Thearon W. Henderson
Sonny Dykes continues to say things that should please the Cal fanbase, like open practices, open injuries, and embracing the University brand. Dykes also announced the hiring of Andy Buh as defensive coordinator.
Okay, I'm not actually used to having a coach that decides to say things, so having to report all of this is a bit crazy.
Sonny Dykes took all the Cal beat writers out to pizza and they gathered these reports.
First, Dykes is having open practice this year. Not just one, not just a handful. EVERYTHING.
"We don't have any secrets," Dykes said. "The thing is, people can watch our film, they can rewind it, fast forward it, make cutups, all that stuff. I don't know why you wouldn't want someone to be able to come and watch."
Dykes said his wife and two young daughters will often come to practice and he hopes students and fans also show up to watch the team work.
"This is not my program, this is Cal's program," he said. "They should be engaged and ought to be able to check it out. It's their program."
I'm not a believer that open or closed practices doomed the program, but for a system like the one Dykes uses, it probably isn't necessary to close the doors. Although all bets are off if someone breaks the codes these guys use and Cal gets shut down at some point a la Tennessee 2006 (I believe that's what caused Tedford to close practices entirely, although I can't be sure).
Big Kiffin is watching you, Cal (calls 4th down fullback rollout pass anyway).
Also, we'll see who exactly shows up for open practices. I'd love to believe it'd be thousands of adoring students and alumni, but I think we'll have to be worried about the strange types that are found here.
Dykes is also opening injury reports, taking the Mike Riley approach that many other coaches eschew. Whether it's good, bad, or has any effect doesn't seem to be relevant to Dykes.
Dykes on injury disclosure policy: "I'll tell you everything I know that won't get me sued."— Jim McGill (@BearInsider_com) December 19, 2012
Dykes also confirmed that Andy Buh would be defensive coordinator. Buh will not join the Bears until after he coaches the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, so suddenly I'll have to actually be compelled to watch this dreadful game.
Dykes describes new DC Andy Buh as "intense, positive ... It's hard to find positive defensive guys. They're usually kind of pessimistic."— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) December 19, 2012
Interesting that Dykes would call Buh positive. All indications are that Pendergast was probably a bit more harsh in his assessment of players. I wonder if that played into his decision-making here (also Dave Aranda looks like he'll either be Wisconsin DC or Utah State head coach, which are pretty cushy jobs at the moment, even compared to Cal DC).
Dykes also uses the word that Cal fans seemed to hate to describe anything: MULTIPLE!
Coach Dykes is actually settling down in Berkeley. I wonder if he can find a place where everyone doesn't hate football, but I also wonder if he can galvanize some of the local population to become interested in the program.
Dykes and family have put an offer down on a house in Berkeley. Says a HC should live in & be a part of his school's community. #Cal— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) December 19, 2012
Dykes on fan reaction: "It’s been really positive. The thing that I’ve enjoyed doing has been going out to eat at night in Berkeley." #Cal— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) December 19, 2012
It's going to be real funny if he settles down somewhere like Panoramic Hill, and then his neighbors start complaining about all the noise the football stadium makes.
He dishes up on recruiting, aiming to sign anywhere from 26 to 30. Dykes didn't seem to be a fan of the recruiting math that seems to put too much emphasis on receivers instead of offensive linemen. Cal is barren right now on the offensive line (thank Marshall, with an assist to Coach M to boot).
"After every practice we rank every player...We have 10 scholarship O-line guys: needs to be 16-18...6 schol TE and 5 WR little outta whack"— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) December 19, 2012
Finally, he says what all of us have been hoping someone would say--that Cal carries national merit and will actually sell us the right way. Don't you love how he calls us the University of California?
New Cal head coach Sonny Dykes: "Cal is a national brand. It's THE University of California. That carries a lot of weight in recruiting."— Jim McGill (@BearInsider_com) December 19, 2012
All and all, it'll be a refreshing change of pace to have a coach who's honest with the media and up for providing information. It's not that providing info is a be-all, end-all to fandom, but it definitely will get fans interested in the program outside of gameday and hopefully engender more positive feedback from the fanbase before players have to take a snap. Hopefully it'll be the adrenaline boost our program needs this spring to get excited for football once again in Memorial.
So far, Sonny Dykes seems to be saying all the right things. The big question is he doing all the right things?
What are your thoughts on all Dykes has said so far?