Football: Dykes says he won’t make coaching staff changes merely to appease fans

Acknowledging his debut season “wasn’t much of a honeymoon,” Cal football coach Sonny Dykes said the process of trying to get better after an historically bad 1-11 season already is under way.

End-of-season interviews with players began Monday and coaches will be on the road recruiting starting next Monday.

But two days after a record-setting 63-13 loss to Stanford in the 116th Big Game, Dykes said he won’t make changes to his coaching staff merely to appease frustrated fans.

Dykes gave defensive coordinator Andy Buh a vote of confidence for the second straight week following a season in which the Bears allowed a record 45.9 points per game, but also played much of the schedule without five would-be defensive starters.

“If you did things for appearances, all you would do is try to win today,” Dykes said. “Building a program is about doing things the right way over a long term. In coaching, it’s funny how you get dumb really fast, then how  guys get smart again really fast.”

Buh has a three-year contract which gaurantees him his salary for all three if he’s fired without cause. That means he’d collect a total of $1 million due him for the 2014 and ’15 seasons if let go.

Asked if finances would allow him to make changes he deems necessary, Dykes said, “I would think so.”

Either way, Dykes didn’t minimize the magnitude of the job ahead.

“We’ve got to get a lot better,” he said. “Physically, we’ve got to get bigger and stronger. That’s pretty obvious to anyone. Our football team will look a lot different next year than it does this year.”


Here’s more from Dykes’ season-ending news conference:

Freshman quarterback Jared Goff underwent an MRI on his right shoulder separation but Dykes said there is no decision yet on what might be required medically.

Asked if he thought the hit by Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov that caused the injury was an example of targeting, Dykes said, “I thought we’ve gotten called for roughing the quarterback for a lot less than that. It’s probably better if I don’t say anything.”


His message to his players in the locker room after the Big Game: “I got after them pretty good. I wanted to be honest with them and I wasn’t happy with some things I saw the last 2-3 ballgames. They’re going to reveal their character to us by the way they handle this. It’s easy to be a good guy when you win the lottery.”


Dykes anticipates signing about 20 players, and said the Bears will bring in junior college players to fill specific needs if they are academically qualified. Areas of need include almost everywhere on defense, plus the offensive line and a big running back.

Given the lack of tangible progress this season, Dykes said prospects are being asked to make a leap of faith about the program’s future.

“During the recruiting process, since we first contacted these kids, we told them this year has a chance to be a little rough,” Dykes said.


The Bears likely will postpone the start of spring practice until after spring break. At issue is allowing injured players to get healthy in time for workouts.

Among the ailing players, Dykes said he’s not sure whether linebacker Nick Fornes’ bulging disk and accompanying nerve pain linebacker will allow him to return. Otherwise, he expects everyone back by next fall.

He said cornerback Stefan McClure (knee), defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand), linebacker Nathan Broussard (knee) and defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil (knee) should be available on a limited basis in the spring and safety Avery Sebastian (Achilles) is expected to be ready full-time.


Cal reported that 138 players on its two-deep chart missed games this season due to injury. By this newspaper’s count, injuries caused starters to miss 73 games.

Jeff Faraudo

  • DaveintheHills

    “Dykes gave defensive coordinator Andy Buh a vote of confidence for the second straight week”

    You have got to be kidding me. I can’t believe he has survived 48 hours already

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    He doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in anyone. There isn’t a single Pac 12 DC or OC who fears his personnel and game schemes.

  • Rocko at the beach

    That’s right coach blame it all on the players. You just don’t throw them under the bus. You back up the bus and run over them two or three more times. Guess who’s getting coal in his Christmas stocking!

  • Steve W

    C’mon Sonny, at the very least you have to give the walking papers to your special teams coach. And probably your strength and conditioning coach because you just tacitly admitted he didn’t do his job during the off season last year.

  • Juancho

    I agree with him that he shouldn’t make decisions based on fans.

    Only Franklin and Buh are still under the contract. All the other guys were on one year deals.

  • Juancho

    The info on Scarlett, Jalil and McClure is not encouraging. Not to mention they still don’t have a diagnosis and treatment plan to fix Nick Forbes.

    To be honest this program needs to get other guys ready, and not expect those other guys to contribute heavily. They have been injury plagued their entire career. If they end up getting healthy and contributing all year, that will be gravy. But at this point the D coordinator needs to prepare for another year of them not contributing.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Has anyone done an assessment of the expected starting defensive personnel from last Spring’s depth chart vs. the personnel that actually started the majority of the games this Fall? ie, average age/size/experience of expected starters vs. actual starters?

    Also, how many offensive starters where new or incredibly inexperienced this season?

    I think these assessments will be fairly sobering. But nobody wants to hear that kind of talk on this board when hating is so much funner!

    Was this season disappointing, heck yeah! But, after doing the above assessments, I don’t think anyone should be shocked by the 1-11 record. But that’s just excuses talking right, and if not for “Stormy” and Buh’s vast and obvious incompetence we’d be bowling right!? lol.

    Go Bears!

  • Juancho

    BSB I can take on that analysis. I think it will show that injuries was a huge factor on defense.

