Will New Head Coach Sonny Dykes Make Cal a Contender in Pac-12?

Bob Stanton-US PRESSWIRE

The California Golden Bears haven’t made any waves on the college football stage in recent years, but the new hiring of head coach Sonny Dykes could all change that.

Dykes, the former Louisiana Tech head coach, has put his imprint in the Pac-10 before. He formerly spent time as the assistant coach at Arizona and was in the running for the Broyles Award, which honors the most outstanding assistant coach in all of college football. It was here where he became an offensive guru, learning and excelling at the spread offense.

Dykes also served as Mike Leach’s receiver coach and co-offensive coordinator from 2000 to 2006 before jumping over to Arizona.

In the last three years of his coaching career, Dykes joined the Louisiana Tech program as the head coach where he combined for a 22-15 overall record. In 2011, he led his team to a WAC championship and was named the WAC Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Now, Dykes will turn his attention to a program in turmoil. This season, the Bears defense allowed a conference-worst 441 yards per game and finished last in the Pac-12 — the first time that’s happened in the Jeff Tedford era.

Their offense wasn’t much better. The team could only produce 391.3 yards per contest, which ranks seventh in the conference. And it won’t be getting much better anytime soon. After this season, the Bears will lose a slew of seniors on their offensive line and the best wide receiver on the team — Keenan Allen — who declared for the NFL 2013 Draft.

Allen was considered one of the best college wideouts in the game. According to a Sports Illustrated article, “Allen finishes his career as the school’s all-time leader with 205 receptions. He ranks third with 2,570 yards receiving and seventh with 17 touchdown catches.” That’s a lot to lose, especially with a program in turnaround.

But Dykes still has the credentials to give the Bears a fighting chance at the Pac-12 title next year. In fact, he coached a Bulldogs’ team that ranked second in the nation in total yards per game (577).

So Dykes doesn’t have to shape his new defense into a formidable presence in order to win. He just has to pile on the points with his streaky spread offense and hope he can just outscore the rest of the Pac-12.

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