New coaching staff brings about changes for Cal
After 11 seasons with Jeff Tedford at the helm, the Cal football team has undergone a number of changes with new head coach Sonny Dykes. The big questions when taking over a team, said Dykes on Friday at Pac-12 Football Media Day in Culver City, Calif., is “what’s going to be the buy-in and how long it’s going to take."
He was emphatic about the commitment of his new club: “The buy-in occurred on day one.”
Coming off a 3-9 season, the Bears were picked in this year’s preseason media poll to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North Division, and Dykes said he can’t blame the media for the dismal projection. Cal is a young team with a difficult schedule, which includes an early-season matchup with Ohio State.
“From the outside, it doesn’t look very good,” he said. “From the inside, we think it looks very good.”
Dykes arrives in Berkeley after three seasons at Louisiana Tech, which led the country in both total offense and scoring offense in 2012 with its Air Raid spread offense. He called the wide receiver corps, led by sophomores Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper, one of the strengths of the team. Yet its production is tied directly to the quarterback, a position that has been filled with inconsistent play over the last several years.
The three-way race to take over for Zach Maynard is between Zach Kline, Austin Hinder and Jared Goff.
“I'm comfortable to go to war with any of those guys,” said Treggs, who caught 21 passes for 216 yards while starting as a true freshman last year.
Added Dykes, “If Bryce is smart, he’ll wine and dine them” to get more passes.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears will be sporting a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Andy Buh. Junior linebacker Nick Forbes, Cal’s second-leading tackler a season ago, credited the new coaching staff for all being on the same page.
“I think we’ll surprise some people,” Dykes said. “We feel like we have a lot of potential. I think this team could do something special.”