Q. Because you know the Raiders really well how much of the practice is about some of the wrinkles that they will show?
It's really what we're about. I really don't believe in worrying about what they're going to do. It's what we're going to do on offense and defense and how we're going to try to attack certain things that they do. That is how I've always been as a coach. I give the team credit that we're playing but I don't get so concerned about what they're going to do. It's more about how we are going to function on defense and offense what we're trying to get established. I think that is probably the most important thing.
Q. Do you think that you have imposed your will on this team?
Will is something that everyone has. God gives everyone will. It's just how far you're willing to dig to get it. A lot of times your will can be broken because you let circumstances break it. I don't know if I pose that on them but I know what I'm about and I think the players understand what I'm about. I think they probably realized that when we were going through that spin. We were whistling in the graveyard and they found out about my will. Hopefully some of them have adopted that because if they have it's going to serve them for a long time. Not only in football but also in life and that is probably the most important thing. Because football to me is just like life, you play it on a stage where people get to criticize you. In life all of the things that you want to do behind close doors, you can do and get away with. But in football, you can't because it's right out there for everybody to judge and criticize. I think a little bit of that has rubbed off on them and hopefully it has. I try to implement that in them because I think it is going to help them in the long run.
Q. This team functioned for so long with no margin for error and as the underdog. Do you have any sense of how they are feeling this week?
No, because I think for the most part how we feel is where we're still the team with a lot of anxiety in them. We know that is how we function. We've been a team that is functioning on edge for a long time right now. I think you have to deal—when all of a sudden you win games the expectations. All of a sudden we were playing Green Bay and we were the favorites. They 12-3 and we were the favorites and that was another hurdle we had to cross. Guess what? You still have to go play. I think this team is maturing more. It's a lot more of a mature football team than it was last year. There were a lot of things that we couldn't handle real well and this is another step for us.
Q. Have you still had to tell them it's still a football game and don't let it get too big?
Yeah and I think this is when it becomes big when all of a sudden everyone wants to talk to you. You have to realize that you still have to play the game between the lines. Don't play the game in the paper and don't get involved in all that. Because when the guy hits you in the mouth, all of these people that are talking to you now are in the stands. They're not going to help you. All they want to write about is when he got hit in the mouth and what did he do. Oh, he folded under the pressure. The game got too big.
Q. Has there been anymore practice on snap, hold and kick because of what happened last week?
We talk about that stuff. We went over it yesterday. We just went over what we would do. We've always known to do that but we just went over it again, emphasized it again. We're not going to harp on it. It's part of what we do. We know how to handle that.
Q. On what happened last week. Do you think it will be in the player's minds?
You don't want think about it. You want to know what to do. If you're going to think about it then it's going to happen. When that happens in a game you have to know exactly what to do. You have to prepare yourself for that and I think we're prepared to handle that situation if it happens. Our guys know exactly what to do. Obviously the Giants players knew what to do too but they didn't get it done for some reason.
Q. Has it been mentioned once or twice more in the special teams meetings?
Yeah. Generally what I do every week is when I see games when we're not playing, things that happen, I bring it up to the team all the time. Look what happened to this team in this situation so that our team looks at it and goes okay. That is the great thing about history. That is what I love about history. There are two things happen with history. You become part of it or you change it. It's just according to what you want to do. I'm a guy that I believe in changing it. Don't become a part of it just change it.
Q. On maintaining your composure against the Raiders?
I think they give you the business. They would give you the business when I was playing. It's part of their persona. That is what makes them good too. Because they know how to give you the business and a lot of times get away with it. I think you have to understand that when you are playing them. Our players know that, we've played them four times now. So it's not like we're walking in there and all of a sudden these guys are going to change. They're not going to change and they shouldn't because that is how they play. We got players that play like that too. I'm not going to mention the names but we do. I know who they are and that is okay with me. It doesn't bother me because it's part of the game. It's part of football.
Q. Do you think the fans are in for a good game?
I would think so. I think it's going to be a good game. I could be wrong but I think it's going to be a good game. I think it will be a fun game to watch. I'm going to enjoy it and I have a ringside seat.
