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Cal football: What are your thoughts on Sonny Dykes & company through two years?

I hate referendums. Hate them so much. But based on how this season went and your limited two year samples, what are your overall impressions of this coaching staff, and what do you want to see going into next season?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent S: I considered this a much more enjoyable and entertaining season than last (maybe it's because I watched all of our home losses on TV, instead of in person). This year exceeded my expectations - I did not expect us to be in a position to blame officiating for a Big Game loss, for example.

Watching the youngsters on both sides of the ball work hard, fight against disheartening odds, and begin to win games is inspiring. I really hope all of our offensive talent returns - next year will be special if they do.

boomtho: I came into this season wanting to like the coaching staff and pulling for them to succeed. I leave this season much less sure that that this staff is on a path to anything but mid-tier mediocrity in the Pac-12. I think Dykes' game management and decision making will continue to cost us unless they drastically improve (which they absolutely can; see Ron Rivera). I think Franklin misused Rubenzer at times and abandoned the run too early in other games - in addition, he really failed to adjust to the 2 high safety look that UW unveiled to great success against us. I think Kaufman did a mostly decent job, but the defense regressed as the season went on and the repeated blitzes led to repeated big plays by BYU.

So, from those specific examples... I'm not sure what to make of Dykes & Co. I think they've done a good job changing the trajectory of the program that they inherited from Tedford. They've done a GREAT job on academics. They've had reasonable success on the recruiting trail, though it's been mostly concentrated on the offensive side of the ball, where we have less need.

Going into next year, there are a few things I think I need to see:
1) Better game management: make better 3rd and 4th down calls, use your timeouts better, stop kicking long field goals unless we have a good kicker
2) Bear Raid unleashed: I want to see further improvement on the offensive side of the ball, and better in-game adjustments as defense unveil wrinkles (e.g. the 2-high safety look from UW)
3) Average defense or bust: I know we won't be an elite defense, but Kaufman needs to work some magic and get us to at least an average defense
4) Punch above our weight: I want to beat just one team we shouldn't - USC, Oregon, UCLA, someone

Leland Wong: Two years--one year for most of the defensive staff--is too early to make an accurate evaluation of the coaching staff, even if that is a lifetime for some who are waiting to see a turnaround in the modern world of college football. I think most of us love what they're doing off the field. The players seem to have a true appreciation for Cal lore and Cal fandom these days. We're already seeing improvements in the academics. The coaches--particularly those on offense--are incredibly fun and social with fans on Twitter. These improvements must continue.

Unfortunately, they haven't lived up to their hype or expectations yet. Coaches Dykes and Franklin were famed for their offensive output and have delivered for the most part, but they aren't as aggressive as we hoped in kicking-or-punting situations. Coach Kaufman is famed for his near-miraculous ability to extract improvement out of his defenses; while the play isn't as cringe-worthy as 2013, opposing yardage is still piling up. This is where I'd like to see the coaches improve. Let's get some better game management and offensive playcalling. Just play a little NCAA Football on the Xbox and I think you'll get used to knowing when to punt, when to go for an onside kick, or when you need a time out. The defense must continue to improve and actually stop an opponent--let's win a game because stopped an opponent for more than just the final drive.

I'd like to see us pull off a meaningful upset. More than that, I'll be so disappointed if we don't get a win over a California school next year. It's totally unreasonable to expect that from your coaches because their quality and progress is independent of ours. We can totally make great advancements and be barreling down the right track, but they may still be ahead of us. But... college football isn't about logic, so let's beat one of our in-state rivals, Sonny. Bonus points if it's USC. Double bonus points if it's the Furd