Why was our D so bad with Dykes?

PTBear
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With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.

Did Dykes just never spend time in practice on defense? No practice on basic fundamentals like tackling, or how to guard a guy and not commit PI? It coudn't have just been recruiting. Most of the players that we have starting on D right now were recruited by Dykes right?

Also, for those who are arguing that a coach can only coach one side, I think our staff is doing an adequate (average?) job on offense, which is obviously a big drop off from our success with Goff and Webb as our QBs.
I know a lot of people on this board aren't happy with Baldwin's offense, but I think it has the potential to significantly improve, especially as Garbers (and McIlwain) continue to make their expected improvements with experience.

I'm hoping we'll have the best of both worlds by the end of the season. The top D in the pac12, and a consistent, better than average offense, and that's with a redshirt freshman as our main qb.
calbear80
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Coaching.... or more accurately, lack thereof!

Go Bears!
RJABear
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Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
Big C
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PTBear said:

With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.

Did Dykes just never spend time in practice on defense? No practice on basic fundamentals like tackling, or how to guard a guy and not commit PI? It coudn't have just been recruiting. Most of the players that we have starting on D right now were recruited by Dykes right?

Also, for those who are arguing that a coach can only coach one side, I think our staff is doing an adequate (average?) job on offense, which is obviously a big drop off from our success with Goff and Webb as our QBs.
I know a lot of people on this board aren't happy with Baldwin's offense, but I think it has the potential to significantly improve, especially as Garbers (and McIlwain) continue to make their expected improvements with experience.

I'm hoping we'll have the best of both worlds by the end of the season. The top D in the pac12, and a consistent, better than average offense, and that's with a redshirt freshman as our main qb.
It was a combination of ALL OF THOSE THINGS, with Dykes. (He also had an inordinate number of injuries, but, hey, that's part of the game.)

Eventually, as everything snowballs, it's hard to attract good defensive staff or recruit good defensive players. (Wilcox is getting a little taste of that right now, as he tries to attract top skill-position players on offense. His next OC hire is going to be really important.)
SFCityBear
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Because we didn't have Wilcox.
Another Bear
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My take:

Dykes didn't foster enough ties to defensive coaches to call one up when it was time...or he didn't see the need. Conversely look at Wilcox, he had his staff lined up and ready despite short notice.

Even if Dykes didn't have the relationships to bring in a good defensive guy, it seems he really didn't care about defense or try new ways. Harbaugh famously found his first DC at furd by surfing the internet. I'm not saying that's the solution but if they're paying you that much, your career is on the line and you don't have it covered...then TRY SOMETHING, get creative. Don't rely on only what you know.

Then there was stacking the roster on the offensive side by Sonny, often to the detriment of the defense.

Mostly it seems Sonny Dykes LOVES offense and flinging the ball...and he's good at it...just not good enough to overcome zero defense. No one is questioning Dykes' offensive skills...just common sense that he didn't cover the defensive side of the game.
Cal89
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And it's likely not needed for many here, but SD brought that D with him form La Tech. They had the worst D in FBS in 2012. Then the four years here, we had, I believe, the worst D ever over such a span of time. Now at SMU, it seems to continue, allowing 44 PPG. Damn.

We got the chitty end of the stick as the league-leading offense never materialized at Cal.

Others have addressed the questions well, I feel. Foundationally, the basics were seemingly not emphasized enough. I also feel that our D practicing against that offense was of little help too...
Sig test...
PTBear
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RJABear said:

Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
I only had the opportunity to watch a couple.
So during these drills, were our defensive players not coached at all? If we had a lot of passing drills with dbs, you would think our dbs would have been better as they would have had so many opportunities to practice. Our dbs during that time showed some of the worst playmaking I've seen. Every deep pass was against us was either a long completion, or a PI

It's a welcome relief to watch our DBs now, who are in position, and turn their heads around at the right time
Big C
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PTBear said:

RJABear said:

Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
I only had the opportunity to watch a couple.
So during these drills, were our defensive players not coached at all? If we had a lot of passing drills with dbs, you would think our dbs would have been better as they would have had so many opportunities to practice. Our dbs during that time showed some of the worst playmaking I've seen. Every deep pass was against us was either a long completion, or a PI

It's a welcome relief to watch our DBs now, who are in position, and turn their heads around at the right time
You only watched a couple because, most of the time, you were busy giving physical therapy to all of the injured DBs.
GivemTheAxe
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PTBear said:

RJABear said:

Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
I only had the opportunity to watch a couple.
So during these drills, were our defensive players not coached at all? If we had a lot of passing drills with dbs, you would think our dbs would have been better as they would have had so many opportunities to practice. Our dbs during that time showed some of the worst playmaking I've seen. Every deep pass was against us was either a long completion, or a PI

It's a welcome relief to watch our DBs now, who are in position, and turn their heads around at the right time


It was encouraging watching Saturday's game. The DB coach (the guy with the full beard and headset- I don't remember if the announcers gave his name) was giving highly emotional coaching to the entire DB crew in between plays. He was really pumped up and his players were really paying attention.
That is what was missing under SD.
RJABear
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PTBear said:

RJABear said:

Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
I only had the opportunity to watch a couple.
So during these drills, were our defensive players not coached at all? If we had a lot of passing drills with dbs, you would think our dbs would have been better as they would have had so many opportunities to practice. Our dbs during that time showed some of the worst playmaking I've seen. Every deep pass was against us was either a long completion, or a PI

It's a welcome relief to watch our DBs now, who are in position, and turn their heads around at the right time
While the DBs got a lot of practice on each route, the practices I watched were not good game preparation. They ran the same corner route 20 times in a row. Franklin's philosophy was that if the Bears could perfect the route timing, it would be impossible to defend.

There was no recognition of the offensive alignment, no communication between defenders, and no need to read and react. It was the same WR route again and again until the QB/WR got it right.
PTBear
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Big C said:



You only watched a couple because, most of the time, you were busy giving physical therapy to all of the injured DBs.
Oh man..don't even get me started about the injuries with the Dykes teams...
While as a fan it's frustrating to have such vague information with the team now under Wilcox, I definitely appreciate the improvement in health in our team. Just another reason to love Wilcox as a head coach (and our SC coach Becton)

Troll On You Bears
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Big C said:

Eventually, as everything snowballs, it's hard to attract good defensive staff or recruit good defensive players. (Wilcox is getting a little taste of that right now, as he tries to attract top skill-position players on offense. His next OC hire is going to be really important.)


I'm no fan of Dykes, but I think we should acknowledge that a lot of the guys who are now starring on defense were recruited by Dykes' staff - Goode, Bynum, Weaver, Kunaszyk, Hicks, Funches, etc. It seems they just needed superior coaching to unlock their skills.
Big C
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PTBear said:

Big C said:



You only watched a couple because, most of the time, you were busy giving physical therapy to all of the injured DBs.
Oh man..don't even get me started about the injuries with the Dykes teams...
While as a fan it's frustrating to have such vague information with the team now under Wilcox, I definitely appreciate the improvement in health in our team. Just another reason to love Wilcox as a head coach (and our SC coach Becton)


Hate to bring back bad memories for you, but maybe sharing will help you process...

Any insight as to the absurd number of injuries 2013-2016 (especially DBs, it seemed)? S & C related?
calgo430
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my opinion poor dc's and poor recruiting.
Big C
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Troll On You Bears said:

Big C said:

Eventually, as everything snowballs, it's hard to attract good defensive staff or recruit good defensive players. (Wilcox is getting a little taste of that right now, as he tries to attract top skill-position players on offense. His next OC hire is going to be really important.)


I'm no fan of Dykes, but I think we should acknowledge that a lot of the guys who are now starring on defense were recruited by Dykes' staff - Goode, Bynum, Weaver, Kunaszyk, Hicks, Funches, etc. It seems they just needed superior coaching to unlock their skills.
No doubt the defensive coaching is superior now (duh), but those guys weren't going to be stiffs this year, even if Dykes were still here, The biggest factor in their development has been experience and conditioning.
JimSox
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Big C said:


Any insight as to the absurd number of injuries 2013-2016 (especially DBs, it seemed)?
There were an astounding number of injuries. I remember walk-on wide receivers pressed into duty as starting defensive backs. Not only that, but the hurry-up offense meant that Cal either went a quick three and out or scored a touchdown in no time flat. The defense was on the field all the time, and with all the injuries, opponents went through the D like a hot knife through warm butter.
HighlandDutch
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PTBear said:


It's a welcome relief to watch our DBs now, who are in position, and turn their heads around at the right time
I've waited so long to see this...a welcome relief indeed!
Another Bear
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+1 ...on DBs being coached properly and turning around for the ball. I recall almost every deep play against a Dykes defense the DBs were clueless and not prepped and you'd hear ten guys in the stands scream TURN AROUND.
PTBear
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Big C said:

PTBear said:

Big C said:



You only watched a couple because, most of the time, you were busy giving physical therapy to all of the injured DBs.
Oh man..don't even get me started about the injuries with the Dykes teams...
While as a fan it's frustrating to have such vague information with the team now under Wilcox, I definitely appreciate the improvement in health in our team. Just another reason to love Wilcox as a head coach (and our SC coach Becton)


Hate to bring back bad memories for you, but maybe sharing will help you process...

