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Sonny Dykes Introduction - Player Quotes
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  12/06/2012

Dec. 6, 2012

QUARTERBACK ALLAN BRIDGFORD

On how it feels to see and hear head coach Sonny Dykes be introduced:
"I'm excited to get this rolling, get to know him, get the playbook in my hands and get this offseason jump-started."

On how much he already knows about Dykes' offenses:
"In the last 24 hours, a little bit. I have checked him out on YouTube videos and read up on him and learned about their offense, basically what Texas Tech ran with a lot of success for all those years, so yeah, I'm excited."

On whether Dykes is a good fit for Cal football:
"I think it'll be a real nice fit for us. We have a lot of talented receivers, we have some very talented running backs in (Brendan) Bigelow and (Daniel) Lasco and those guys, big guys that can also spread it out and run the ball. We have tight ends that can create huge matchup problems on the inside. So I think we definitely have the personnel for this offense."

On whether he is personally a good fit for the offense Dykes is expected to install:
"Coming out of high school, I was recruited pretty hard by Texas Tech and that was one of my final schools that I was thinking about because of that offense. I thought it would fit me really well. So for me personally, I think this offense is about a lot of accuracy, decision making, distributing the ball, stuff like that, and that would definitely be my strong suit."

On the meeting today between coach Dykes and the team:
"It was good. The whole team was there, we were all excited to get to see this guy for this time. He gave us a great talk, told us a little about himself, about his intentions. It was all consistent with what us players in this program have to do to get it turned around and have a culture change and those type of things. It was a good first meeting. We're all looking forward to getting to really know him."

On learning a new playbook:
"That isn't a concern. That's stuff you have to deal with in football if you get a new offense or a new coach. I don't think it will be too tough to pick it up. It's all about getting reps at it. I can't wait to get one in my hand so I can learn it. It's going to be good."

On having to prove who you are to a new coach:
"Everybody starts at square one and we're going to have to earn our coach's respect over time through our actions and through our play. That's something that shouldn't be a concern for everybody if they're used to doing things the right way all the time. And for guys who haven't been that way, they have a chance to start over and maybe correct mistakes they've made in the past, which will be good for this team."

On his optimism for playing in Dykes' system as a quarterback :
"What quarterback wouldn't like the thought of throwing the ball 60 times a game or whatever it is. It sounds like a lot of fun. I'm really excited."

On the mood of the team before and after meeting its new head coach:
"Obviously, people are going to be a little down when you lose the coach that recruited you, but the feeling in today's meeting was a lot of enthusiasm. We were all just really excited. A lot of us had not met coach Dykes before so we were excited to meet him. He talked to the team and had some real good stuff to say, so I feel that the mood of our team, the mood of our program, is a lot of excitement and people are ready to get to work."

On whether he is nervous about having a new coach:
"With change, uncertainty is always a tough thing to deal with, but getting out of your comfort zone will make me a better person and a better player."

On having another offensive head coach hired to lead the program:
"It's going to be a lot of fun having an offensive-minded head coach. He's well known in the football world and I've only heard great reviews."

On the message Dykes delivered in his first team meeting:
"His first message was definitely along the lines of trust, accountability and fairness. He's going to hold everyone to the same standard, which is doing the best you can every day when you wake up, get everything you have to get done, whether it's in classroom, on the field or just as member of society. And he talked about the fact that he's going to have to earn our trust and we're going to have to earn his trust. Once that happens, he was talking about how that was going to be a great thing for the team."

On whether academic discipline will improve as part of that accountability:
"Absolutely. And the thing is, the majority of the people have done a good job, it's just a couple of people that really bring [the Academic Progress Rate] down. So it's all about shortening the gap between the most committed person and the least committed person so that we have everybody committed. All it is, is trying. If you try, you'll be fine. We have the resources here to get the work done, no matter how smart you are and what background you come from, we have the resources to help. It's just about how much you care."

On whether discipline in general was a problem this past season:
"If you look at our record, the penalties, I don't think people were trying to be undisciplined, they had every intention to be disciplined, but it's definitely something we have to work on. A lot of people around here know that we have to change our culture to become more disciplined, whether it's in school or on the field."


DEFENSIVE BACK AVERY SEBASTIAN

On the reaction as a defensive player knowing you're getting a head coach with a strong offensive reputation:
"Well, just looking at his powerful offense reminds you of other powerful offenses throughout the Pac-12, spread offenses that score a lot a points. As a defense, it's a challenge every year to stop these Pac-12 offenses. There are so many great offenses out there. We have a lot of great guys coming back next year, a lot of experience, and I know whatever coach we're going to get, they're going to run the best scheme for us so we can execute."

On being worried at all about how poorly-ranked the Louisiana Tech defense was last year.
"No, today is the day that we've found officially that he was going to be our coach. We're going to watch film later on today - a few of us players getting together."

On what excites him about Coach Dykes
"You graduate from high school to college, and it's going to be a transition. This is just another transition we're going to do. We'll see how it goes."

