Football: What they’re saying about Dykes

What others are saying about Cal’s hiring of Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes:

“Cal landed a great coach in Sonny Dykes. He has always been on the cutting edge offensively and is now a proven head coach. They are lucky to have him.” — Texas head coach Mack Brown

“He’s outstanding … and he’s got a great offensive mind. He knows how to go out and put points on the board. With his pedigree and his background, I think he would be an outstanding coach no matter where he is.” — ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit

“Sonny Dykes is an absolute home run hire for Cal and the Pac-12. I spent 25 years in that league as an AD and he is as prepared as anybody I have seen. Congratulations to Sandy Barbour and the entire Cal administration. He is a great coach, a great person and a phenomenal recruiter. This is as good a hire as you will see in college football this year.” — Jim Livengood, former Arizona AD and current AD at UNLV

“If you have not seen or read Sonny Dykes’ name by now, it might be time for familiarization. Dykes is quickly becoming one of the more buzzed-about names for open or soon-to-be-open coaching jobs. Yes, the college football hot stove season has arrived. I’d venture to say that Dykes is the No. 1 name to watch in this cycle of the carousel.” — Travis Haney, ESPN.com

Jeff Faraudo

  • Picard

    I’m starting to really embrace this hire. Dykes is a great recruiter and a proven offensive mind.
    Juancho, et al, let’s give him a chance before denigrating him and advising players to transfer.

  • Tdogg

    Btw, in response to an earlier post about spread QBs not getting drafted as high. Cam Newton and RG3 came to mind and both ran spread offenses in college. I believe they went pretty high in the draft. 🙂 Kline will be ridiculous in the new offense. Go BearRaid!

  • Ray Finkle

    wehofx=Sandy Barbour minion

  • RT

    Sonny’s proven he can coach the O…..It’s the D I’m worried about….we’ve got talent and in recent years have had pretty solid defenses, at or near the top (except for this past year obviously)….the D coordinator is going to be key because if we can get back to being a top conference defense and can score a lot of points, we’ll be tough to beat. So, that being said, what D coordinators are out there?

    Go Bears!

  • H8sRed

    Ray Finkle @#2 (how appropriate) — per your request, you are negative, and you are an idiot.

    How do you “know” this is not a good hire? The guy hasn’t even met with his players, let alone coached a game at Cal, and you “know” he’s going to be bad? Go ahead, and express your concerns about what you perceive may be Sonny D’s shortcomings, but your vitriol against him and Sandy Barbour is wholly unwarranted.

    By the way Sonny D was not my first choice. It was Diaco, because I think stout defense means discipline; but Jeff Tedford wasn’t my first choice in 2001 either, and despite the past couple years, that turned out pretty well for Cal.

  • rollonubears

    Concord, other than Cal fans, I’d say the general consensus is that this was a blockbuster hire, and exactly what we needed. I hope the pundits are correct.

  • Steve W

    Heard that DeWayne Walker has emerged as a candidate for the D Coordinator. Lousy head coach for sure, but pretty good coordinator. He ran some good defenses when he was the coordinator at UCLA and held SC to under 10 points in the Bruin’s upset win four or five years ago. The dude would help with recruiting, too. Any thoughts?

  • 1brsfan

    Let’s all embrace our new coach, hope that he continues to thrive offensively and hires some good defensive coaches to help on the other side of the ball. I am excited to see what he can do with our talent next season. With a bad offense, bad defense and highly penalized team we got to 3 wins that easily could have been 5 wins (Nevada, OSU) with a better coach.

    A better offense like Dykes would have made us bowl eligible so I really don’t see how we could be any worse than this year. Nationally this is seen as good hire, not a big one like Petersen would have been but a good one.

    Let’s give him a big welcome and let’s get out there on opening day to show our support and see some fireworks!

    Go Bears!

  • Ray Finkle

    H8sred, it seems that whenever anybody makes any comment on this board that isn’t with the majority, people are called idiots and morons. I was just saving you the trouble. Look, I am just as big of a Cal fan as anybody on here, and I feel this is not a good fit. Wisdom cow has stated quite a few things that I agree with 100%. I hope he Dykes proves me wrong. I haven’t spoken with one single person who thinks this is a good hire, and I have spoken to quite a few. Trust me, I wanted to be positive. I was beyond thrilled when Tedford was hired because I follow college football very closely. As far as SB is concerned, she has botched many things at Cal imo. Oh well, I will hope for the best. Go Bears!

