Sonny Dykes set aside about 40 minutes from his busy schedule to talk with KNBR's Gary and Larry Show. It was a very entertaining interview that really showcased Dykes's likable and laid-back personality.
(Updated to include link to interview. Thanks to Redonkulous Bear for finding it.)
On life in the Bay Area:
His Piedmont house is "six or seven times more expensive than the one in Louisiana, but this is a great place to live and we're fired up to be here." But his car? It might be a little disappointing for our fan base. "[I'm driving a] big, huge car. Lots of people in the Bay Area drive by and flip me off. It's a big SUV, Cadillac Escalade. We're working on getting a smaller one. I'm looking to downsize."
On the unique Berkeley atmosphere: "The thing that's different about Cal is they have an incredibly loyal following. The Old Blues have supported for years, through thick and thin. The student body is incredibly supportive, they come to all the events, and are excited about the direction we're going in. It makes the place special. It's a blast to walk around and see so many passionate people, from the professors to students trying to change the world. If you can convince the guy on-the-fence to support the program, then we'll have something special."
His first contact with Cal and Sandy Barbour:
"When you're winning at a mid-major like LA Tech, ... your name gets out there. I was just trying to get through the season to play for the Orange Bowl. Once I got through the season, I talked to a few schools, including Cal, which I was very interested in after playing them years ago. I saw tremendous potential in the program and wanted to live in the Bay Area."
Cal Football: Q & A with @CalCoachDykes; #AskSonny (via calathletics)
The interviewers ask him about his beautiful wife of seven years, twelve years his junior. Dykes explains how this benefits him on the job, "You have to be good at recruiting!"
On recruiting for Cal: "Academics is a big deal at Cal. As time passes, kids realize what a degree at Cal or Stanfurd means in the world. We've been able to put up good numbers offensively, going back to Kentucky in 97. We play in a high-tempo offense, get the ball ready and snap. You'd be surprised how intelligent these kids and their parents are and how well they do their homework. They can recite your statistics better than you can most of the time. You've gotta charm on the couch, sometimes a kid throws up or needs a diaper change on you. I've kissed a thousand babies by now. Cal sells well--it'll get us in the door and we have to handle it after that. USC has a great tradition and UCLA had a great year, but we're right there with them."
On the key position battles:
Former Yell Leader Kate Scott brought the hard questions due to her ties to the school, asking Dykes about these position groups coming out of the spring.
On quarterbacks: "Not much has changed. We walked away with three guys we really feel we have a chance to win with. It's a little scary because the lack of experience, but they all have talent, good work ethic, attitude. Hinder is bigger, a bit of a runner, older and experience. Two freshmen in Zach Kline, who everyone knows about. Great arm and successful in high school. The other freshman is Jared Goff, who was also very successful. Kline's got the big arm. Jared is the finesse guy; got a good-enough arm. We plan to build the offense around the quarterback's strengths and avoid his weaknesses to put him in a position to be successful."
For the running backs: "Brendan Bigelow is a fun guy to watch. I didn't know much about him until I got the job, watched the tape, and saw him against Ohio State. He's a real explosive player, but he's coming off a knee injury with a few surgeries on that knee. He's very capable and exciting. Daniel Lasco is bigger, downhill runner. We like to have big and small backs and blend them together to give the defense more to worry about. Darren Ervin had a good spring. There's some question marks at that position because of injury. [Incoming freshman] Khalfani Muhammad is the two-time state champion. He's world-class speed, so he's an exciting player we think can get on the field and contribute. They'll allow our young quarterback to grow when all he has to do is hand-off the ball. You don't know until we play because we didn't get them in the spring."
Coaching in football:
Dykes discussed football coaching a little more broadly after his visit at the Niners practice and some of his knowledge of the SEC. He was allowed to visit the Niners practice when he "called them to see if I could stop by. Linebackers coach Jim Leavitt is a buddy of mine and he ran it by Jim [Harbaugh]. You always want to test your work. I haven't been at a lot of pro practices to see how they do it. It was fun for me to see the work ethic and attitude of the pros. It was really impressive to see what the Niners and Harbaugh were all about. There were no egos and no one separating himself from the groups." The discussion turned to the SEC and recent news about Nick Saban, who has 24 coaches. "The NCAA regulates the number of coaches. You're allowed to have nine full-time, but you can have more with limited responsibilities. I won't name names, but I know somebody down there and in the south and in the SEC, they've created strength [and conditioning coaching] positions that have ended up being coaches in the summer."
Cal Football: 100 Days Until Kickoff (via calathletics)
The future of Cal:
Dykes also discussed what he expects from Cal in the future.
On stockpiling talent: "Cal had that a few years back. Jahvid Best was the third-team running back. You hand the ball to him and go ‘wow.'"
On continuing open practices in the future: "If you're a Cal fan, this is your team. Most of the Cal fans before I got here will be Cal fans long after I've gone. We'll always have open practices. We'll close some, but most of the fall ones will be open. It's a good opportunity for the players to get to know the people who support them."
On his personal expectations and goals to rebuild: "We wanna win right now. We have enough talent here. Jeff [Tedford] built the program, had great success, and recruited well. The cupboard isn't bare. If we figure out the quarterback situation, we'll be set."
The hosts asked Dykes about how he got his start as a football coach despite being a college baseball player. "My dad was a coach at Texas Tech and I was just an average high school football player and could have played at a school I never heard of. I was slightly better at baseball and could have at least played for a school I've heard of. So, I played at Texas Tech for Larry Hayes. Great experience one of the winningest coaches. Didn't want to play for my dad and I wasn't good enough. Hung out at football practices and coaches meetings and knew I wanted to get into football coaching."
On the future of the Pac-12: "Larry Scott changed the mindset of the league and what the Pac-12 is doing to understand the revenue that football could generate."
Anything else we should know about Sonny Dykes?
"I'd love to meet Jay-Z."