Oct. 7, 1997
Tom Holmoe Press Conference
Q: What is the status of Tarik Smith?
A: Tarik's status for this game is that he's healthy (after sitting out last week with a hip injury) and he'll practice. If he's ready to go physically and has a good week of practice, he'll be the starter. If he hasn't recovered fully from the hip, then we'll go with the guy who gives us the best chance to win this game. But if Tarik's healthy, he's our number one tailback.
Q: Have you been happy with Tarik's performance so far this season?
A: That's one of the issues that Tarik and I have talked about this week. His expectations for himself are extremely high and last year he was third or fourth in the nation in rushing when he injured his knee. Then when he came back, I think his expectations were that he'd be the same guy. I've told him that we're pleased with how he has performed. It's pretty amazing to me that he has recovered the way he has, and that he was able to play in the Houston game. It took a lot of work for him to get to that point and I told him that we are very happy with the way he is performing.
Q: How would you assess the Huskies?
A: They are very good. Heading into the season, you look at them on paper and you know that they probably have the best personnel in the Pac-10. Then the season begins and you see that they are pretty darn special. They have good aggressive fronts, both offensively and defensively. Their skill guys are doing a tremendous job. I think they are very well coached. They play hard all through the game and their special teams are good. So they are a fairly complete team with few deficiencies. That's why they are one of the better teams in the conference, if not the best.
Q: Are you concerned about the emotional state of your team?
A: Yeah, a little bit. It was a tough loss, especially after looking at the film and realizing that we had a number of opportunities to put that team away. Coming back, I think they really sensed that they could have easily been 3-1 going into this game against Washington, but we're not. So that's frustrating for them. But I really think this team is resilient. It is going to be very important that our guys respond emotionally and come out and play hard, aggressive and physical football.
Q: How do you deal with the team's emotions?
A: I think there are some things that need to be addressed as far as our preparation. There are a couple of things that we've spoken about. One is we haven't started quickly. In four games now the other team has scored first and that has something to do with being on the right edge and having the right focus, and we will address that this week in practice. We also need to learn how to put away a team. We had a chance to bury Oklahoma and didn't. We had a chance to put away Louisiana Tech and didn't. So those are things that need to be cleaned up.
I think that the team really believes that we are a good team. They look at our offense and see that we are racking up a ton of yards. But we're not capitalizing on a lot of opportunities that we have. I think the defense believes that we have the capability to make big plays, but we also shown a tendency to let big plays hurt us. On special teams, we've also done some great things, but we've been a little leaky in some areas. Against Louisiana Tech, special teams could have been the difference in the game.
So this team knows that we are capable of beating anybody. This team knows that we can beat anybody we play the rest of the way. Now if we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties at key junctures of the game, then we'll continue to be an average team.
Q: Have you had a chance to look at the game film and look at the penalties to see if they were legitimate?
A: I think that we are playing average football lately and that the penalties are a manifestation of our play. We don't think a lot. Many of the penalties are foolish. Some of them are simply a lack of finishing off plays. Though we continue to address the penalties situation, the players seem to continue to make the same mistakes. So we will continue and continue to stress the importance of discipline in the area of penalties and until its resolved.