  • rollonubears

    DeWayne is 10-40 as a head coach at a much smaller school. I’m not sure how much work it is to be a D coordinator at Cal vs a HC at a smaller school, but that’s an abysmal record, and I know he’s going to be in charge of every single aspect of the D here, as Dykes apparently doesn’t know anything about defense. That’s a tall order. I’m not a fan if he’s hired, but maybe he can recruit enough talent to make up for his shortcomings.

  • Juancho

    Just want to throw this out there.

    Just because some types whatever is going through their mind, right or wrong, doesn’t mean they don’t support the new coach or program.

    We should get out of the habit of looking for any one who disagrees with us and immediately start name calling them.

    It’s only natural for people to share their worries when there is change. That’s natural.

    Like I said, I’m drinking the Sonny Delight. So I’m on board. But that doesn’t mean anybody who shares their concerns is any less a Cal fan. The contrary.

    How quick some of us forget the Tedford divide this blog had where forever nobody could share a worry about Tedford for fear of being called a name. Please don’t tell me we’re going back to that.

  • go8ears

    Analysis on why Dykes’ previous team’s defense sucked is totally lacking. Was it due to players’ injuries, bad defensive scheme, coach’s lack of emphasis on defense, or something else? In order to fix a problem, one needs to know what the root of the problem is. I wonder what Dykes offered as a solution to this problem when he talked with Sandy. Can anybody shed some light on this matter?

  • Ray Finkle

    Well said Juancho. I have no choice but to drink the Sonny Delight, and I am thirsty

  • Will

    Let’s hug it out, guys.

    Except for you Juancho. You are still my arch-nemesis.

  • clonedoc

    I believe the saying “offense sells tickets, defense wins championships” may apply here and SB’s reference in her letter to an “exciting brand of football” coming to Cal was likely a reflection of her ultimate desire in this regard. I’m not going to criticize coach Dykes because it isn’t appropriate at this juncture. The concerns are all valid, however. At our stage currently, it is perhaps appropriate that we simply work to try to achieve bowl relevance. Thereafter, as I’ve said on the few posts I’ve provided, the Rose Bowl and (who knows) the upcoming 4-team playoff should be our goals. If those aren’t the team’s ultimate goals, then what the hell is the point? College football is littered with teams that lose games 49-42 and are stuck in middle of pack mode as a result. Conversely, they may win several games by that score, only to get pounded by a more physical and traditional opponent in a bowl game. Finally, by no means am I suggesting we’re even on the same planet with the team I’m about to mention (although we should strive to be), but go ask Alabama whether “exciting” football is the way to play. The DC choice for us will be CRITICAL.

  • 1brsfan

    There are a few defensive minded coaches out there that flamed out as head coaches but were excellent DC’s before they became HC. Not sure we could afford some of them but Chizik and Randy Shannon come to mind.

  • Juancho

    Randy Shannon would be a great hire. Anyone know if the press conference will be online or radio or something?

    Will I hope you step in gum.

    I officially baptize Sonny Dykes in the name of Kline, amen.

  • 1brsfan

    presser will be live online on calgoldenblogs.com

  • 1brsfan

    sorry. californiagoldenblogs.com also on P12 network

  • 1brsfan

    here is a link to the live stream.


  • The Wisdom Cow

    Look at it this way. Had Tedford taken a 1 million dollar pay cut, then Dykes hired as OC, keeping Clancy, then I’d be thrilled, the offense being given new life.

    With Dykes, everything will change. You cannot presume the D will be the same caliber, and regardless of the DC hired, penalties under Dykes watch has been awful. I was against him as soon as I started researching him when he was first rumored to be interviewed. That won’t change because he now wears a Cal hat. It will change when he makes me a believer.

    Does this make me anti-Cal? Was everyone not thrilled with Tedford over the past few years anti-Cal?


    I have been wondering, however –

    Several stories back, during the search, I wrote that a guy like MacI would have been a tough for promoting ticket sales outside the diehards or college game savvy, even though he was probably the 2nd most ideal hire after Petersen (who would have sold tickets). MacI would probably have been much like Tedford, building ticket sales each year.

    Dykes offense = ticket sales. I don’t think anyone will disagree with this. It’s very marketable, and should be backed up by numbers even before his first Pac 12 season.

