Nov. 6, 2001
Below are quotes from head coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly media luncheon. The Bears host USC this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.
Will the players be up for playing this weekend's football game after news of your resignation?
I think they will be up for playing the football game. The big question for me, when I thought about when I would make an announcement as to my resignation, I knew it was going to be at the end of the season but the timing was a difficult choice to make. I figured that with three games to go they would be strong enough to want to make it through. I can't say that all of the sudden we'll be great or that we would be the same or worse. I have enough faith in these guys that they will do the right thing. That's the one thing I've asked of them since I have been here ... to do the right thing. And the right thing now is to fight and finish with a lot of pride and dignity. There's a lot to prove for themselves. I told them, 'look, people will be watching, but that the most important thing is what we do in these times, for ourselves.' Me ... how I finish in these next three weeks is incredibly important to my family. It's incredibly important to the players, in this difficult time, that they really are strong and that they compete, not just finish. The objective of these three weeks isn't just to coast until the end of the season, it's to compete and to say 'hey, through all the bad times we were able to finish strong.' That's our goal and it's a very worthwhile goal.
What kind of reaction have you received from the players?
I haven't seen the players very much because it was Sunday and I was away. A couple of them came and talked to me and some of them have come by to give me a hug or something. We'll see today.
What was your feeling on Sunday, was it a relief, and will it change your approach for this weekend's USC game?
My approach will be changed. I think I'll try harder. If we can try harder, we will. This is something that my kids are watching, to see how dad finishes up these three weeks. They know exactly what's going on. If anything, personally for me, that's the most important thing. My players, I've talked to them all year and for five years about finishing strong in games and in school. Hey, this is the ultimate challenge ... to finish strong. We could have three games to go, to go to the BCS and they would be important. We could have three games to go to play in a bowl game, and they would be important. We have three games to play for dignity. What's more important? To me the last is the most important in this situation. I'd love to have three games left to go to a BCS, but that's not the reality of the situation. So you make the best of the situation that you're in.
On both USC & Cal teams looking for a victory:
We are looking for victories for different reasons. USC needs two wins to go to a bowl. So that's a different attitude and they're going to be hungry, excited, and positive. Ours is a different look, but this game means a lot to us for different reasons. Pete (Carroll) is a good friend of mine and I learned a lot of football from him. We are guys that think alike a lot of times and the short time that we were together, about a year (with the San Francisco 49ers), I think he's a terrific guy. He's doing a good job. He started slowly but you can see the program starting to get it and in time he will be terrific down there.
Was there a sense of relief after your resignation on Sunday?
Not really. There's not a sense of relief because it's not over. These three weeks are very important to me ... I'm going to be selfish now ... they're very important to me. I haven't been too selfish, but just for personal private me only, it's very important. For the rest of the team, I hope that they see it my way. For the Cal fans, I hope they see it that way, they should. They have a lot to look forward to in the future and it starts right now. You see some of our young players playing. You see Terrell (Williams) running for 100 yards a couple of times and if he can do that a couple more times and we can win a couple of games this year ... one, two, or three games ... then it bodes well for next year. If we can end on a win, we've never done that here. Let's see how it would be to start a season after winning your last game. It would be great to go into your off-season conditioning program with a win. So there are a lot of things that are important. If the Cal fans fold up their tents right now, I feel sorry for them because they're missing the big picture. If they've been around this long, hey hang in there baby. You got to hang in there.
What do you see for your future?
I am a worker ... I work, I don't lay around ... it's not good for me. So it won't be too long before I want to get engaged in something else. But I want to be around my sweet wife, hug my kids, go to Warriors games, and catch a Cal basketball game or two ... just be a fan. I am a sports addict, I love it. Football wise, I might not be a football coach. I'm confident that I can coach. Head coach ... I won't do it next year. I don't want to do it next year for the sake of my family. Starting a new program as a head coach right now, I don't have it in me. I just don't have it in me. But being a position coach ... heck yeah, I can do that. That's like riding a bike for me. I've done it my whole life, I know how to play and coach the position. I can do that. But there are some interesting things out there. Administration is a possibility ... that's what my educational training is in and I've had the best hands-on experience of being in the best programs that there's ever been. So that would be something that might fall into my lap. I have time right now to choose the right people to be around, to choose the best place for my family, and I tend to really consider that.
On Norm Chow and USC's offense:
I just think that the conference is extremely difficult. Though they have a few really key players, they're not hitting on all cylinders. Norm Chow is a very successful offensive coach who has a great track record but he doesn't have all the weapons that he once had at his disposal. They're getting stronger and they've gotten better. When you come in with a new offense, it's difficult to hit the ground running. Every once in a while it is just the right place in time. They have Carson Palmer, who has been kind of hot and cold. He'll go 25-for-30 in one game and then have some struggles in another game. They have a great weapon in Kareem Kelly and when they hook up, it's good. They lost Sultan McCullough, their starting tailback, they've had some struggles in their offensive line, and they're coming together. They are trying to overcome some bouts of adversity that they've had offensively.
On the quarterback situation:
We will go in with Kyle (Boller) ... I don't think he'll struggle. I think Kyle came off that field (vs. Arizona) with his chin pretty high. Not so much in bragging but for what he had gone through. A great game against Washington, a poor game against Oregon, hurt for two weeks, and comes in the game and gets driven to the turf a couple of times and finishes strong. The kid's a courageous kid, and he can finish the season. I have no doubt in my mind that this kid can finish.
We know that Reggie (Robertson) showed us something that we didn't think we would have this year. So he is always available and that is a positive thing for the future. And even if we needed him this year ... no problem. We have no doubts.
On playing against USC and personal friend Pete Carroll:
The older you get the more friends that you have in the business. There are guys in the Pac-10 that become your friends because you see them. The ones where you meet them before you coach with them, like Lavelle Edwards ...that was my coach, to coach against him was very special. Pete (Carroll) is a guy where we're good friends and now we're coaching against each other. I would always root for Pete unless we play him.