Football: Big changes on defense — Andy Buh demoted, Randy Stewart, Barry Sacks fired

Coach Sonny Dykes responded to the worst season by a Cal defense in the school’s football history on Wednesday by demoting coordinator Andy Buh and firing two assistant coaches.

“I owe it to our student-athletes to provide them with the best conditions for success, both on and off the field,” Dykes said in a statement, “and I am committed to hiring coaches who will develop our players to their fullest potential while being excellent teachers in all aspects of the game.”

Buh will be reassigned to a position coaching assignment that has not been announced, although he was responsible for Cal’s linebackers last season.  Defensive tackles assistant Barry Sacks and defensive backs coach Randy Stewart both were fired.

Dykes will find a new coordinator and at least one defensive position coach.

“I will look to hire a defensive coordinator with significant experience in that role who can lead our defensive unit to success in one of the most prolific offensive conferences in the country,” he said.

The changes come less than a month before the Feb. 5 national signing day for high school recruits and nearly seven weeks the Bears’ season ended with a record-setting 63-13 Big Game loss at Stanford.

Cal’s defense was the chief culprit throughout the Bears’ 1-11 season, allowing an average of 45.9 points and 529.6 yards per game. Those figures are the worst in school history and both ranked 122nd nationally among 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Cal’s pass defense surrendered 341.0 yards per game — worst in the nation — while allowing 32 touchdown passes and securing just five interceptions.

The Bears gave up at least 33 points in all 11 of their FBS games and allowed 41 points or more nine times.

Dykes, hired by Cal a year ago because of his offensive prowess, acknowledged the Bears must be substantially better on other side of the ball.

“Defense is a critical part of the equation in winning championships,” Dykes said.

Cal confirmed Buh will continue to be paid according to the terms of his contract, which calls for a $500,000 annual salary. That contract, which guarantees him a total of $1 million through the end of the 2015 season, may have been the reason Buh was reassigned and not fired.

Buh, 40, has spent much of his coaching career working with linebackers, including at Wisconsin in 2012. He returned to Cal 12 years after spending two seasons in Berkeley as a defensive administrative assistant, and switched the Bears’ defense from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3.

Sacks and Stewart were two of the most experienced assistants on Dykes’ staff. Sacks, 56, has coached primarily on the defensive line at six schools since 1986. Stewart, 55, began his coaching career in 1980 and spent the 1997 through 2001 seasons at Cal, working under Tom Holmoe.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Easy Ed

    Hello Coach Ogeron, this place over here is called Top Dog. I’m sure you’ll love the Louisiana Hot with a swish of Russian mustard

  • Juancho

    Orgeron would be a homerun.

  • jabes

    Hot link with spicy mustard got me through engineering school.

    I didn’t have anything real to add, I just wanted to most before Amy.

  • covinared


  • BadBucks

    NOT Clancy…..Anyone but…

  • me

    Tosh? just kidding.

  • rollonubears

    Perhaps sonny will pull a jt and handle coordinator duties himself.

  • milo

    Wow, the Dykster made a move. Now he needs to start doing the same to the offensive staff. Definitely need a new OL coach.

  • DaveintheHills

    “and spent the 1997 through 2001 seasons at Cal, working under Tom Holmoe.”

    shouldn’t that have been a hint?

  • Eric

    Little surprised by the move given timing, but for those who demanded change, you got it. Would be good to grab a big name hire who is also hungry for a head coaching job (Odgeron would be good simply to stick a thumb in U$C’s eye). Not sure who is out there – somebody from the NFL looking to step up to a D-coordinator position?

    @9 – putting aside the 2001 season, defense under Holmoe actually wasn’t bad – the 1998 defense was exceedingly good, for example. Our offense was just pathetic.

  • H8sRed

    @6 — too soon!

    @9 — if I’m not mistaken, Stewart coached Deltha O’Neal’s transition from running back to DB.

  • Steve W

    Finding a good D line coach may be as important as finding a good O coordinator. Cal’s D line was every bit as bad in 2012 under Tedford as it was last year under Dykes. If you can’t rush the passer in this conference, you are dead. I attribute Arizona State’s resurgence to the D line play every bit as much as the gains they made on offense with Kelly playing QB.