    So, I wonder just how bad of shape the athletic department is in. Was Sandy not in a position where someone like MacI (whom I think most would agree would have been a better hire) could be afforded to gamble on? Could the school even risk that ticket sales wouldn’t rise greatly within a year?

    She made the tough, and I believe still, correct, call to cut baseball. It was the only listed in danger sport that was very likely to instill the rage it did and subsequently bring in the donations to save it and other sports, which I believe was her plan when she announced cutting it in the first place.

    So, again, I wonder if Sandy made the best choice she could after Petersen, in order to KNOW that ticket sales should increase, and increase soon.

    Doesn’t mean I have to be pleased about it, but it may have been the best option available given the budget problems.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    IF Sonny Dykes can get a good DC and IF Cal can CONTINUE to recruit NFL talent on the defensive side of the ball then there is nothing to complain about with this hire – we need some offense and a coach who WANTS TO SCORE TDs – an anti-Tedford. Dykes is that.

    I am speculating here, but the penalties may mostly be offensive holding penalties due to the many, many pass attempts. But La Tech also only gave up 10 sacks in 12 games!! Think about that. That seems pretty disciplined to me. So let’s lay off the “undisciplined” criticism until we actually see what types of penalties his teams are prone to committing. I doubt he had a game that had 5+ personal fouls committed by his team…but if he did, then that is a red flag. Anyone wanna dig up how many personal fouls his team committed last year??

    Think about this too:
    Kline is drooling right now thinking about throwing for 400+ yards/game. Bigelow, Lasco and the new small stud RB must be drooling thinking about how wide open the field is gonna be. Harper, Treggs and Rogers are probably already practicing their new TD dance routines! WE ARE GONNA SCORE SOME POINTS, FINALLY!!

    Dykes is just coming into his own as a coach. I think we will be back in the rankings after an absolutely inspired first 3 games of next season – payback against OSU is gonna be sweet!

    And finally, the grass isn’t ALWAYS greener…
    even though most on this board seem to think so.

    I am optimistic and VERY glad Sonny Dykes will be wearing the headset next season. Go Bears!

  • covinared

    I think some are giving Pendergast too much credit. He should not be that difficult to replace. The defense has not been great the last couple years. Maybe its talent. We have a good linebacker core and seem solid at the corners, but the safeties and d line were below average. Opponents were way too successful on third and long, and too many tackles were missed. Dewayne Walker would be a good catch.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I’ll look more, but here is stuff to think on regarding the penalties.

    2010 – 59 penalties for 527 yds in 13 games
    2011 – 89 penalties for 796 yds in 13 games
    2012 – 201 penalties for 2,012 yds in 12 games

    More each year isn’t good. The 10 yd avg for the 2012 means as many 15 yarders as 5 yarders, though that doesn’t mean personal fouls, per se (could be a lot of pass interference). Of note, UCLA, UW and U$C all committed more, though only UCLA had the same avg penalty yards.

    Real weird, must have been a huge reffing change this year as penalties doubled pretty much across the board from 2011 to 2012. No one had more than 110 penalties in 2010 or 2011.

    Among the other research I did, it’s worth noting the relatively good defensive year for LT in 2011 benefitted from 21 INTs, playing only 1 ranked opponent, the loss to TCU. If I had to bet, the gambling in 2011 that resulted in TOs became penalties in 2012 (possibly by the ref changes? but who knows).

  • Woj

    Scoreboard will be humming and Stanford can pretend Cal won’t care on them too but the Bears will and often under Dykes. Question is – Who is the D coordinator? Dykes’ teams will move it dow nthe field and ring up points but the D must be stout and get the ball back often.

  • Easy Ed

    I just watched the press conference on the net. I love this guy, he is certainly talking the the talk and I’m anxious to see if he can walk the walk.

  • Juancho

    Anyone got a link to the press conference video, or audio ? Would appreciate it.

  • go8ears

    For those of you who are interested in a more thorough analysis of the penalties, I’d like to share a post by elpbear from BI. It allows us to get a more accurate picture:

    The question of penalties per play is a good one, and I figured it might be useful to have some actual statistics for this one. I’ve only run the numbers for 2012 due to limited time.

