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ESPN Radio interviews Sonny Dykes about Cal football, Jared Goff and more

Dykes talks about the upcoming season, Jared Goff, and more on ESPN podcast.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cal's Head Coach Sonny Dykes was interviewed last Thursday on an ESPN podcast with Adam Rittenberg about Cal's upcoming season. Dykes was part of a series of interviews with other Pac-12 coaches. You can hear the full interview here. The following quotes contain some paraphrasing.

Dykes on the offseason and expectations for the year:

"I feel more strongly than I've ever felt about this group. We've had a really good offseason; the guys have bought in at every possible way shape or form. We've made a huge move academically really proud of our player's performance in the classroom, proud of the way they've grown up, their attitude and work ethic and just how unselfish they are. It certainly helps when you have a lot of experience coming back. Particularly on defense, we return almost everybody up front with the addition of a couple of critical players, getting James Looney, Kyle Kragen. Adding all those new defensive backs we have 9 new guys at the back end and returning all the starters on offense.  Were in a good spot we could see it starting to happen last year and were ready to take the next step."

Dykes on the D-line:

"That group can become a strength for our team. We expect Mustafa Jalil to have a big year for us. We have depth, we have a lot of guys who are battle tested who are big and strong and have been in the program for a while. We've got to improve our pass rush. Pass defense and pass rush go hand in hand...We got to cover better, cover tighter and we have to pressure the quarterback more than we did last year."

Dykes on Jared Goff and his improvement:

"He made a big jump from year one to year two. We were pretty specific on things we wanted to see him improve on. He did a remarkable job working on those specific things. For us it starts with getting the ball out on time, anticipating throws, making good decisions, and managing the game. You know you hear that all the time, we don't want our quarterback to manage the game we want him to go win the game but at the same time we don't want him to feel like he has to make all of these impossible throws. We feel like we have enough talent surrounding him where if he manages it, takes care of the football, does a good job throwing it to the open man, does a good job checking down to the backs in critical situations, that it's really going to help our football team. We've got to do a better job of maximizing our possessions, we can't have as many three and outs as we had last year, we can't have as many penalties as we had that stalled drives. He's done a great job of understanding all those things and improving on them. As I said at the end of spring football I felt like he was in a great spot."

Dykes on Daniel Lasco:

"I think Daniel Lasco is one of the premier running backs in the league and probably across the country. He's a really underrated back, he's got good size, he really fits our offense well, he catches the ball well, he's a good blocker, does a excellent job finishing runs, finishes hard, plays physical, and is very seldom tackled by the first tackler. He's what you're looking for. The good thing is we've got some good young depth behind him and starting to develop some guys. Our run game is always going to be critical for us we feel like it takes a lot of pressure off Jared. When we can run the football it just makes us better."

Dykes on the competitive level of Cal and the program:

"I think you just look at our facilities, the commitment they made with California memorial stadium and investing as much money as they did into that beautiful stadium making it one of the great stadiums in college football. Our facilities are as good as anybody in the country. There are some challenges at Cal, obviously the academic part. Many people see it as a challenge we see it as an opportunity to recruit people who care about people playing football at the highest level but as importantly getting a quality education and an education that will serve them well for their whole life. If you're a high school football player that wants to play football at the highest level and wants to get an education that's going to serve you for the next 50 years your going to look at Cal. They've tightened the academic requirements for us but we feel once we've made that adjustment we'll be bringing in kids that can be successful both on the field and in the classroom and we think that's going to help our program in the long run."

A couple of thoughts on the interview:

Dykes thinks highly of our defensive line. If his thoughts are true and the bears can get a decent pass rush that could potentially be dangerous for other teams. If our line can put enough pressure on the QB to where our secondary doesn't look like a JV squad then Oregon might have a contested rival for the north crown. Cal can only go as far as our secondary allows.

Dykes loves Daniel Lasco and Jared Goff. Thinking that Daniel Lasco is one of the best running backs in the country speaks highly of the underrated back. The fact that Jared Goff improved enough to where Dykes is praising him... That scares me. That should scare opposing defenses a lot more though. Jared Goff has the potential to destroy all kinds of Cal and Pac 12 records.

Sonny Dykes also talks about how the program as a whole can compete at the highest level. He thinks that the new facilities are as good as any. If recruits agree with that then Cal could lure some kids. Dykes also talks about recruits coming to Cal to get an education. Just like Jaylen Brown did for basketball, maybe the football team can snag a few big recruits who are looking to get that education.

If Dykes is right about all of this then Cal can make some noise in the Pac-12 this upcoming season.

Roll on you Bears!