Any insight as to the absurd number of injuries 2013-2016 (especially DBs, it seemed)? S & C related?
There are a number of factors that went into this, only some of it S&C related.
From memory (so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):
We played younger guys who were less physically mature
Motivation - my guess is that people aren't having a good time, and the team isn't doing as well, player motivation has to be a little less and so people may not want to come back onto the field as much.
With poorer coaching, players are thinking too much and not reacting as quickly, they're also more likely to get hurt (kind of the opposite effect for experienced players who say the game "slows down" for them)

S&C focus seemed to be more about cardiovascular conditioning (at least that's what I got form listening to the one time I heard Harrington speak). Mix in traditional weight exercises, there's less crossover to durability on the field (unfortunately there aren't good scientific studies that I'm aware of to show this, but it's kind of a common sense thing - like doing more multi-joint and multiplanar exercises will help on the field more than doing only leg press exercises)
Also related to S&C, I know with other sports we also tend to get some injuries from bad form with exercises. From the information I've gathered from here, I don't think we've seen that to be the case with this team.


Luck always plays a role too, but if you're bigger and more skilled, you also tend to be luckier avoiding injury.
oskirules
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Practices, there was something missing....maybe it was tackling.
staygolden2001
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The one thing that stood out last year was how much better they were at tackling. They are much more physical and they swarm to the ball. That has to be the coaching and how they practice.
hanky1
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Our practices were geared for Sonny's offensive system. The D had to practice under those circumstances which I think just did not allow them to be prepared when gametime rolled around.
SoFlaBear
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I agree with most of the coaching and bad technique critiques. I'd add that when your offense is as pass-dependent as the Bear Raid was, drives (even scoring drives) tend to be short and the defense tends to wear out unless the other team plays the same game.
NYCGOBEARS
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I can't... just can't. I have PTSD from Sonny's D's
calumnus
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We had a really bad defense in Tedford's last year, we were very thin at DB and then the guys we had graduated. Some of our best Defensive players left due to academics or otherwise (including dismissed).. Then injuries hit, in Sonny's first year we were playing freshmen walkons at CB, and our opponents knew it and targeted them. Repeatedly. We played a 3-4 and some of our safeties and LBs were undrersizeda recipe for even more injuries.

We had tons of WRs and RBs, a good HC would have switched some to D. I think Sonny switched 1 walk-on WR? It needed to be top athletes. We had an OL "bust" in Tagaloa who could have been moved to D where I think he would have been better suited. Instead he transferred to Arizona....

D coaching, I'll let others speak to.

I do not think the speed of play made the D worse per se, but it did no favors for a bad D, giving them more opportunities to be scored upon.

Sonny finally started emphasizing D in recruiting, but it was too late. However, those guys form the core of our defense today, undoubted helped by better coaching.

I am a little concerned when I see all the numbers we are recruiting at LB that Wilcox does not make the same mistake but with respect to the offense. Our top RBs are walkons and upper class men. I'd like to see some top WR and RB recruits.


GoldBear98
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It also had a great deal to do with his offense since he loved to put up points. With a quick strike offense, the defense is on the field too much and it wears down. Dykes also didn't know how to milk the clock to his advantage when he had a lead. Remember the debacle in Arizona?
Yogi Bear
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PTBear said:

With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.
Because Sonny Dykes was a bad head coach.

There is no need to try to find the reasons beyond that.
Bear19
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PTBear said:

With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.
He was simply an incompetent HC. And spent a good deal of his time & effort trying to get back to Texas. The real question is why was he ever hired in the first place?
GivemTheAxe
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PTBear said:

Big C said:

PTBear said:

Big C said:



You only watched a couple because, most of the time, you were busy giving physical therapy to all of the injured DBs.
Oh man..don't even get me started about the injuries with the Dykes teams...
While as a fan it's frustrating to have such vague information with the team now under Wilcox, I definitely appreciate the improvement in health in our team. Just another reason to love Wilcox as a head coach (and our SC coach Becton)


Hate to bring back bad memories for you, but maybe sharing will help you process...

