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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Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

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USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.