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Cal coach Dykes plans to open practices for fans

Cal coach Dykes plans to open practices for fans

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) California football fans won't have to wait until next year's season opener to get a good look at new coach Sonny Dykes' squad.

Dykes said Wednesday all his practices will open to fans and media, starting with the beginning of spring practice the final week in February.

``We don't have any secrets,'' Dykes said. ``The thing is, people can watch our film, they can rewind it, fast forward it, make cutups, all that stuff. I don't know why you wouldn't want someone to be able to come and watch.''

Dykes' predecessor, Jeff Tedford, opened a handful of practice to fans during spring ball and fall camp but kept them closed once the season started, except for a 30-minute window at the beginning for media.

Dykes said his wife and two young daughters will often come to practice and he hopes students and fans also show up to watch the team work.

``This is not my program, this is Cal's program,'' he said. ``They should be engaged and ought to be able to check it out. It's their program.''

Dykes also announced that Wisconsin linebackers coach Andy Buh has been hired as defensive coordinator. Buh will join the staff after coaching the Badgers in the Rose Bowl.

Buh the previous two seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Nevada and also was co-defensive coordinator during the final two years of his three-year at Stanford from 2007-09. Buh also spent two seasons at Cal from 2000-01 as a defensive administrative assistant.

Dykes called this perhaps his most important hiring because his own expertise is on the offensive side of the ball, meaning Buh will have great autonomy running the defense.

``He kind of fits my personality of what I'm looking for in a defensive coordinator,'' Dykes said. ``Somebody who is intense and positive. It's hard to find positive defensive guys. They are usually pessimistic guys.''

Dykes still needs to hire an offensive line coach and three more defensive assistants to round out his staff.

In other news, Dykes said the returning quarterbacks will begin spring ball on an even playing field with hopes that one will stand out above the others within two weeks so the coaches can give the starter more practice time.

Allan Bridgford, who started the final two games last season, and prized recruit Zach Kline, who sat out last season as a redshirt, are expected to be the top contenders.

Dykes said he would like to sign about 26 recruits from this year's class in addition to two junior college players. He expects five players to enroll in school early and participate in spring ball. Dykes said Cal has not lost any commitments yet since the coaching change.

Dykes said he has watched every run, pass or reception from every offensive player last season, as well as tape of the final four games of a 3-9 campaign. Some of his initial impressions are the offensive line is better than he expected, he plans to incorporate some of the returning tight ends in his offense after not using them much at Louisiana Tech and the defense is athletic.

``That's the thing as a head coach,'' he said. ``You hear things and some of them are right and some of them are wrong.''

Dykes also said he would like to see easier non-conference opponents in future years as long as the Pac-12 keeps playing nine conference games. Cal opens the 2013 season with home games against Northwestern, Portland State and Ohio State to go along with the regular conference schedule.

``The nine conference games makes it really important to schedule smart,'' he said. ``Most schools are playing a directional whatever and we're playing USC. I think that puts you at a competitive disadvantage in some ways as far as winning games and getting to bowl games. So that's tough. The Pac-12 has always prided itself on playing competitive out of conference games. Great for fans, good for athletic directors but not always great for coaches.''

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.