Any insight as to the absurd number of injuries 2013-2016 (especially DBs, it seemed)? S & C related?
There are a number of factors that went into this, only some of it S&C related.
From memory (so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):
We played younger guys who were less physically mature
Motivation - my guess is that people aren't having a good time, and the team isn't doing as well, player motivation has to be a little less and so people may not want to come back onto the field as much.
With poorer coaching, players are thinking too much and not reacting as quickly, they're also more likely to get hurt (kind of the opposite effect for experienced players who say the game "slows down" for them)

S&C focus seemed to be more about cardiovascular conditioning (at least that's what I got form listening to the one time I heard Harrington speak). Mix in traditional weight exercises, there's less crossover to durability on the field (unfortunately there aren't good scientific studies that I'm aware of to show this, but it's kind of a common sense thing - like doing more multi-joint and multiplanar exercises will help on the field more than doing only leg press exercises)
Also related to S&C, I know with other sports we also tend to get some injuries from bad form with exercises. From the information I've gathered from here, I don't think we've seen that to be the case with this team.


Luck always plays a role too, but if you're bigger and more skilled, you also tend to be luckier avoiding injury.


The answer is "all of the above". PLUS the fact that the up-tempo style of play resulted in the Cal D being on the field 120% to 150% longer than the other team over the season. This resulted in greater exhaustion and greater injuries.
Alkiadt
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Yogi Bear said:

PTBear said:

With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.
Because Sonny Dykes was a bad head coach.

There is no need to try to find the reasons beyond that.
And you are correct there.

As for why Cal is better now on defense, Wilcox's staff includes three current or former Defensive Coordinators.
It's an emphasis. Dykes made defense an afterthought.
Another Bear
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Bear19 said:

PTBear said:

With how much our D has improved in the last two years, I'm curious why Dykes teams were so bad.
He was simply an incompetent HC. And spent a good deal of his time & effort trying to get back to Texas. The real question is why was he ever hired in the first place?
Sonny addressed and fixed the academic issues. He deserves credit for that but not his football acumen. I think he was partly hired to fix that and he did. On the football side, he shouldn't been hired but that's who was available.
LunchTime
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RJABear said:

Did you ever watch practice ? I saw a few. Under Dykes, the focus was on hundreds of repetitions of passing drills. The practices I saw looked like 7on7 games.

I did not see a tackling form drill, man-vs-man, nor short yardage runs and the first string defense. I saw very few o-line vs front 7 on D.

I saw hundreds of QB/WR vs LB/DB with fades to the corner, outs, crossing patterns, etc. Great timing between QBs and WRs.
This sounds about right.

Dykes just didnt care about D. Contrast that with a Chip kind of coach, known for Offense: he always had strong, sound, well conditioned Defenses. Or PC at USC who always had strong, sound offenses to go with his defensive side.

Dykes is relatively unique in the way he completely ignored defense. With historical repercussions. It amazes me that he didnt learn. Reminds me of the hubris that Stoops brought to Arizona thinking he could win because the Pac12 just doesnt play Defense, and he would win just knowing how to play D.
Bear19
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Another Bear said:

. On the football side, he shouldn't been hired but that's who was available.
Wilcox was available & wanted the job. And there were plenty of other coaches, had Barbour done her job right.
Cal89
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Bear19 said:

Another Bear said:

. On the football side, he shouldn't been hired but that's who was available.
Wilcox was available & wanted the job. And there were plenty of other coaches, had Barbour done her job right.
Agreed there. And, there was nothing on SD's resume to make one think he was qualified or experienced to address the academic situation. He simply focused on it as that was a job requirement that Cal impressed upon him.

Heck, if anything, on paper, HC Mike MacIntyre was an appealing candidate given the academic issues he needed to successfully navigate at SJSU. He played ball at Vandy and GA Tech, quite reputable academic institutions. And, he was the DC at Duke before coming to SJSU... If Cal was so hell-bent on our academic situation at the time, HC MM had a much more compelling resume.

We got SD for one reason only - La Tech's 2012 season. That's it - an FBS best 52 PPG. His Cal offenses over four years didn't come close to being such a juggernaut. Even within our conference we weren't the best offense. We averaged about 3rd to 4th best in Pac-12 scoring, and were often very inefficient in doing so. What did translate from La Tech to Cal was the worst D in the nation...

SD had top-of-the-conference talent at La Tech; and that's likely why he did pretty well there. Coach Mike MacIntyre's SJSU team beat them, a team comprised of lesser recruiting classes as compared to La Tech. Coach Mike MacIntyre also has several years of NFL experience. He would have come to Cal for the same compensation paid SD, maybe even less (HC MM was paid the same at CU).

We had options for sure, but went after the sexy hire. SJSU's 2012 season revealed a well-rounded team, top 20-30 in various metrics, offense AND defense.

This is not to say that I'd want HC MM at Cal, before and certainly not now with JW at the helm. He was the better choice in 2012 compared to SD though...

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