  • RT

    @5 – how could you not look at Clancy? He had top rated defenses while at Cal and has done an excellent job at USC….bring him and Orgeron on over and I guarantee you would see a drastic improvement in the defense because of these 2 coaches and you would significantly improve your recruiting capabilities with Coach O who is a master recruiter with ties across the country! We need a shot in the arm and these are the types of coaches Dykes should look at! Go Bears

  • RT

    …..and another thing….no way you could even consider bringing Tosh back….he’s partially responsible for the hole we’re in now…..Pretty classic and convenient how Sark has thrown him under the bus once the investigation started saying “it could prevent Tosh from coaching anywhere again”

  • Juancho

    The timing was right. This happened after the high school all star games which is when most of the big recruits still on the table announce. These guys were given through then to prove their recuiting ability. The moves means we didn’t expect much improvement in recruiting through signing day.

    Plus the guys that we have nabbed on the d line, are already signed to letters of intent. So they can’t go anywhere.

    Now the question is whether Yenser and Ingram are next.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Not sure about the timing, myself. It’s late. I’m thinking the recruiting woes finally made the moves a necesity.

    I’d take Clancy, but doubt he’d take us.

    They need to get guys that can recruit, if not by charisma, by their record or NFL ties.

    It will be a priceless clusterhump is the D switches back to a 3-4 after salting the ground, losing the LBs that were here already.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Instead of 50 point blowouts can we expect 30 point ones?

  • joey

    Orgeron would be home run as head coach.

  • Larry

    I wonder what changed Dykes’ mind about “nobody will be fired this offseason” Did he actually watch the Game tape? He must have somebody in mind to make that move this late in the game. Possibly someone from the NFL? Packers, Bengals, Cheifs, or Eagles? Auburn or FSU, they just finished the season.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    This fan base is not only roots for the worst team in D1 but you are the most ignorant lot.

    It isn’t a good idea to get a DC from the NFL.Even your beloved Pendegraft struggled mightily his first two seasons. NFL DCs never see the brevy of offensives which colleges are known for. With a very short week of preparation a new DC unless he has seen the offense is mostly dependent upon his coordinators who have seen it before.

    You guys are so stupid.

  • Larry

    It’s odd how some folks THINK they know everything about football.

  • 707 Bears


    Why not the day after the season was over?

    This smells desperate (not a good smell to recruits).

  • daredevilfan

    For me, while I know this is a step in the right direction, it is another example of Sonny losing credibility. He should have done something sooner, or not done anything at all. But to have not done something sooner, to come out and say that no changes, will be made, then to let time/opportunity slip away, and then to now realize that this is necessary, is another example of his noviceness (is that a word?). I know the last thing we all wanted was to have an “on the job training” coach, but I’m starting to think that might be what we have with the coaches who could do well in lesser conferences but are a bit stunned now that they are with the big boys. Maybe there is a way to leverage this more immediately into a positive, but for me in the short term it is just another credibility loss. Long term it definitely needed to be done however. Uggh.

  • I do agree with everything you said 23. Welcome moves but the way it was handled seems less than ideal. Sort of similar to the way Dykes fired the last remaining Tedford assistant coaches. Let’s see who he brings in next. I am sure you all realize Ogeron is not coming for the salary Cal can pay unless it is as Head coach. which indeed would be a home run. I was hoping Dykes would hire Hardy Nickerson when he had a chance but I see Tampa has beat us to the punch….I sort of think this may also be a sign we are not going to have a top 3 Pac 12 recruiting class…You think?

  • Daredevil fan

    ECB, you mean we won’t get top 3? But he promised!!!!

  • covinared

    Buh’s downfall was caused by 2 things. He initially put in in a scheme that did not match his personnel, but mostly it was the injuries to the db’s and lbs that lead to the disaster. you can’t win with slow 250 pound defensive ends and third string linebackers and db’s.

  • Juancho

    Buh was the wrong hire. You don’t give the job to the guy who was fired from the same job at Stanford. That would have been like us hiring Buddy Teevens.

    Of course injuries made the season more painful. But realistically I think Buh would have been replaced without them sooner or later.

    I think the lacklustre recruiting for all of these guys is really the straw that broke the camels back.

    Which makes me think Yenser or Ingram could be gone after signing day depending on results.

    I.e., keep Watson & Enwere for Ingram. And Yenser better get some good signs.

    It’s important to remember that the only guys on the staff still under contract are Buh & Franklin. Every single other guy that Dykes hired was on a one year contract, that is now expired. Including Ingram & Yenser.

  • Juancho

    Jeff so is this Chachere guy who was the D End coach this past year getting the d line job? That seems to be the internet scuttle butt. I.e., we can’t afford three new coaches. So this guy’s getting the job, and we’re getting a new d coordinator and secondary coach?