    I will nitpick one thing in your comment. For me it’s not the fact we were 1-11 that is so troubling. What was more worrisome was the absolute throttlings we took every week. Such as the shellacking at Colorado.

    Again – for me it’s not that this year was a fail. It’s that this year was closer to a 0 than a 59 grade.

  • SteveNTexas

    He doesn’t want to appease the fans– who buys the tickets to the games?

  • Joey

    I wonder how many of the injuries were real injuries and how many players just didn’t want to play. Guess we’ll know by how many of the injured players end up transferring.

  • Larry

    I agree with Dykes in that he shouldn’t fire a coach to appease fans. He should fire coaches because they suck:

    – Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan set a career high with 295 passing yards in the first half and finished with 329. His five touchdowns were also a personal best.

    – Montgomery had 160 yards receiving and four touchdowns — on just five catches.

    – Stanford’s 63 points were the most either team has scored in the rivalry game that began in 1892. The previous record was 48.

    – The Bears allowed more than 40 points for the ninth time in 12 games, surrendering a school-record 551 points this season — third-most in conference history and 120 more than Tom Holmoe’s 2001 Cal team that finished 1-10.

    – But according to ESPN.com, Cal’s streak of allowing 30 points or more in 14 consecutive games is the longest ever by any school from a major conference.

    – Etc. Ect. Ect.

  • My LABear buddy first observed when he saw the small school assistant coaches that was Dykes was hiring that the last Cal coach that did similar was Gilbertson, also a supposed offensive guru at the time at UW….we know how that ended

  • Larry

    That’s why you should fire coaches.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    How the hell is the worst D in the NCAAs not “for cause” in terms of firing?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    This is pure BS, spin to justify not wasting even more money by firing Buh. Look for them to try to hire an experienced position coach to help Buh figure out what he’s doing. [How do you give a guy with Buh’s resume a 3 year guaranteed K in the first place given no DC experience?]

    Blame the injuries all you want. The guy couldn’t figure out he needed to blitz more for 7 weeks. That was enough for me. Well, that and that I can’t imagine a recruit respecting him while looking at stats in a living room.

    But don’t worry, Sonny is going to get them to commit on faith!

  • Gobears49

    I know Dykes said that he would ignore fan pressure to change some of his assistants. But did he say anything about hiring a totally new assistant to help him determine how many times he needs to score in six minutes to tie the game, and help him figure out whether that requires going for two after scoring a touchdown, which would bring Cal within 16 points of tying the game, thus requiring only two scores.

    Actually, I’m sort of a supporter of Dykes, as I like his offense, especially if he makes it more effective next year by adding a read-option scheme to it off of the spread, and also especially if Rubenzer arrives next year (though I think Goff and Kline could run it, with a lot of practice). I think he would normally need three years to show what he can do, except if we have a normal rate of injuries next year, don’t do well in recruiting this year, and have a similar record next year as this year, then maybe we should cut that down to two.

  • Steve W


    It was actually 1-12, but who is counting? I think what has so much of the fan base up in arms is not the losses but the way the losses went down – too many massive cave-ins before the second halves even started. Particularly galling were the blow outs against Washington State and Colorado, the two teams that Cal had a legit chance to beat. Some of that is bad coaching, lack of preparation and inability to motivate young players. Head coaches are always given at least three years to fix things and show what they can accomplish with their own players. I hope he does fix things and prove all the naysayers wrong, including me. He’s going to be prowling the sidelines at least two more seasons, and I want to enjoy being a fan again before his term is up.

  • joey

    +100 on this:

    Larry Says:

    I agree with Dykes in that he shouldn’t fire a coach to appease fans. He should fire coaches because they suck:

  • daredevilfan

    Dykes/Barbour have lost my business. No tickets, no merchandise, no giving, etc. So I’m glad he can say all these pious statements. But I don’t go for this guaranteed crap. I expect results, just like my boss does. I know he can’t be too reactive. But every team this year has offensive players who had massive record games. We don’t need a bandaid on defense, we need major surgery. To me this is just another example that he and Sandy are not equipped for the big time. Unfortunately we get to suffer. But I refuse to spend money during my suffering any more.

  • milo

    Hey Cal Fans, here’s something to cheer you guys up:

    Cal MBB is GOOD, perhaps even very good, and the season’s just getting started. Monty has these guys playing hard and looking good.

    Go Bears!

  • RT

    Did anyone ever get the real story on why McCain was dismissed? I have a feeling this offseason is going to be rougher than the season with players transferring and recruits bailing out…similar to the Tosh offseason. Speaking of recruits any word on Mixon? They better be going hard at him because I’d hand him the starting gig now based on the lack of production at that position this year. Also, will be interesting to see what happens as USC…if Coach O isn’t retained, there could be a domino effect, especially of Sark ends up at USC, that could make a certain D Coordinator available who did a pretty damn good job under Tedford at Cal and is now doing it at USC

  • covinared

    RT: look back at the last part of Cal’s 2012 season under Pendergast. Defense wasn’t much better than this season, plus all his best players from 2012 were not around this year. Doubt he or anyone else would have made a significant difference.