I never miss a chance to express my distaste for Buzzfeed-style writing and its “SEO-friendly” approach, abandoning the premise of quality journalism in pursuit of the ever-elusive page view. But I suppose I never considered how much easier it is to just write a list of things. So, without further ado, the (delusionally optimistic) “Six reasons why Sonny Dykes might be the best hire ever”:
1. His offense is innovative.
Sure, there have been up-tempo offenses in the Pac-12 before — just check out Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense from the last five years. Yeah, the spread’s been done — and unsuccessfully, I might add: The angry pirate Mike Leach brought his chest of pass-heavy formations to Washington State and faceplanted right into last place in the Pac-12. But no one has done it quite like Sonny Dykes: a flurry of unique formations, breakneck speed and, for a supposed “spread offense,” an unforeseen balance between run and pass. If it all clicks, and that “if” is certainly the biggest of them all, there’s a chance Dykes’ offense catches the entire conference off-guard for a few seasons and Cal turns into Oregon 2.0.
2. He’s as transparent as college football coaches get.
Dykes made reporters like myself very happy when he announced at his introductory press conference that all practices would be open to media and the public. This type of transparency is a welcome breath of fresh air from the Tedford era, when a routine walkthrough was treated like an 18th-century Freemasons meeting. Unfortunately, extreme levels of secrecy are the norm in college football these days. It’s a good sign that Dykes is bucking that trend.
3. He’s just a nice dude.
I don’t mean to keep dumping on Tedford, but asking him anything was scary as shit. I remember, in my first interview with him as a football reporter, I asked him whether Richard Rodgers profiled as a No. 2 option. He glared at me for a few seconds and responded sternly, “That’s not how football is played.” When you talk to Dykes, he’s respectful and attentive. I’m struggling to think of how kindness has anything to do with being a good football coach, but it’s certainly not a bad thing.
4. He’s not Jeff Tedford.
No, I’m just kidding.
5. He has a football pedigree.
His father, Spike Dykes, coached at Texas Tech in the ’70s. Also, his dad’s name is Spike Dykes.
6. He’s been immensely successful.
His teams, or, at the very least, his offenses, have thrived wherever he’s worked. As an offensive assistant at Kentucky, Tim Couch and Co. broke NCAA records for points scored. He killed it under Mike Leach at Texas Tech. He’s even found success in the Pac-12 before; working as an offensive coordinator at Arizona, he helped the Wildcats reach their first bowl appearance in almost 10 years. And, most importantly, he turned Louisiana Tech, a moribund program, into the best offense in the country. Who’s to say he can’t do it again?