    LA Tech was 2nd in plays per game (88.6, behind an astounding 92.8ppg for Marshall) and 8th in penalties per game. However, these are ordinal comparisons, which can be misleading. When ranking plays per penalty, LA Tech is actually 40th at 10.94 plays per penalty. For comparison Cal is 8th at 8.83 plays per penalty.

    Top 10 + some other relevant teams:
    1 Washington 8.13
    2 Florida 8.16
    3 USC 8.32
    4 UT-San Antonio 8.43
    5 UCLA 8.57
    6 Rutgers 8.72
    7 California 8.83
    8 Memphis 9.10
    9 Utah 9.29
    10 Bowling Grn 9.32
    31 Utah State 10.58
    35 Oregon 10.79
    36 Wash State 10.85
    39 LA Tech 10.94
    40 Oregon St 11.03
    54 Colorado 11.92
    56 Stanford 12.10
    61 Arizona 12.24
    65 Notre Dame 12.49
    68 Texas A&M 12.91
    75 Nevada 13.78
    77 Kent State 13.84
    79 San Jose St 13.92
    82 N Mex State 14.22
    86 Boise State 14.30
    108 Alabama 16.17
    115 Wisconsin 17.62
    119 Arizona St 18.36
    124 Air Force 23.66
    So, definitely not as big a deal when looked at on a per-play basis. More surprisingly when you look at penalties per play the Pac12 doesn’t look quite so obviously overly-penalized in comparison to other conferences, which is not something I was expecting to find at all.

  • Eric

    @Wisdowm @49

    I did go back and read what I wrote (quoting what you wrote). You accused me of “blatantly misquoting” you. I think, based on the plain language, it is clear I did not.

    Now You have changed your story. Now you say that Tedford has history, implying that is what needs to be considered. You are right that Tedford has a history. I thus I pointed out (in the other post) showing the last 5 years of total defense statistics. The average total defense (by per yards per game) over the last 5 years is #47 in the nation. Slightly better than average. Definitely not “great” because I measure great as in the top 10. Tedford’s best defense was 20th in the nation – very good, but again not great. My point, all along, was to challenge your statement that “Tedford coached great defensive teams.” He didn’t.

    So when you wrote “Tedford coached great defensive teams,” I took issue with that. I still for the life of my cannot understand how you can say I “blatantly misquoted” you when it is clear I didn’t. Even worse, you admit you aimed a disrepectful comment my way because of you perceiving (incorrectly) that I was “blatantly misquoting” you.

    Whether Tedford coached or did not coach “great defensive” teams is a matter of debate and opinion. But if you decide to elevate it to ad hominem attacks, get it right.

    All of this started because you have come out disfavoring the hiring of Dykes. Again, an issue of fair debate. But be prepared to meet fairly critiques of your analysis, or, as my high school sons woudl say, “if you can’t take out the trash, don’t take the trash.”

  • I stopped reading this site–now I remember why. it’s filled with old bears who want change, but only safe change. whatever happened to your sense of the potential for change and the possibility as the preferred default mode? We ought to be pushing the edge of everything–on the field and in research. Sure, I remember the pain of 1981 and the new artificial turf and the first game under Mouse Davis and the run and shoot. We lost the game 29-28 after we lost our QB to injury with a 28-0 lead as I recall. We were stuck with Torchio after that. It was an ugly year. But that first half was beautiful. So now we’re here again; we don’t want no stinking “spread” because we need that pro-style drop back approach. I would much rather see an Oregon or Nevada up and down the field game-type game that we lose than what Cal football had become over the last couple of years. You guys need more than a beer; you need to get a life.

  • BlueNGold

    moron you are too disordered to comprehend anything having to do with either social welfare studies, culture or anything that is in any way progressive. Do you even know what ‘social welfare studies’ means? Do you understand why it is an academic curriculum? Do you have any understanding of what people trained in social welfare or social work do to benefit society? Or, are you simply spewing bile about something you really know nothing about? Until you can prove otherwise, I am going to assume its the latter.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Eric, I wrote “some.” Which means not all, but more than one. And several were great. Yardage does not tell the story. And as you noted, the poor offense of late made for worse stats for the defense because of too much time on the field.

    When you countered “some” with last year’s defense compared to LT’s, that was a mischaracterization of my argument. If it wasn’t blatant, it was incompetent.

  • Will


    HAHAHAAHA this is ridiculously embarrassing. What a joke the Pre-season #1 has become.