    Who the heck knows I guess. Seemed silly to have a d end coach and a d line coach anyway.

  • BlueNGold

    It speaks volumes about moron’s character that he spends so much time taking part in a blog that is populated by people he publicly labels ‘ignorant’, ‘stupid’, ‘losers’, etc. Obviously moron enjoys being in the company of such people. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the pathetic troll.

  • Dan

    Moron – “we” ???

  • Dan

    DareDevil – completely agree Dykes handled this poorly for all the reasons you stated. My first reaction hearing the news is that he waited too long- WAY too long. That was the first red flag.

    Then I remembered, or was maybe reminded, he said he wasn’t going to fire anyone. That’s even a bigger red flag.

    Add on his comment that Cal is going to have a top 3 recruiting class in the P12, which sounds impossible and therefore a ludicrous statement, I want to ask what this guys smoking.

    This is not his first head coaching job, how can he be making so many mistakes like this? Serious concerns and doubts, and I have continued to support him and give him time in my mind.

    There’s no doubt that Tedford left the program a dumpster fire, but did Barbour hire a guy that brought gasoline when water was needed?

  • Dan

    Hey Eric- Happy New Year first of all- or Happy New Tear when thinking/talking Cal football.

    Have you written your position piece on the Cal season past yet? I hadn’t seen it, didn’t know if I somehow missed it, was/am looking forward to reading it. Let me know if you don’t mind… Thanks!

  • BlueNGold

    Perhaps Dykes talked to some or all of the LBs who are entering the draft and decided Buh just was not cutting it?

  • Eric


    Happy New Year (and congrats to the Aztecs winning at Allen Fieldhouse).

    Yep. It got posted twice (once at Juancho’s request). I think it was on the football article immediately prior to the one about Tedford’s contract.

  • I recall reading some quotes from our former WR Coach NFL player and All American Wes Chandler on the way he was treated by Dykes on the way out. Made me suspect right there of how he treated people. He said from the start that the DC was his most important hire. Was the defense any worse than the offense this year — give the later was supposed to be the strength of the team? Does not Buh have a two or three year contract that we are now on the hook for on top of the whole we are already in? Where we getting the money to hire a new DC from a top program? Most have been an interesting discussion with the AD….

  • wehofx

    I’m assuming – perhaps stupidly – that SD didn’t fire buh until he was relatively sure he had his replacement close to signed or narrowed the field to a coupla gettable candidates.

    To state the obvious BIG, BIG hire for sd.

    Ya, late but not that late. There’s still a lot of staff changes happening in college ranks. Monday: strong to Tx.

    Yesterday: oc nussmeir(sp) from Ala to Michigan, petrino to lousiville

    today: franklin to penn state

  • RT

    The way things have been going it wouldn’t surprise me if Dykes brought in Monte Kiffin as DC….total dumpster fire

  • Eric

    If Sonny hires Monte Kiffin, I will reverse myself and say Sonny should be fired immediately.

  • BlueNGold

    Reports have Lame Kiffin being considered for the OC position at ‘Bama.

    How does this guy keep failing upward?

  • RT

    @39….google Peter Principle

  • Woj

    The ONLY reason Buh wasn’t canned was the $1,000,000 insanely owed to that guy. Geez, Sandy sure knows how to write bad egregious contracts. Note to Buh – you are now the Asst. coach in charge of cleaning up the Cal and visitors locker rooms. That may be all you are qualified for. There are sweaty towels and scum to be cleaned up – get to work. Stanford canned you in 2009 and Cal would can you today if not the $1M they could not find a way out of.

    RT said dumpster fire going on right now. bingo! 2/3/4 star targeted recruits choosing other schools en masse, 1st year captains transferring, Cal way down in recruiting rankings, the whole place is imploding. That’s what happens when you don’t win any games the prior season. I don’t have hope Cal can bring in a good DC b/c they are paying $$ that should go to him to Buh – the Asst. Coach of Cleaning for the next 2 years. but anyone is better than Buh so have at it.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    The only way to get a good DC right now is to promote a guy that is the next great young DC, gambling on someone at least a year before other programs would. I won’t hold my breathe.

  • BlueNGold

    Dykes needs to be thinking way outside the box on this DC hire. Go way beyond his zone of familiarity. Someone young, energetic and anxious to be part of rebuilding a program.

  • Boaltblue

    Let’s hire Woj for DC and we get Moron for free as they are a 2 for 1 package!