You can't be aggressive and assertive up front and then play soft in the secondary, so the two go hand in hand. Our guys have held up fairly well. We've had some guys who have played over long stretches of time very well. They are the ones that set up the sacks and the tackles for loss and the big plays, but every once in awhile there are going to be breakdowns and you just hope that it doesn't break your back.
On recruiting in Hawaii and finding Joe Igber:
I really believed that Hawaii was a state that we were not recruiting well. This is the perfect situation for a Hawaiian kid. The Bay Area has the closest climate and lots of Polynesian culture. There is just no better place and yet we'd see the other schools take every kid off the island. So I said, "Let's go." The first year, they didn't know who we were. The second year, the kids gave us a little bit more respect. And then we just found the guy who was short and who not many people thought about, even though he was the all-time leading career running back. A lot of people don't think the ball in Hawaii is all that good. Really, I think that league over there is one of the best in the country, the league Joe played in. It's great competition. What Joe is doing right now is just what he's been doing for the last three years. There's really no break in the action. Did we think he'd come do that? No. We thought he'd have a transitory period. But he's doing exactly the same thing he did there.