  • Will

    Even better, the most popular comment:

    “he should be grateful his pathetic team even made it to a bowl”

  • Eric


    So much for laying off the ad hominem attacks.

    Now let’s address the new assertion of “incompetent.” Your argument appears to be that I supposedly only was comparing Cal’s 2012 defense to La Tech’s 2012 defense. Indeed, you emphasize that “some” equals more than one, and then say I countered “‘some’ with last year’s defense compared to LT’s, that was a mischaracterization of [your] argument.”

    Ok. So let’s just make sure I got this right. I said “Tedford coached great defenses? Really? Tedford coached poor offenses, which entirely wore out our defenses. 3 and outs every time destroy the best defenses.”

    I’m not sure how that only applies to 2012. Indeed, the plural “defenses” necessarily implies more than one. But just to make sure, I’m sure you saw my post where I actually went through Cal’s defense over the last 5 years. That suggests I was focusing on “some” defensive teams, not just 2012.

    Let’s make sure I cover my bases, so that you don’t change the rules of the argument (again).

    You didn’t give any time frame in your initial assertion. That being said, you referred to “Clancy,” which suggests you only were considering 2010, 2011, and 2012. As I have already noted, in none of those years did Cal have a great defense (as I defined as being in the top 10). I also included 2009 and 2008, two years prior to Pendergrast, for comparative purposes. One decent year (2008), and one bad year (2009). You have not countered with any other definition, so I assume you agree that none of the defenses were great. If you think my definition of a great defense is incompetent, or that your use of the word “great” has a universal definition I have blatantly misrepresented, by all means let me know.

    You also failed to state what is the standard for measuring defense, though you now saw yards per game does not tell the story. But that is why La. Tech had the worst defense in 2012, which is what has been one of two points of all of your posts. No other statistic I am aware of shows La. Tech as last in the nation. I suppose you could have referred to points per game, or sacks, or tackles for loss, or turnovers caused. But you didn’t.

    You also now assert that I was comparing Cal’s defense to La. Tech’s when I first responded. Far from it – I was challenging the premise that Tedford coached “some” great defensive teams. But, since you now think we should engage in a comparative analysis, let’s compare to La. Tech during the same period 2010-2012, since in addition to Pendergrast starting in 2010, so did Dykes. As we have established, in 2012, La. Tech had the worst defense, as measured by total yards. In 2011, they were 30 spots behind Cal (one behind U$C), which puts them pretty much in the middle. In 2010, they were not last, but pretty close to last.

    So what does that show? La. Tech has not been a defensive powerhouse. It showed improvement in 2011 over 2010, only to have a significant drop-off in 2012. Its defense has not been, on average, better than Cal’s. Ok – can’t dispute the facts. Not sure how this relates to Tedford’s defensive prowess or lack thereof, but at least we have the comparison.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Eric, I apologize, but I’m too tire to read that. I probably have not read your position correctly, nor articulated mine as I would like. Frankly, I am depressed and in pain more the last month than I have been in a very long time. I was really hoping for a hire that would make me feel better (as in forget for a while just how crappy my existence is), and instead I got the guy I wanted least. Sports are supposed to be a distraction, yet this only left me lower.

    I know Cal had some great defenses (better than very good, less than stellar or fantastic or dominant), but lack the brain to articulate just why, though several of your own arguments (like offensive ineptitude) should make it clearer to you as well, factoring in the conference compared to national rankings. Then again, maybe I am delusional.

    Anyways, I’ll try rereading all of this if I ever get some sleep where I don’t wake up with 3 or more limbs dislocated (honestly, just one shoulder out would be such an improvement!). I’ll give it a better read and offer a real apology or a more apt insult, whichever I feel is more needed.

    I am honestly sorry I’m writing this, but I wanted to respond, but can’t read past the first paragraph without zoning out. And I opted for being honest.

    Just one question, to see if I am delusional or not, because this drives me batcrap crazy every time it’s on. Cymbalta – Because Depression Hurts. That’s —-ing BS, right. My limbs dislocate by gravity alone, countless times a day, AND I GET DEPRESSED BECAUSE OF IT! It is not the other way around.

    This is what happens when holidays and birthdays make me load up on pain pills to get through events and then have to deal with cost of those outings.

  • Will

    Wisdom, I wish you a speedy recovery. Hang in there.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    thanks, Will. Trying. The cold sucks.