Redskins

Sonny Dykes takes over as Cal's new coach

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Sonny Dykes takes over as Cal's new coach

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) At the urging of athletic director Sandy Barbour, Sonny Dykes pulled out a white California cap from underneath the lectern and popped it on his head to accent his blue-and-gold tie and dark suit, drawing cheers from department staff who filled the Memorial Stadium room.

On his first day as Cal's coach, Dykes definitely looked the part. The Golden Bears just hope he can garner the same reaction on game days.

Cal formally introduced Dykes as its football coach Thursday, replacing the fired Jeff Tedford after three years at Louisiana Tech. Dykes takes over a proud program with a refurbished stadium and training facilities, but also one that has failed to make a bowl in two of the past three seasons and has the lowest graduation rate (48 percent) in the Pac-12 Conference.

``We will turn it around,'' Dykes said. ``It's going to be a long, arduous process. How many years is it going to take? I don't know. Is it going to be next year? I don't know. What's the future hold? I can't answer that question. But I do know that's what's going to drive us every day. Every single day we get in our car and come to work, our goal is going to be to get to the Rose Bowl.''

The decision to hire Dykes was easily the biggest one Barbour has made in her eight-year tenure.

Barbour said she interviewed between six and 12 candidates. She said the school and Dykes have agreed to a ``term sheet,'' but she will not release the contract details until it's officially signed by all parties, which Barbour expects to happen in the coming days.

Dykes also had been vetted by a search committee, and Vice Chancellor John Wilton said Dykes was the school's ``first choice.'' Barbour and Wilton met with Dykes in New York on Monday in the final stage of the interview process.

``When he walked out of the room I said to myself, `I think that's the guy,''' Barbour said.

More than anything, Barbour and the search committee cited Dykes' discipline and offensive ingenuity - which has sorely lacked in Berkeley in recent seasons.

The 43-year-old Dykes had a 22-15 record with the Bulldogs, improving their victory total each year. The Bulldogs averaged 35.9 points and 452.5 yards per game in his tenure.

He takes over a Cal team that went 3-9 this past season and went 34-37 in Tedford's final 5 1/2 years, leading to his dismissal. Dykes inherits a roster that has some talent, most notably heralded quarterback recruit Zach Kline, who did not play as a freshman but is in line to win the starting job next season.

The new coach also will benefit from a facilities upgrade that Tedford helped engineer. Cal opened its remodeled $321 million stadium this past season that is adjacent to a $150 million on-campus High Performance Center.

``There were a lot of good jobs that were open this year,'' said Dykes, adding that he interviewed for a ``couple'' others but declined to name specific vacancies. ``This was the one I was interested in from day one.''

Dykes, the son of former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, is known as an offensive mastermind who runs a spread system that he honed as coordinator under Mike Leach at Texas Tech. He later spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at Arizona under Mike Stoops before becoming head coach at Louisiana Tech ahead of the 2010 season. He also coached two years as an assistant at Kentucky.

Dykes coached one of the nation's most prolific offenses at Louisiana Tech this year with the Bulldogs leading the nation with 51.5 points per contest and ranking second with 577.9 yards per game. On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs ranked last in the country in yards allowed (526.1) and 116th in points (38.5) per game.

Dykes said defensive coordinator will be ``the most important hire I will make.'' He said he has four to five coaches in mind for the opening.

He plans to meet with Tedford's remaining assistants before deciding on any changes. Dykes said he hopes to fill out his a staff by Christmas with ``old people, young people, optimistic people, pessimistic people.''

``Old grouchy guys and young optimistic guys have a chance to work very well together,'' he said.

Dykes plans to stick around the Bay Area and start recruiting immediately, which he admitted the Bears are ``behind on'' as is usually the case during a coaching change. He held a brief morning meeting with players, who introduced themselves to him one at a time.

``It's pretty much back to basics,'' sophomore defensive back Avery Sebastian said.

Cal still owes Tedford $6.9 million over the final three years of his deal. Wilton, the school's vice chancellor, said the sides are still working on a settlement.

Once Dykes' deal is finalized, he hopes to concentrate on what he does best: coach. He said the past two days have been a whirlwind for him and his wife, Kate, and their two young daughters, Alta (nicknamed Ally) and Charlotte (who they call Charlie).

``But I'll look back,'' he said, ``and say that was the best 48 hours of my life.''

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Two days after losing Reuben Foster for the year, the Redskins made a move to at least provide reinforcements to a weakened linebacker group.

On Wednesday, Washington announced that they have signed Jon Bostic, a six-year veteran. The 'Skins also officially placed Foster on injured reserve.

Bostic was a 2013 second-round pick of the Bears out of Florida. He's since bounced around to New England, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, where he started 14 times for the Steelers in 2018 and posted 73 tackles. He's been traded twice in his career and missed all of 2016 with a foot injury. 

So, what does the move accomplish for the Redskins?

Well, Bostic — or any other free agent signing at this point — isn't going to have close to the level of talent and potential that Foster had. However, getting another option at linebacker was necessary for the Burgundy and Gold, and the 28-year-old has played in 30 contests over the past two years, so he's relatively established. 

Yes, he's far from a gamechanger, considering he has just one interception and 5.5 sacks as a pro. But he's regarded as a solid run defender and tackler and should at least push Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton. His presence also could alleviate some of the pressure that would've been on rookie Cole Holcomb. 

Signing a defender who's been with five franchises in six years isn't exactly inspiring, but Bostic has experience as a starter and could give the Redskins useful snaps on first and second down at a minimum. Now it's on him to take advantage of the opportunity he's been given.

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Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

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NBC Sports Washington

Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

You may not know the exact dates of the Redskins' two matchups with the Giants this season, which will take place Sep. 29 and Dec. 22 in 2019. But Landon Collins sure does.

"I'm gonna circle it for the next six years," the 'Skins new safety told ESPN in a recent interview. 

No, Collins isn't circling those dates from now until 2024 because he wants to be very organized and ensure he doesn't have any scheduling conflicts. He's doing it because he's dying to get revenge on his former team, who let him leave as a free agent in part because of their "culture change," according to him.

"All we wanted to do was win, and we spoke up because we had to get them to listen to us," Collins told ESPN, referring to himself and other now ex-Giants like Odell Beckham and Damon Harrison. "I think we were too vocal, and that platform was bigger than the Giants... If it's not good media, they don't want that kind of media."

In addition to the organization wanting to go in a different direction culture-wise, New York didn't want to pay the amount of money the Redskins ended up paying for Collins because he wasn't an ideal fit in their defense. The 25-year-old pushes back against the idea that he's strictly a "box safety," though, as do current and former players.

Interestingly enough, Collins isn't the only member of the Redskins' secondary who's in D.C. thanks to a decision by Dave Gettleman. Gettleman was also the same guy who decided the Panthers needed to move on from Josh Norman in April 2016.

Collins, for one, doesn't sound like he'll miss Gettleman at all. The defender didn't love how the GM consistently failed to make an effort to connect personally with his players. 

"I don't know him, he don't know me, that's kind of how it just kind of was," he explained.

All that, however, doesn't matter anymore. Collins is going to be the foundation of the Redskins' defense for quite some time, and that's a challenge he's ready to accept.

"I'm on a team that loves me and wanted me here," he said.

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