Cal Football: So, what kind of name is "Sonny?"

Coach Dykes discusses the qualities he's looking for in a starting quarterback and which players are developing into young leaders.

As part of the recent media frenzy, head coach Sonny Dykes visited with KNBR's Murph and Mac show on July 30 to discuss the usual and why the heck he was named "Sonny." We've all heard the usual spiel about the quarterbacks, so select excerpts of the more unique or interesting points are provided below.

On the upcoming fall camp:

We considered the possibility of going to a couple places off-campus, but we couldn't find anything logistically that we were that fired-up about. We'll start Monday and players report on Sunday. Then we'll have about 27 practices before we tee it up against Northwestern.

Yeah, yeah, we all know Kline's got the arm, Goff's got the accurate touch, and Hinder's got the legs. But what in particular is Dykes looking for in the first Bear Raid quarterback?

The biggest thing is the guy who gives us the best chance to win. Sometimes that's the guy who doesn't turn the ball over, sometimes it's someone going out and making a bunch of plays, and sometimes it's someone who's a good game manager. If we have a guy who can run, that's obviously an advantage. The three guys we have move around decently; I would say none of them are a true running quarterback, but they're all good athletes and they all move around pretty decent. They all could run and have some type of run element in our offense, but I'm not sure if they're Colin Kaepernick–type runners or anything like that.

As a new coach, does Dykes have a silly or immature vendetta against Tedford's recruits? Is Dykes stupid and stubborn enough to only play guys he actively recruited?

All of these guys on our team right now are our guys. From day one, they're our players, they're Cal's players, they're the guys we want. We're not going to sit around and talk about "we need to get our guys in here" or anything like that. Jeff [Tedford] recruited good football players and good guys. We're ready to try to win right now. ... There's good talent here. They're hard workers. These are our guys.

We haven't had problems [with] starting young quarterbacks in the past. My second year at Louisiana Tech, the year we won a conference championship, we started a 17-year-old true freshman. ... You owe it to your team and to your fans to play whoever's the best player, regardless of who recruited him and regardless of how old he is. We just want the guy who's going to give us the chance to win.


While those decisions makes Dykes a fair leader of the team, which players is he expecting to take on a leadership role this year?

Defensively, Brennan Scarlett's going to have the opportunity to have a good year. He's a kid who battled some injuries around here in the past. I think Nick Forbes in a lot of ways will be a leader for us. Stefan McClure, coming off an injury, is a guy who I think will have great leadership. Avery Sebastian--all those are defensive players. Freddie Tagaloa, up front, I think is going to be the bell cow of our offensive line; he's a guy who's really had a great off-season. Like you said, Brendan Bigelow; Chris Harper's another player we're excited about; Richard Rogers. A lot of those players didn't go through spring football [due to] injuries that kept them out of spring practice, so we'll get our first chance to work with them once fall camp starts. I think they're good athletes, they've worked hard, and we're anxious to see how they'll fit in our schemes.

With the interview winding down, the hosts asked Dykes about the move to Berkeley:

When I got the job, I sat my wife down and said, "look, we're gonna have to pay, like, twice as much for a house" and little did I know I should have said, like, eight times as much.

And, is it a Dykes tradition to name their kids things like "Spike," "Sonny," and "Sassafras?"

It's funny, my dad's two best friends were named "Daniel" and "Sonny" and my dad swears "Sonny" is somewhere on my birth certificate--its not. He thinks it was supposed to get on there and my mom said "we're not naming this kid "Sonny."Daniel Dykes is my given name, but somehow they just started calling me "Sonny" when I was a little kid, so it stuck. I'm not sure why, but it stuck. We've got aliases in my whole family. [My dad's] real name is William Taylor (he is known as Spike Dykes). My brother's real name is Franklin Andrew, but he goes by "Rick" and my sister is Elizabeth Ann and she goes by "Bebe."

I kinda wish she went by Daughterry.

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