On if he felt the discipline was lacking last season
"It was just attention to detail, really. Not so much lack of, but small things that people would slip up on - individually, as a team. It's part of the game, and it's something that we need to have corrected as a team. Coach Dykes is going to do his best with his staff and support staff to help us and mold us into the team we need to be."

On how much he was keeping track of the rumors and scuttlebutt over the last couple of weeks

"It's been a long 16 days. As a program, this is our school, and we always want the best for our school. Ms. Barbour did the best she could for us, and she came up with a great hire and we're all excited. It wasn't too long of a wait, but it was a really antsy wait. All of the players huddled around ESPN.com, trying to look at what's going on, just trying to figure out what's going on."

On how he feels about an improved offense next season
"It can ease your mind a bit, but you can never know what's going to happen in a game. Turnovers can always happen in the game. There's certain aspects of the game that you have to be prepared for. But, we've got to be selfish next year when we're on the field. We can't let them score any points, and it just goes back to our demeanor as a defense. If they don't score, we win. And if we can hold that true next year, then we'll be fine."

On if he will play special teams next season
"Yeah, I hope I can be on special teams for the rest of my life. Special teams is one-third of the game, and sometimes it can be overlooked but it's definitely huge. We need to get all of our best players on it next year, once again. We're going to get great coaching. We don't know who is going to be coaching special teams of course yet, but we have a lot of awesome people coming back in that aspect. A lot of the freshmen that redshirted are going to step up - Michael Barton, Damariay Drew, Hardy Nickerson, just a few of those guys. Those guys were huge last year, and they are going to step up this year and play a really important role."

On any indication of what kind of defensive scheme Dykes plans on installing
"He loves to be on the 4-3 and 3-4. They both have their strengths. He said he was going to interview a few defensive coordinators the next few days and really find the best one, most likely the one that is going to fit the players on the team. But the players on this team, we're all great players and we're pretty adjustable. Last year we ran a lot of different things. We ran every coverage last year. We were pretty adjustable in our formations, and no matter what formation, we'll roll with it."

On if guys are ready to get started with the new coach
"One hundred percent of the team, everybody is motivated to go out. Right after team meeting, everyone was up muscle pumping in the weight room. Half the team is upstairs looking at Louisiana Tech's offense and their defense, getting a feel of his team last year. I know we did that a few days ago. We were on YouTube, watching Louisiana Tech vs. Texas A&M. We were just watching it with the offense. It's a light show. We have the tools, we just need to execute on both sides of the ball."


WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS HARPER

On if coach Dykes told the team how good he thinks they can be right now
"Yes, he said he thinks we could go to a championship and I'm extremely excited."

On being a part of an offensive system now that has produced current NFL wide receivers
"I'm in a very fortunate position right now with the offense that we're running, and the way he controls the offense and the way he is trying to go with this."

On if he sees himself filling the possession type of receiver role in this type of offense
"I see myself playing slot and outside. Wherever he sees me fitting in his offense."

On how the team feels after coach Dykes met with them today

"Everyone was anticipating meeting him, and excited to know all the information of what offense and defense we're running. Coach Tedford will be missed, it's not like we are happy that he's gone. I think people did think we needed some change, but coach Tedford will be missed by a lot of our players."

On how much film he's watched on Louisiana Tech the past couple years

"I've watched a few games this year, but they really weren't on TV that much, so I didn't really get a chance to watch. But I've watched one or two games, and I saw how their offense works and how they like to pass the ball a lot. I like that."

On what it was like not knowing who your coach was going to be the past couple weeks

"I think everybody's just had the same mindset that we're going to work hard until we have a new coach here, and when he gets here, we're going to work even harder. We've been building more of a team the last couple of weeks just by ourselves and I feel like we have a good thing going."

On how much the coaching change brought the players closer together
"I think everyone took a deep look into what happened last year, and we just think that we need to be more a team, more disciplined. When coach [Dykes] said that athletics and academics are a great correlation of how a football team is, I agree with that because the discipline part is a huge part of a team. I feel like with him saying that it gives me comfort."

On how excited he is to fill the void left by Keenan Allen with a group of young receivers
"I'm excited. My goal is to be better than him. He's like a big brother to me, and he always pushes me to be better, and I'm sure he probably hopes I will be. I'm just going to continue to work as hard as I can to become that guy."

On the overall team feeling today
"I think there are a lot of questions, a lot of different questions from different positions. What kind of offense we're going to run now that he has tight ends and fullbacks involved. But we'll see how it goes during practice and spring ball and all of that."

On the team's first impression of coach Dykes
"He comes across as a coach that wants to win, and that's what we all look forward to. Our team wants to win, and you can probably see that in the fight we put up this year, because even if we didn't win a lot, we were out there fighting. I feel like this year as we continue to fight and he wants to win, that combination will help us be a better team."

On if he feels like coach Dykes has what it takes to get the team contending for a Pac-12 title
"Yes I do. I have the sense that he wants to get us back on track and put Cal back in the glory days like we used to be."


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