Tom Holmoe is a lame duck. The Cal head coach announced his resignation, effective at the end of the current season, last weekend. He’s just playing out the string, probably fielding job offers from other coaches while trying to keep his team together. But what about the players he recruited to the program, the ones who are still fighting for playing time, for a possible NFL career, for pride?
Apparently they just move on.
“(Holmoe and I) are about as close as a coach and player can get,” cornerback Atari Callen said Tuesday. “But my emotions didn’t shift much when I heard. We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when he was going to tell us.”
Holmoe’s timing was well thought out, according to the coach.
“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,” Holmoe said. “I figured that with three games to go they would be strong enough to want to make it through.”
The Bears are winless this season. They host the USC Trojans on Saturday, their last home game, and are expected to draw their smallest attendance in years, even smaller than the crowd last weekend for the loss to Arizona that filled less than half the stadium.
But Holmoe thinks his team can finish strong, and he’s not the only one.
“We’ve got to get (Holmoe) a win before he leaves,” Callen said. “Some teams need some kind of tragedy to fire them up. Maybe this is what we need to get motivated and finally get a win.”
USC head coach Pete Carroll is worried about just that. He and Holmoe are old friends, having coached together for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1990s, and Carroll thinks the announcement could actually free up Holmoe to be more daring in his final three games.
“I know Tom is going through some hard times right now, but we have to be ready for anything,” Carroll said. “It’s got to be a relief to be able to concentrate on just getting through his last few games.”