Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports spoke with the Solid Verbal podcast to preview the big issues facing the Pac-12 schools in 2013. For Cal, the question is to compare Sonny Dykes with his predecessor, Jeff Tedford; in particular, how and why Dykes will be more successful in the short-term with the same players Tedford was coaching. Audio of the interview is available online, with the Cal portion beginning around the 17:35 mark.
I think what Jeff Tedford was kind of ailed by was [that] he'd been there a long time and he made a bunch of changes on the staff--or had a lot of changes, whether they were his decision or other people's decisions. He's a terrific coach and he really worked wonders for a program that was awful before he got there, but eventually, I think he kind of just ran out of steam.
I think what Sonny Dykes brings is a lot of energy there and he has a plan. He's very determined on what he's going to do. I think some recruits are already buying in. When I was at The Opening, which is the big recruiting bazaar for kids up at Portland, there were a lot of kids there who were either committed to Cal or intrigued by Cal and speaking very highly of Sonny Dykes. He's a really smart guy. Just because his dad's name is Spike and he comes from Texas, don't think he comes in with a tumbleweed following him. He's different. I think he'll handle it well there. Now, what's challenging for him is he's got to figure out who his quarterback is. If it's gonna be Zach Kline--whoever it's gonna be, he's new. The receivers are young, but they are talented. We know Brendan Bigelow's a super explosive kid, but we didn't see him play in the spring. So those are big question marks for what they do.
When he was at Louisiana Tech, he didn't take over a good situation at all from Derek Dooley and one of the things Sonny Dykes was able to do was he hit on a lot of JC kids who were able to go and kind of turn it pretty quick in two years. I don't think he's gonna have that luxury at Cal and, also, he's in a much tougher league. That's not an easy division he's in, especially with how well Stanfurd's doing. Oregon, even without Chip Kelly, isn't going to fall off the map and I think Washington recruits really well. He's punching up right now and I think people have to be patient with him, but I do think he has a lot of good energy there and he also has great facilities now and that's something Jeff Tedford did not have. Anybody who's been out to Cal in the last six months, you can look at that stadium and you would be blown away. I don't know who's paying for it, but just in terms of what they have, the recruits don't worry about accounting. They just want to come see it, like "wow, this stadium rocks." I noticed one of the kids who's committed there--Luke Rubenzer, is a shorter dual-threat quarterback who's an Elite 11 kid--I noticed he and one of the top defensive backs are both committed [to Cal and] their avatars are the new Cal stadium. I think that speaks to one of the things Sonny Dykes can sell.
What do you make of Feldman's analysis? What other unique traits does Dykes bring to the table that will help him succeed here?