Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has taken over temporary reins as the interim coach for dismissed head coach Sonny Dykes. Could he be given the position permanently? Spavital, along with Justin Wilcox, are the two names that have been circulated as legitimate candidates.
In mix to replace Sonny Dykes, #Cal OC Jake Spavital>Great recruiter & led nation's No 10 O despite having to replace Goff & top 6 receivers— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 8, 2017
There is some evidence that Spavital is being seriously considered for the job, and even more evidence that people high up at Cal might be actively lobbying for a complete upgrade.
Interestingly enough, multiple players and recruits have thrown down their stance. They would love to have Spav.
Jake Spavital hasn't been at Cal a full year yet, but a lot of players & assistant coaches would be happy if he replaces Dykes permanently.— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) January 9, 2017
For the record @JakeSpavital is my guy. I'm down to rock with him.— Darius Allensworth (@_MoneyDA) January 8, 2017
From talking to a handful of #Cal commits, the general feeling is Jake Spavital, current OC, would be a very popular hire— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) January 9, 2017
That being said, it would be a very odd hire for Cal to make Spavital the new guy. Aside from leading a very explosive offensive unit for half a season (and helping coach Johnny Manziel with the Aggies a few years back), there isn’t much on Spavital’s resume that suggests he’s ready to be the full-time coach.
When you fire a coach like Dykes and take on an expensive buyout numbering in the millions, you kind of want to know that you swung for the fences and got the best possible option you can possibly find. Promoting the offensive coordinator for the head coach you just dismissed doesn’t seem like the right approach.
Spavital is 31 years old. He has been an offensive coordinator for four years (three at Texas A&M, one at Cal). In his first spot he was dismissed, in his second spot his coach was dismissed. The offense has been good with the Bears and did well to mitigate the loss of Jared Goff and the entire wide receiving unit, but hiring Spavital will not come close to addressing the pending issues on the defensive side of the football.
The only reason I could see Cal being excited about this hire: Cost. Given the lack of coaching experience, Spavital might come cheap for Cal. But it’s hard to see a Spavital hire injecting enthusiasm into the fanbase to begin buying season tickets, and lowballing Spav is a good way to get things started on the wrong foot.
So if the Bears do decide to go the internal promotion route, Cal better be very, very sure that Spavital knows his football, knows how to find a good defensive coordinator, has a plan in action to recruit California as well as he recruited the Big 12 (he has coached mostly in the heartland). They do not want to deal with a younger version of Sonny Dykes several years into the process.