Nov. 1, 1999
BERKELEY - Comments from Cal head coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly media luncheon. This week's Cal-Oregon State game begins at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised as part of the Fox Sports Syndication Package. Locally, the game can be seen on KICU TV, Channel 36.
Looking ahead to Saturday's game at Oregon State:
"It is amazing how topsy-turvy the Pac-10 is. Oregon State is a team that has made some improvements from last year, but they lost some really good defensive players. Looking at the guys that they lost on the defensive side of the ball, I was thinking that it would be very difficult for them to come back this year and respond like they did last year, but obviously they have. They have a great deal of confidence now and they play like it. With coach (Dennis) Erickson in there now, he's got them believing in themselves. I know he's got the people up there believing in the team, and this is going to be a very difficult game for us to go up for. They are on the verge of becoming bowl-eligible with one more win and there's a lot for them on this, so they are going to play with a great deal of emotion on their home field. It's not just an emotional high for them, they are pretty solid. They have some very fine players that will challenge us in a lot of ways."
On the Oregon State offense:
"They run the spread offense, an offense that Dennis Erickson is really one of the architects of. He runs it pretty much to perfection, the way it was meant to be. He's got a quarterback in Jonathan Smith that has done a great job running it. Ken Simonton is the perfect back for that system. He's similar to our Joe Igber's style, where he is very elusive and can get to a hole and dart through it and pick up good yardage. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield."
On the Oregon State defense:
"I think on defense, the one thing that stands out is that there are not a lot of really high profile players but they play very good team defense. They fly around the ball and play hard. We're looking forward to a good battle."
On the stakes going into the Oregon State game:
"It's just our challenge right now. There is nothing you can say about it. Oregon State is good and we respect that. Every week it seems like we get into a game like Washington, a team with the same record with a lot on the line. We lost the game and went into USC playing the same record and the loser stumbles. Coming into this game with OSU, there's no relief. It's just not going to happen. The relief will come after Nov. 21. Then we will be able to take a deep breath."
On the California offense this season:
"We have not been able to be diverse in our offense because of our inexperience, so we've had to trim back a lot. The more we expand, the harder it is, so we're caught between trying to be too tricky for our own players and also being too simple for the opposing defense. We don't have an offense that is very dangerous. If I were to scout our offense, it would not be like scouting Oregon State."