Q: How is the knee feeling?
Holmes: Actually, pretty good. In Kansas City, it has been off and on with Nascar Racing. Just like those cars go around 100 laps, around lap 50, you need to take that car in and check it out and make sure everything is OK. That is basically what we did. I had an MRI and some X-rays to make sure that everything is together in order to go into this upcoming eight-game stretch.
Q: Do you see Dick Vermeil trying to duplicate what he did in St, using the same blueprint, acquiring you and going with the quarterback that is somewhat of an unknown commodity?
Holmes: I think that what he's trying to do is...it even goes back even further than just St. Louis, but the Philadelphia Eagles, too. It is pretty much the same offense and the same type of production that they were looking for. Not necessarily just trying to find guys that fit that role ... so to speak because our team is a lot different with Tony Gonzalez, our receivers, and with Trent Green... It makes for a different team, but at the same time, I think the form that they have been using over the last years has worked for them and they're staying with it.
Q: You are on pace for almost 500 touches this year. Unlike some of the other backs who have a little more size, how are you holding up under that kind of a workload?
Holmes: Actually doing pretty good. With the way we approach our three-hour practices, a little longer than most teams during the week, we definitely get that repetition. The point to go out on a Sunday and do it is a lot easier when you know you've ran so many different plays, up to 60 plays in practice, then you go into a game and you run close to that many plays.
Q: You are also on pace to perhaps eclipse what Marshall Faulk did in '99, in terms of total yardage. Talk about that briefly and how that has come about.
Holmes:I have to owe a lot to the scheme of things on the offensive line. They've been able to get to the second level. A lot of that has to show
that our offensive line is definitely capable of getting on the perimeter. They are very agile. They can get to the second level, as far as with the linebackers and blocking them and just creating lanes. Also, with the passing game... it definitely opens up lanes to allow me to run through.
Q: You were the offensive player of the month for October. How do feel about establishing yourself as one of the premier, perhaps the premier, halfbacks in the league at this juncture?
Holmes: Right now, the focus is still winning games. When it comes down to it, your organization is definitely looking for W's. Despite the things that I can do personally with the help of my teammates, the biggest thing is to actually get a win and put some money in the pockets of my offensive linemen, get them new contracts ... whatever it takes to help establish this team so we can play for a number of years to come.
Q: One of things that the Niners defense tends to do fairly well is play the run. The only person that really got them was Deuce McCallister. They held Marshall in check. What is your general observations of how the defensive line plays or the reasons why the Niners tend to be so stout towards the run?
Holmes: I think it's a mentality that they bring to the field. I believe they have some really good linebackers that are definitely capable to come in and fill the hole. I think they play as an all-around team. They have speed on the outside with the corners and they are definitely able to peek back into the backfield. If it is needed for them to come up for support, I think that is the type of mentality that they have. Also, when their offense is doing well, scoring and controlling the clock, the defense comes out with enough time to rest on the sideline and then come back and be aggressive.
Q: You guys are a couple games behind San Diego and Denver. With the playoff format being what it is, one less wild card, do you think you guys have it in you to make a run to claim a chance to get into the postseason?
Holmes: The way that we work, we've always went into the off season before the year had started saying that we were going to be a second-half team. However the first eight games went, we would be thankful for, but knowing that we are a second-half team and knowing that we have the ability to come back in and play even harder than the first part of the season is something that we can look forward to.
Q: How has Coach Vermeil doing this season? Last year was really tough on him.There was some speculation regarding whether he would return. How is the coach handling this season, with a 4-4 record, and how has he dealt with that?
Holmes: You would definitely have to ask him, but from a head coach position from what we've seen, he's shown us that we can go right back out there and get the work done. He's definitely supporting us, as you've seen when we got a few knocks against our defense, he spoke up. I think he's ready to get on with the season and getting into the post-season is something that we would definitely look forward to.
Q: Would winning the rushing championship this year, finishing at the top of the stats, would it be something special for you, in terms of the route it has taken you to get to this point in your career?
Holmes: I think that anytime you get a chance to win an award, it's something that speaks highly about what your team has been able to help you accomplish. But at the same time, that has already been done. It was done in 2001. For it to happen again would be great, but the most important thing is to win some ball games. When I won that rushing title last year, it didn't necessarily put any money in anybody's pockets. But I know that when you make it to the playoffs, you definitely are going to get some extra money.