Obviously, Sonny Dykes could not enjoy the proceedings the way other coaches could. The man has a lot of pressure to deal with as he heads into his second season on the job. With Cal going 1-11 last year, there's obviously not much that you can say outside of hoping your team gets better in so many ways.
Dykes did offer plenty of hope and insight going into next season after a disastrous year one, but the path won't be an easy one coming back from what occurred in 2013. The Bears were awful in pretty much every possible way you could be last year, and a cure isn't likely to come in just one season. Cal can only hope to be better, and be competitive, because this seems like a long-term rebuilding project.
- How much improvement will the team show over the 2013 team? "It's going to be obvious to everybody." The team played poorly enough last year that it's hard not to expect considerable improvement.
- How does the team use 2013 as motivation? It's a balance, as "you've gotta put it behind you" but they also want to use it as motivation.
- What are your thoughts on Pat Fitzgerald's comments? "Pat's a good guy...highly respected. I've got a lot of respect for him." Dykes said he believes the comment about the postgame handshake was taken out of context.
- Will the expiration of USC's scholarship reductions make things tougher for Cal to recruit in Southern California? Not really. Recruiting in that area is always tough, especially since more programs are looking west for their recruiting needs.
- How did you keep the team's spirit up during the season? Dykes mentions that young people are "a lot more resilient than older people" and that he was surprised with their optimism.
- Did you watch The Drive? "I haven't watched it." He didn't want to watch it during the season and at this point he does not want to relive the 2013 season. He mentioned that he'll eventually watch it. He noted, however, that the staff received a surge of positive feedback from people who watched the show. He said people praised the resilience of the staff and players as they continued to fight for a victory.
- How has the team bounced back from the passing of Ted Agu? Remembering Ted was a "unifying experience." Dykes mentioned that these kinds of tragedies bring people together and forge strong bonds among them. He said "the players have done a great job honoring Ted."
- How big of a role will the JC players have this season? It's tough to forecast because players transition at different rates. It depends on their adjustment to the FBS level and how well they adjust academically. Those who make the best adjustments academically aren't always the top athletes.
- What's the biggest adjustment to playing football in a BCS league? "Recruiting." He says it's still football and they play the game the same way, but recruiting at the BCS level is the toughest part of the transition.
- What had the coaches overlooked last season? Dykes mentioned that instilling trust and building reliance on each other were important elements that the team didn't have last year. [Note: anyone watching the way we defended the zone read should find the lack of trust utterly unsurprising. Players constantly left their assignments and tried to cover too much of the field instead of trusting their teammates]