Q. Do you have any memories of the old AFL and Jets/Raiders rivalry?
It's funny that you mentioned that because last night I talked to Johnny Sample. He's a former Jet and former DB. He played in he Heidi game and started talking about that. I can remember the old league—growing up the NFC was like the conservative league and AFC was like the rebel league. There was triple reverses, you threw the ball, had different formations and colorful guys. The NFC had the guys that saved their mustaches and couldn't have hair. Those guys had long hair and Joe Namath had white shoes. It was one of those leagues where for me—you either go to Cal or Stanford. I went to Cal and I didn't want to go to Stanford. I could have gone to Stanford, believe it or not. I always tell my mom that and she looks at me and says something. But I chose Cal and when you make comparisons it was those kinds of guys. Marlon Briscoe was one of the first black quarterbacks that I can remember. They would generally bring him into the game when Buffalo was losing and he would run around and bring them back and when the game got close they would take him out and make him play wide receiver again. That's interesting. That is how that league was— a lot of passing, it had all the running backs with two formations. In this league there was always high scoring, the games were in the 30's and the 40's and then the other league it was 10 to 14 smash mouth football. The first game I went to was in San Francisco. It was Dallas against the 49ers and it was Calvin Hill's first year. I can remember going to that in Kezar [Stadium]. It was my first football game. I was amazed at all these people coming in to watch a football game.
Q. On all of the people that have touched your life?
I think the thing I've gained from all of them is that they were all very detail guys. They had a vision and the players believed in them and trusted them. I think they all had passion for the game of football. That was the thing that I learned about them right away. They all did it different ways. Marty was kind of a speech guy. He wanted to talk to the team for lengths of time. Dick would talk to the team, we would sit in the back—I can remember Claude Humphrey, Jaworski and those guys—they would be betting when is he going to cry. Claude would be betting three minutes. Tony was more of a schoolteacher. He is guy that was real direct, real soft spoken. If he got ready to talk everyone got real quiet. But he didn't talk a whole lot. He just kind of had his plan; this is what we're going to do. They all knew who they were and the players bought into what they were doing. That is probably what I drew out of being around all those guys. They were all good football coaches but they all did it different ways.
Q. On Mike White?
I had Mike White and we were on probation. He was a rah-rah guy. He could get a bunch of guys fired up. He was the guy that started recruiting a lot of black athletes out of Los Angeles. It was kind of a change of scenery that came to Cal. We had some great teams but I was wondering how he got all those players. Then I found out and we were on probation for five years.
Q. How much better is your offensive line from the first time you played them?
I think they are much better. The things that we are doing are helping. We are running the ball s little bit better, the play action game is coming, we're moving the ball around, we're moving the pocket and I think they're playing together a lot better. You have to play together and when you can do that you become very consistent.
Q. Do you think Curtis has his performance in the last Oakland game in his head?
Yeah, but he doesn't get enamored with the yardage he makes. As long as he knows the team is winning. But he didn't have one of his better days. They did a good job and they're a good run defense. They know we have to run the ball; you can't just play these guys and pass every play because they're going to get you and knock the quarterback down.
Q. On the magnitude of a big game?
Well you can just tell the conversation on the sidelines, in practice, in the meeting rooms, down in the locker. That is why probably more now than last week I'm constantly going in the locker room, training and going around players just— not like I'm a spy but kind of. I don't hear all the guys talk about the distractions that come along with a game like this. I hear guys that are focused. I watch them on the sidelines. That is the key to me is when you watch practice and the guys that are practicing. Then you watch the sideline and the guys that are standing over there what are they doing. It's a good feeling. Guys that are behind me on offense about what they're talking about and how they're talking. They are focused in on what we have to do.
Q. Have you seen the opposite in the past?
Yeah, I've seen that one. You're hoping the next day it's settled. The next day it's not settled and it catches up with you. Our guys are pretty good but I've been fooled. I've got other things to do. I thought we were focused in for Chicago. Hello. It happens.