Cal fans to coach Holmoe: Just win, baby

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – USC coach Paul Hackett is the object of a web site called “firepaulhackett.com,” whose content is obvious.

Cal coach Tom Holmoe’s detractors might be slightly more subtle, but they are many and have been many for two of his 3 1/2 years at the Bears’ helm.

Holmoe is 14-25 at Cal, and administration, fans, media and alums are getting restless.

“There’s been some tough things said about us – about me,” Holmoe said. “But that’s part of the game. If you can’t handle it, you shouldn’t be coaching. Right now, I can handle it.”

A win Saturday at Washington, a foe the Bears haven’t beaten since 1976, would do much to help Holmoe’s cause.

While Cal’s 46-38 triple-overtime victory Saturday against UCLA might have temporarily halted some of the negative onslaught, the win might be a more accurate statement of the Bruins’ fall than a Cal ascension.

For example, quarterback Kyle Boller, who went through a hellish season last year as a true-freshman starter, completed just 16 of 34 passes against UCLA and has shown only slight improvement over last year.

Of more concern to Holmoe and his future is the lack of first-class facilities at Cal. Many question the university’s commitment to its athletic programs, in light of the boom of indoor practice facilities popping up in the Oregon and Washington schools.

“There’s no question there has to be upgrades at Cal,” Holmoe said. “I know our athletic director, John Kasser, and our chancellor, Robert Berdahl, understand that and are committed to doing that. It’s kind of an arms race, but you’ve got to do it.”

Although renovation at Haas Pavilion, the school’s basketball venue, is nearly complete and renovation at Memorial Stadium has been proposed, the possibility exists that it’s too little, too late and that Holmoe won’t be around to reap any benefits.

That is, unless Cal starts winning. Immediately.

The Bears are 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference. They are ninth in the conference in total defense and offense. Yet, a win at Washington might help stave off the critics, albeit temporarily.

“We’re going to come up there with a little bit of momentum and a little bit of good feeling,” Holmoe said.

  • Hooker back in 2001? UW coach Rick Neuheisel said wideout Ja’Warren Hooker, who hasn’t played football since the 1998 season, could come back in the 2001 season and could begin his re-insertion into the program starting with winter conditioning in January.

    Hooker, a world-class sprinter, has been devoting his time to track and made the U.S. Olympic team as an alternate on the 4×400 relay. One school of thought has Hooker making untold amounts of money in track-happy Europe, but Neuheisel said Hooker has told him that football might be in his future.

    “If football is something he wants to do, he will have to commit to it,” Neuheisel said. “It seemed to me in our conversation that was the direction he was headed.”

    The NCAA likely would grant Hooker an extra year of eligibility because of an Olympic exemption, which would give him two years of football eligibility.

  • Short routes: Cal cornerback LaShaun Ward, who punctured a lung Saturday in the Bears’ celebration following their triple-overtime win over UCLA, looks to be out for the season. He has spent all week in the hospital with internal bleeding in his chest cavity … UW cornerback Anthony Vontoure, suspended from last week’s game at Arizona State, is battling turf toe and is being held out of some aspects of practice. Neuheisel said true freshman Derrick Johnson likely will start in Vontoure’s place … The UW-Stanford game won’t be televised, ABC announced. The game will start at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.
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