Quotes from Tom Holmoe's Media Luncheon

Oct. 10, 2000

BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Tom Holmoe from his weekly media luncheon. Cal hosts UCLA Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.

General comments:

'It was another very disappointing and tough loss for Cal and the Bears, but you've got to put that one in the books and look forward to UCLA now. This is something that we talked about after the game. There are still a lot of things for these players to look forward to in this year. Sensing that championships are out of the picture now, you've got to adjust your goals and your visions for what the season can be. I think the players understand that and are looking ahead to what is positive and what they can accomplish as a team. UCLA has had some huge games and some games that they've struggled in. We'll just get back to work and look at the things that we feel we can take advantage of.'

On the loss to Arizona State:

'I thought that they played hard. It was a physical game against Arizona State, but this time there were a number of mistakes on the defensive side, big plays that really cost us dearly. Their quarterback, who had a great game, only completed 11 passes but those were big, big plays. That's something we feel we can iron out and work out the problems.'

Looking at UCLA:

'They had a lot of injuries last year. They had a lot of guys on defense who didn't play, but they are playing now. They were young last year and now they are a year better. Against Alabama, you'd think they were one of the better teams in the country. They were healthy, things were clicking and they were at home. But then you look at them against Oregon and you see that they aren't as strong as suspected, that they have a few weaknesses. They have some things that they can explode on and they can be really good, but if they don't have all their people together, they can struggle at times.'

On senior cornerback Chidi Iwuoma:

'I think Chidi Iwuoma has been a solid defender. I've contended this from day one, this year and even going back to last year - people don't pick on him. They say sometimes that the sign of a good corner is a guy whose name you don't hear a lot. In that game (at Arizona State), as hard as it was in the secondary, Chidi didn't give up a play. If you look back to last year, Chidi was a solid contributor and probably more of a stable defensive back than Deltha O'Neal. He hasn't come up with the big plays that would make him a household name, but he's a solid, stable and very dependable corner and that's helped us a ton.'

On overcoming the season's losses:

'I talked to the team about this after the game. The first thing I said to them is that you can never allow yourself to become numb over losses because then they become almost commonplace. I think you have to be aware and feel the sting and the pain, and that way it keeps you alert. If you get used to losing, you let your guard down and you won't be able to come back and be strong. The pain and the losses hurt a great deal. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get used to a loss, whether it's a tough loss, a close loss or a blowout. To me, they are all basically the same. I told the players not to allow themselves to get numb and think that this is okay. It's not. If you feel the pain, you can get through it.'

On reading e-mail from Bear fans:

'I feel a little heat from people, but I feel a great deal of support from people, too. I read letters and I understand what they are saying. Some of it is very logical. We're working at it. We want to get better. I read it because I think it's important for me to know how people feel. If it's justified and a good critique, I take it to heart. They want us to win, they want us to be successful, and that's why I look at it. I know what they feel.'

On recent criticism of offensive coordinator Steve Hagen:

'I wish people would realize that he understands exactly what we are up against and what he is up against. It's my responsibility more than his responsibility, and that's the reality of it. I think he's handling it pretty well. A lesser man would have cracked a long time ago. I'm very proud of the man. There is no coach on this staff who has given up on one player or given up on the season. It's a work in progress and the big question is how much we'll progress.'