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Cal Football Assistant Coaches Preview - The Teachers

Meet the coaches behind the coach.

Mississippi State v Texas A&M Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

We all know about Sonny Dykes, and maybe even Art Kaufman (defensive coordinator) and Jake Spavital (offensive coordinator). But, what about Cal’s other position coaches? Let’s check out the coaches leading Cal’s 2016 squad.

Head Coach/Outside Receivers: Sonny Dykes


Dykes is heading into his fourth season at Cal in 2016. In addition to head coaching duties, Dykes is also the outside receivers position coach - the perfect way to lead our Bear Raid! His receivers have had great production (albeit that could also be conflated by the greatness of Jared Goff the past three seasons). In 2015, Cal was third in the country in passing yards per game (376.3 ypg), behind only Wazzu and Texas Tech (where new starting QB Davis Webb hails from!).

Cal’s top six receivers in 2015 (Treggs, Davis, Lawler, Powe, Harris, and Andersen) all averaged greater than 42 ypg and greater than 11 yards/catch. The Golden Bears are reloading at the wideout position in 2016. Dykes has certainly proven himself to be an awesome recruiter and developer of WR talent. We’ll soon see if Dykes can turn this season’s crop of relatively unknown wideouts - Chad Hansen, Patrick Worstell, Melquise Stovall, Raymond Hudson, Demetris Robertson, Vic Wharton, Greyson Bankhead, and Jordan Veasy - into household names!

Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers: Art Kaufman


After the one-year failed experiment (a la Andy Buh), Dykes brought in Kaufman to right the ship on the defensive side of the ball. As the linebackers coach, 2016 will be new territory for Kaufman as he has to adjust without his prior leaders. Hardy Nickerson (Cal’s defensive leaders last season) grad transferred to Illinois, and Jalen Jefferson is trying to make it to Sundays. This leaves juniors Raymond Davidson (2.67 tackles/game in 2015) and Devante Downs (3.22 tackles/game) holding down the central defense fort.

Kaufman played linebacker at Arkansas-Monticello. Prior to joining Cal, Kaufman was the DC and LB coach at Cincinnati, Texas Tech, and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Jake Spavital


Spavital comes to Cal with much fanfare and brings a new level of hope/excitement for Cal fans. Yes, this is the OC/QB coach that worked with that infamous Heisman-winning NFL bust of the ages the year after he won the Heisman. After Tony Franklin abruptly left after last season, Dykes picked up Spavital from Texas A&M. While Spav has already made headlines with keeping Cal in the recruiting game for highly touted Tate Martell and then getting Davis Webb to grad transfer to Cal, he’s already bringing a newer, younger energy to the Cal offense. Being only 31 years old helps with that. Cal fans should be hyped up for Coach Spav!

Associate Head Coach/Running Backs: Garret Chachere


Coach Chach has been with Cal since Dykes arrived. In 2013, he coached the defensive ends. In 2014, he coached the linebackers. Prior to the 2016 season, he switched over to the offensive side of the ball to coach the running backs.

Oh, Coach Chache’s Twitter feed is also full of words of wisdom:

Safeties: Greg Burns


Coach Burns is most certainly a players coach. Entering his third season at Cal (second season coaching safeties, after one season coaching the corners), Burns is a true winner. After playing DB at Wazzu, Burns has coached DBs at a number of notable places - Louisville, U$C, Tampa Bay Bucs, K-State, ASU, Purdue, and UMass - before coming to Cal. Burns has coached in 10 bowl games, including 4 BCS bowl games and 2 national championship games. Along with Kaufman coming after Buh was kicked to the curb, Burns has helped to turnaround a Cal defense that was just abysmal before his arrival.

Check out Burns coaching up the team this summer:

Offensive Line: Brandon Jones


Remember that Jared Goff guy? Yea, remember how he tore it up and became the #1 pick to the Rams? Well, none (okay, most) of that doesn’t happen without a pretty good offensive line in front of him. Cal’s big uglies are coached by Brandon Jones, who’s heading into his second year at Cal in 2016. Last season, Cal ranked #3 nationally in passing offense, #8 in total offense, and #17 in scoring offense - that’s some serious O-line production there!

Jones played center for Dykes at Texas Tech when he was the co-OC there in 2006. Prior to coaching at Cal, Jones spent five seasons coaching the O-line at East Carolina.

Cornerbacks: John Lovett


Coach Lovett is a truly seasoned coach who’s made his rounds in the collegiate and NFL levels. Most recently, Lovett spent two seasons coaching DBs for Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to the Eagles, Lovett coached at Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Miami, UNC-Chapel Hill, Bowling Green, Clemson, Ole Miss, and Auburn. Part of Cal’s defensive revival in the past two seasons, Lovett’s impact was immediate, as we saw in Darius White (3 INTs, 59 tackles) and Darius Allensworth’s (11 pass breakups, 41 tackles) great production in 2015.

Inside Receivers: Jacob Peeler


Jacob Peeler - Cal fans, remember this name. Peeler is quickly making a name for himself as one of the nation’s top recruiters. Peeler came with Dykes from Louisiana Tech. In 2015, Peeler coached up recent Cal greats - Bryce Treggs, Darius Power, Stephen Andersen, and Richard Rodgers (of the Green Bay Packers now). This past offseason, Peeler made headlines hauling in Demetris Robertson to Cal - a consensus 5-star WR from Georgia. For Cal’s 2017 class, Peeler is already bringing in the likes of Jeremiah Hawkins and Taariq Johnson.

Check out this nice profile of Peeler after getting his first full-time job with Cal.

Defensive Line: Fred Tate


When Kaufman came to Cal three seasons ago, he brought Fred Tate with him. Tate helped to turnaround a porous Cal defense. In 2015, Cal’s defense was #11 nationally in fumbles recovered, #13 in turnovers gained, #23 in passes intercepted, and #25 in defensive touchdowns. Tate has coached these recent Cal studs - Kyle Kragen, Mustafa Jalil, Austin Clark. In 2016, look for James Looney and DeVante Wilson to have breakout seasons under Tate’s tutelage.

Here’s Coach Tate soaking it in after last season’s Armed Forces Bowl victory: