Sonny Dykes has made a name for himself as an offensive guru on the college football coaching stage, and he was rewarded when he was named the head coach for the Cal Bears. Dykes went 22-15 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and earned the honor of WAC Coach of the Year in 2011.
Sonny Dykes joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with Bucher and Towny to discuss bringing his prolific offense to Cal, recruiting in the Pac-12, short-term expectations at his new gig, why it was time to make the career move and how he, as a college baseball player, became a college football coach.
What’s the story behind the prolific offense you’ll now be bringing to Cal?:
“We’re an offense that’s pretty diverse. We try to run the ball well, try to throw it well, run a lot of screens, do a lot of things creatively [with] personnel groupings. … It goes fast. That’s our No. 1 thing, we try to line up and get the ball snapped as quickly as possible. And that allows us to play at a great tempo, get more snaps in the game and, at the same time, I think it really dictates to the defense how they can line up.”
On recruiting players to Cal:
“The great thing about recruiting to Cal is there’s so many fantastic players here in the state of the California. Cal’s got a national brand that people recognize all across the country. The great thing Cal’s done now is they’ve made an incredible commitment to facilities. Some of our facilities here are some of the finest in the country. So when you have the No. 1 public academic institution in the U.S., you’ve got great facilities, you play in the Pac-12, you’ve got a great recruiting base and you live in probably the greatest area to live in the United States, how can you not recruit well to Cal?”
Have you been given an indication of what the expectations are for you beginning right away next year?:
“Just get better. We’ve got to do a good job of bringing in kids that can fit Cal, kids that can graduate, kids that appreciate the quality education they’re going to get here at Cal. … What we have to do is recruit the right players, and then we’ve got to do a fantastic job with the current kids here, and convince them that what we’re doing is the right thing. … I think the most important thing is we’ve got to do a great job of building the team, and an atmosphere where guys play for each other, and we’re better collectively than we our individually.”
How much thinking went into deciding this was the right move for you?:
“I think there’s always a little bit of a feeling-out process that occurs. I think they’re trying to find the right candidate for them and you’re trying to find the right school for you. … The great thing about Cal is they didn’t have to sell it. I wanted to be here. I knew the potential that this program had, I had tremendous respect for the academic part of this institution … so they didn’t have to sell me on much.”
What did you see here that made you say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before?'”:
“Let’s just put it to you this way, I saw a guy riding down the street on a bicycle, wearing not a whole lot of clothes. I think the only thing he had on were flip-flops, maybe.”
How does a college baseball player turn into a big-time college football coach?:
“It’s kind of a weird deal. I was just an average player, really, coming out of high school, and an average football player at best. … I got recruited by some better schools in baseball and felt like I had a better opportunity to go and kind of get the school I wanted, academically more than anything else. … But, at the same time, my dad happened to be the head coach at Texas Tech while I went to school there, so I hung around football and went to practice and went to meetings and, pretty quickly, discovered I really wanted to be a football coach.”