CULVER CITY, Calif. – A busy but enjoyable four days of activities in connection with the 2013 edition of Pac-12 Football Media Day came to a conclusion Friday when over 400 media members converged on Sony Picture Studios to conduct interviews with head coaches and players from each of the conference’s 12 teams.
The four days of activities for the head coaches including first-year Cal head coach Sonny Dykes started with a cross-country flight to the East Coast on Tuesday for interviews over the next day and a half with ESPN and key members of the national media based on the East Coast.
Then it was another cross-country flight back to the Los Angeles area late Thursday, where the coaches joined the players who had arrived early in the day in preparation for Friday’s signature event.
There there was a definite buzz in the air at Sony Pictures Studios when the buses carrying the league’s players and coaches arrived at 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning to take photos with the National Championship, Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl trophies.
Pac-12 Networks reporter Ashley Adamson caught Dykes for the first of his many interviews just after his arrival, capping the session by asking Dykes how many questions he thought he would answer that day.
“It will definitely be in the hundreds,” Dykes said with a smile on his face before adding as his smile grew “I’ll answer several hundreds of questions about our quarterback I imagine.”
Dykes might have underestimated both totals but kept the same smile throughout the rest of the day as he posed for photos and conducted interviews continuously for the next six-plus hours with entities such as Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, ESPN, FOX, and NFL Network among others.
He chuckled at one question in particular that he wasn’t quite prepared for.
“Somebody asked me what my favorite Halloween costume was,” Dykes said. “I thought that was kind of an interesting question. It’s something I hadn’t thought about in a while.”
Most of the other questions were a little more on topic.
Cal was the second team to hit the Main Stage at about 9:45 a.m. as Dykes made opening comments and then took questions along with junior linebacker Nick Forbes and sophomore wide receiver Bryce Treggs (read full transcript) during the 15-minute session.
“I’m excited to be here and a part of the Pac-12,” Dykes said to begin his opening remarks. “I think [Pac-12 Commissioner] Larry [Scott] has done a great job with the conference and bringing it to the forefront in college football.”
“I think people are recognizing the level of football being played in this conference, and [I’m] just excited to be a part of it,” Dykes said later in his opening remarks. “Obviously there is a lot of tradition. An opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl, that’s something that’s pretty special. I’m excited to be a part of Cal. It’s a special institution. I get to be around young people like these two guys every day as a result of the kind of player that Cal attracts and we are blessed to be here.”
After their Main Stage interview, Dykes, Forbes and Treggs ventured out to do multiple interviews for the remainder of the day.
Dykes stayed busy by fulfilling as much as he could on a long list of requests while adding a few others along the way as he ran into media members in his way between interviews. His lone “break” was a 30-minute session during lunch mostly with local beat writers before going back on the media interview circuit.
But he was more than happy to do it.
“I’m excited to talk about our team,” Dykes said during an interview near the end of the day. “That’s part of being a head football coach, selling your brand and wanting to talk about your university, your players and what you’re trying to get accomplished. It’s a very important part of the job. It’s been a long but good four days.”
So long that he was still happily accommodating a Tucson-area TV station for an interview at 2:58 p.m. with his bus scheduled to head back to LAX at 3 p.m.
So good because he made the bus and his flight, and by Saturday morning was back on campus preparing for the team’s upcoming training camp that begins when players report August 4 with the first practice the following day.
Dykes said the recent media sessions only added to the excitement around the upcoming season.
“There’s a big emphasis on this league, people pay attention to it,” Dykes said. “It’s what you want. As a player you would work hard to play at this level and as a coach you work your whole life to have a chance to coach at a school like Cal that’s in a great conference that people care about it.”
“It gets you around the other coaches, which gets your competitive juices flowing a little bit,” Dykes added about the recent media day activities. “You see the players from some of the other teams and it does the same thing. This is a great time of the year. Everybody feels good about their team. We’re excited about getting going.”
The Bears will do just that when they host the first of seven games at Memorial Stadium in 2013 against Northwestern (Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2). Cal will continue a three-game homestand to open the season against Portland State (Sept. 7, 2 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks) and Ohio State (Sept. 14, 4 p.m. PT, FOX). The Bears will also play Pac-12 home games against Washington State on Homecoming Weekend (Oct. 5), Oregon State (Oct. 19), Arizona (Nov. 2) and USC (Nov. 9).
Cal’s road games in 2013 are at Oregon (Sept. 28), UCLA (Oct. 12), Washington (Oct. 26), Colorado (Nov. 16) and Stanford (Nov. 23). The Oregon contest will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
All other television coverage and remaining kick times will be announced at later dates.
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For 2013 ticket information, visit CalBears.com or call (800) GO-BEARS.