October 12, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes watches game action against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The argument that Sonny Dykes is the wrong man to lead the Cal Golden Bears forward is imbecilic. This past weekend, Cal lost to a top-ten team in the UCLA Bruins (who features two projected top-ten picks in the upcoming NFL Draft and a gang of other mid-to-late round talents). The game, a bore-fest on both sides, was a bad showing. I don’t disagree with that. But to say the loss of both the game and the season is on the first-year head coach who is coming into a situation without a full cupboard is ludicrous. Sonny Dykes is in his first opportunity at a head coaching post at an AQ-Conference school; he can’t be held accountable for everything.
The injury bug has bitten Cal hard this season. The defense has been the unit that has been dealt the brunt of it, leading to Cal being without their best player, safety Avery Sebastian. They also had to dismiss their best linebacker in Chris McCain due to his consistent rule breaking. There are a rash other injuries, leading to the idea that Biletnikoff Award hopeful Bryce Treggs could play both receiver and corner if the situation becomes even more dire than it already is. These things have led to guys who have no business starting playing on almost a weekly basis, it has also lead to the depth being an issue in Berkeley.
And now people want to blame Sonny Dykes, a guy who came here with the expectation of revamping a rusty offense and drawing good talent to Cal, after he’s done what he was expected to do?
Dykes came here as the man who was going to bring along the offense after it started to sputter under former head coach Jeff Tedford. He’s done that. Cal has the fifth best passing offense in the nation (368 yards/game), Jared Goff (a true freshman who is playing without a good offensive line and with an underachieving running back tandem) is the sixth best passer in the nation (336 yards/game) and has thrown the fifth most yards this season (2016). These numbers can be built upon.
The trouble this year is that Cal was left a mess by the last regime, and Dykes needs more than six games to fix that. To blame him for the injuries, the bad play on the defense and the losses (which isn’t surprising considering that Cal is playing the 3rd toughest schedule this season) aren’t on him.
To make Cal relevant again he needs more than six games, a broken defense and an unenthused fan base. I believe this man will change Cal into at least a formidable team going forward in the soon-to-be best division in football. Cal will be good again. Losing to UCLA, a top-ten team, doesn’t change that. But blaming the blameless head coach will.