Players welcome new coach Dykes with open arms

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Tony Zhou/Staff

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Safety Avery Sebastian sure seemed happy to see the two-week coaching search finally come to a close following Sonny Dykes’ introductory press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“It was a long 16 days,” Sebastian said. “It was a very antsy wait. All the players would huddle around ESPN.com looking around.”

Sebastian, along with quarterback Allan Bridgford and Chris Harper, hung around the press conference area answering questions pertaining to the hiring of Dykes. As expected, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

“I think it will be a really nice fit for us,” Bridgford said. “We have a lot of talented wide receivers. We have a couple of incredibly talented running backs. We have tight ends that can create mismatches in the middle of the field. We definitely have the personnel for this offense.”

The offense, a variation on the Air Raid concept honed by Dykes’ mentors Mike Leach and Hal Mumme, includes many four and five wide receiver sets.

“I’m in a very fortunate position right now with the offense we’re running,” Harper said.

Although the offense looks to be prolific as ever, Dykes’ defense finished last in the country in points allowed last season. Sebastian didn’t seem worried.

“We want to be the best defense in the conference,” Sebastian said. “Now that (Dykes) is at Cal, things will change.”

Although the defensive prospects remain suspect, the players seems to be optimistic with the direction they’ve chosen to head in.

“Yes,” Harper replied when asked if Dykes made any remarks about expectations in the first team meaning, “he expects us to win the championship.”

Michael Rosen covers football. Contact him at [email protected]

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