Before you point out that Sonny Dykes only has one season under his belt as the head coach at Cal-Berkeley, please note that it’s been taken into consideration.
Given the adjustment teams require to his unique offensive style, and the fact that injuries were a big part of why Cal went 1-11, Dykes was given another chance to lead the Bears to more victories this season.
There are no excuses for a repeat of the 2013 record- Dykes MUST win more games in 2014. Cal must show significant improvement or his job will be in jeopardy, second year as coach or not. While no one is expecting the team to be ranked in the top 25, or competing for a conference championship, they still must take some sort of step forward.
“The hardest thing for me has been getting over it,” Sonny Dykes said. “Because as a coach, that’s your identity. That’s who you are.”
To help “improve his intensity,” Dykes phoned a some of his fellow coaches for advice, among them Bill Snyder of Kansas State, Texas’ Mack Brown, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, and the well-traveled Dick Tomey. He also spoke with his father, former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes.
There are noticeable parallels between Dykes’ situation and that of Snyder not long ago. Snyder took over for the Kansas State Wildcats back in 1989. The Wildcats were known as one of the worst teams in college football, with just 137 wins from 1935-1988. Much like Sonny Dykes, in Snyder’s first season of coaching, the team went 1-10.
They improved their record to 5-6 the following season, then became a winning team after going 7-4 in Snyder’s third year in coaching. It took Snyder until 1993 to get K-State into a Bowl game (keep in mind, there weren’t quite as many then), but the Wildcats showed steady progress. “All we had to do was take a step off the ground and we’d made improvements,” Snyder said. Now, Snyder is a legend at Kansas State and he is still going strong after 22 years (with a three-year gap in the early 2000’s), compiling a record of 178-90-1. Cal will need to show the same signs of slow, steady improvement or Sonny Dykes will be looking for a new job- and it’s not likely to be as head coach at a Division-I school.
Talent is not a big problem for the Blue and Gold this upcoming season, especially with the potential-filled Jared Goff coming off of a record-breaking freshman year. If Dykes wants to keep his job, he must show that the Bears have a future in him.
I am not saying the Bears are loaded with talent, because they are not. But for Sonny Dykes to keep his job, he’ll need to win at least three or four games, competing hard within the conference and making sure the team stays together even during the rough patches that are bound to occur. If he does that, he should be fine. But if he fails to get Cal off the ground for a second year in a row, his job may be in jeopardy.
Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @LWOSSamKweon. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page.
For more on sports injuries, check out our friends at Sports Injury Alert.
Football fans…check out our two partnered NFL podcasts – Thursday Night Tailgate Radio and Overtime Ireland. Both shows bring you interesting commentary, critical analysis and fantastic guests including former and current NFL players, coaches and personalities.