Sept. 9, 1997
Tom Holmoe - Q & A From Sept. 9 Press Conference
Q: "You've had a chance to look a the film, as far as the penalties that were called, what was your opinion of the calls? Did you think a lot of them were borderline and maybe shouldn't have been called?"
A: "No, however, I was getting a little upset during the game because there were so many of them. When you're in the game in the heat of the battle, you think every call that goes against you is a wrong call. But there were a lot of mistakes that we made, and we were penalized accordingly. Some of the mistakes were aggressive mistakes. It's hard for me to tell the guys to back off from that, and I'm not talking about late, late hits, I'm talking about personal fouls. So as long as this aggressive play is not after the whistle, and in our opinion some of those plays bordered on just being very aggressive. But there's no way I'll fault the referees for us having 21 penalties because the majority of them were penalties that we made."
Q: "Last year, Cal was hurt by a lot of big plays and missed tackles. There didn't seem to be much of that in this game. Is that something that you saw as encouraging?"
A: "Yes, definitely. I think the defense really moved around well and hustled to the ball. We really look on the film for what we call loafs, and there were a limited number of loafs. A lot of time those aren't conscious loafs where a guy says 'I'm not going to go to the ball this time.' Players sometimes just get mesmerized and as it turns out they're not hustling. But when a team is swarming on defense, it's contagious."
Q: "How did you come out of the game from an injury standpoint?"
A: "Outside of (Keith) Miller it was OK. Miller has the same prognosis and is going to have an MRI this evening. We'll find out more then as to the extent of his injury. Tight ends Corey Smith and A.J. Kunkle will probably be back for the Oklahoma game, and that is something we are looking forward to. The rest of the injuries are just little nicks and cuts, nothing that would keep a guy out. Having the bye week also gives us the opportunity to get players like Rashawn Davis a week closer to getting ready to play."
Q: "How do you feel your defensive backfield played and how is the rotation setting up?"
A: "Chidi Iwuoma played very well in the game and really is the third corner now, and Mark Orr is the fourth. We feel that those two guys played well enough to warrant them being in the twos."
Q: "Are you going to redshirt freshman Samuel Clemons and if so, why not Marcus Fields?"
A: "We gave Clemons every opportunity in camp to become the second guy. From our evaluation, we knew he was capable handling that assignment and he proved to be physically more talented than we ever thought. But in the two weeks that he had at camp, it wasn't enough time for him to be the second guy. We couldn't go into the Houston game with him as the number two. Now five or six games going into the season, he probably would be the number two QB, but the decision now comes down to what's best for the team. What's best for the team is that Ryan Tollner is better suited both physically and mentally to handle the offense. So even though Sam is really special physically, it's best to redshirt him because he'll be able to go through fall, spring ball and summer and be ready to roll next fall.
"As far as Marcus Fields, I'm glad he got into that game and did so well. It was great to see him score a touchdown. He had one really beautiful run and another one that was pretty darn special. But it was a great experience for him. Next year, when Tarik (Smith) is gone, he's going to have to step in. I don't want a redshirt freshman Marcus Fields next year. I want an experienced sophomore Marcus Fields next year. I also like the fact that we ran four tailbacks in the game."
Q: "The Cal running game appears to be very deep this year. Is that something you've been thinking about or did it surprise you?
A: "We went into the game wanting to get everybody reps. It wasn't a situation where each back was going to take a quarter of the reps each. We would like to get to the point where Tarik takes what he can take, and then let Deltha (O'Neal), Marcus and Brandon (Willis) do what they do best. Each will have a role, but Tarik is not going to be able to carry the ball 20-25 time probably until halfway through the season. In the meantime, we are counting on the rest of these guys to develop and give us solid depth at that position because that is what we want to do in this offense, run the ball."
Q: "Were you disappointed in Tarik's performance at all?"
A. "No, I was quite pleased with his performance. I think we did just the right thing in how we handled him, and credit has to go out to the doctors and trainers that kept the reins on me and made me stick to our plan. I think Tarik, in his first game, we couldn't have expected more. You dream that he's just going to bust out for 200 yards, but realistically, that was a very good start. The important thing was that the next day, he wasn't swollen. He was a little sore, but not any more than a regular day after a game. And that's a great sign."
Q: "The tight ends didn't get very involved in the game. Was that by design or was that something that Houston just took away?"
A: "The game plan was that we wanted to go with our three-receiver set. We've got three really good receivers and we thought that was going to be a strength for us going in. But those tight ends, I'm really proud of the way they played. They're very young, but they've come along way. Their situation is very similar to what we had on defense last year. They're not really ready to play but they did. They know that when Corey (Smith) and A.J. (Kunkle) come back, their playing time will be limited. But they went out, did a great job and played their hearts out."
Q: "Were you surprised by the contributions Joshua White made on offense?'
A: "Not really. He makes progress every day. But what did surprise me was the emotion that he showed during the game. Normally, he's pretty stable emotionally. He was really expressive in a very positive way and that was very fun to see that he was excited and having fun.
"(Doug) Cosbie and I have discussed the importance of the fullback position in this offense. Edgar Bennet became an All-Pro under Mike Holmgren, Tom Rathman, William Floyd made a name for themselves in this offense. The fullback is an intricate part of this offense, and I think he showed a certain dimension that we didn't have last year."