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Golden Nuggets: Sonny Dykes Discusses His Vision for the Cal Football Program

In an interview with ESPN and Ted Miller, Sonny Dykes discusses his goals for the program across a broad spectrum of topics: recruiting, hiring practices for assistants, and building the "right" kind of program.

Jed Jacobsohn

Coach Dykes' endless media tour continues, this week's stop is at the ESPN Pac-12 Blog. Every time he has an interview, he provides valuable insight into what he's trying to accomplish at Cal, whether in the context of recruiting, player-coach interactions, offensive philisophy, etc. Today he talks about his goals for the program.

What is it specifically about the staff that you assembled that you like so much?

SD: The biggest thing is the dynamic for how everyone works together. Guys have to get along. Guys have to be supportive of each other and they have to be like-minded. The worst thing a coach can do is bring in an all-star staff and bring in all these guys that have different ways of wanting to do things. Your assistant coaches have to think the way coordinators think. I think that's really important. We brought our guys from Louisiana Tech so they are all on the same page. We brought in Andy Buh and he hired a good staff of guys he's worked with in the past so we're all anxious to get rolling.

Ironically enough, Dykes points to the junior college across the bay as a model of the type of program he would like to run.

How much do you recognize the rivalry with Stanford and is that game something that's high on your priority list? Or is it more a matter of rebuilding the confidence of the team at this point?

SD: I think it's both. You'd be a fool to be a coach at Cal and not understand that rivalry and what The Big Game means to Cal fans and our players. They will be a good measuring stick for us. They were Pac-12 champs and won the Rose Bowl. Obviously they are a program that's been built the right way. They recruited good student-athletes and guys who are good "program" guys. It shows you can be successful by having a long-term goal and building toward it.

Finally, he talks about his goals with Cal and addresses a topic many of us have discussed on CGB: whether MacIntyre or Dykes will be more successful.

When it comes to goal-setting, are you a long-term guy or do you think in terms of baby steps?

SD: I'm kind of a short-term guy. Our goal is to get better every day. We want to be competitive in every game. That's the No. 1 thing is to make sure our guys are playing hard and we learn how to win. Cal is a program that can be successful and has been very successful in the past. We've got to get to the point where we can't hope to win. Every time we take the field we have to expect to win and that's something that takes some time.

Speaking of expectations, people might perceive that coach Mike MacIntyre at Colorado might have an easier time because people expect it to be a rebuilding project. As you said, Cal has been successful. Do you feel like you might be expected to turn things around quicker?

SD: I think probably to an extent because of the resources we have at Cal and the history of success. They've tasted success at a very high level. When you have the resources available to you that you do, people are going to have high expectations. And you want that. That's why I'm here -- to win at a high level and do it consistently. But it takes time. We expect to be a competitive football team and win football games early. We have to stay healthy and develop depth. But that's why you come to a place like Cal because I believe it's a place where you can get stuff done.

Once again, another excellent interview from the coach.





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