Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Cal Coach Sonny Dykes--UGH!

My apologies, but I've got to vent. Got to get this off my chest.
If you don't give a damn about Cal football, feel free not to read any farther

Cal just hired Sonny Dykes as head football coach to replace Jeff Tedford, who was fired on Nov. 20, when the miserable 3-9 season ended with a dismal, dispiriting rout by Oregon State. Cal football, then, couldn't get any lower. Bear fans needed a pick-me-up.

So what does Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour do? She raids the WAC and hands the job to Sonny Dykes of Lousiana Tech. You gotta be kidding.

Raise your hand if you've ever heard of this guy before now. Just as I thought. 

After all that big talk of maybe luring Chris Petersen from Boise State or Hue Jackson, the former Oakland Raiders' coach, or some other notable,  this is what Bear fans get? What about a coordinator from a major program or even a deposed SEC coach, like Kentucky's Joker Phillips or Tennessee's Derek Dooley? Couldn't Barbour come up with somebody--anybody--better than Dykes?

Dykes was a nobody before this season. He got a lot of attention for leading his team to a 9-3 record. For a while they were 9-1 and in the lower part of the Top 20, a big deal for a WAC team. Their signature win was a loss, dropping a 59-57 scorefest to Texas A&M, which features QB Johnny Football, a Heisman finalist. La Tech is known to be a scoring machine, leading the nation with 51.5 points per game, while averaging 577.9 yards of total offense per game. Dykes' team finished at 9-3, which is a fine record, but does that mean he's ready to make the leap to Pac-12 head coach?

He's no stranger to the Pac-12, having been offensive coordinator at Arizona 2007-2009. Excuse me, but I don't recall the Wildcats being an offensive powerhouse back then. What the Cal hire is based on is Tech piling up big offensive numbers. But pooh on those flashy stats. The WAC is famous for not playing defense, so those numbers are tainted. Speaking of defense, Dykes' team, in the grand tradition of the conference, fielded a typically pathetic unit, among the nation's worst all season.

The Pac-12 has some hotshot coaches now, including Stanford's Shaw, Oregon's Kelly, UCLA's Mora, Arizona's RichRod and USC's Kiffin, These are guys other schools would love to have. So, to this illustrious group Cal adds Dykes? Yikes!

Now what? Do you think that offense-first, no-D format will fly in the Pac-12? Don't think so. To win in this conference Dykes will have to pay less attention to offense and accentuate defense. That's crucial.

In the last few years Cal has been in a deep hole. In the first half of the last decade, Tedford turned Cal into a prominent football school that was always one of the best in the conference and a fixture in the national Top 20. But in his last few years Cal tailed way off, mainly because the coach, known for his skill at developing QBs, couldn't come up with a good one.

When Tedford was finally booted out, it seemed as if Cal was stepping up the ladder and out of that hole. But, with Dykes and his score-first mentality, the Bears may have taken a few steps back down that ladder.

Dykes just doesn't seem like a smart choice. Hope I'm wrong, that he'll channel his inner Nick Saban and turn into one of the best coaches in the conference.

Go ahead Sonny, prove me wrong. In this case, I'd so love to be wrong.