Dykes breaks down the Wildcats

California head coach Sonny Dykes met with the media on Tuesday to discuss facing Arizona on Saturday. Read on for his thoughts on Arizona's offense, returning to Tucson, and more.

Sonny Dykes and the California Golden Bears are preparing to play Arizona on Saturday and Dykes believes he has a pretty good idea of what they are in store for.

“I thought Nevada has a good football team, those guys really play hard and have a good quarterback,” Dykes said. “It was a good hard fought tough ball game. It didn't really change my impression much of Arizona.

“They’re a team that plays really hard, well coached. They do some things offensively that gives you problems. They know what they are doing defensively. I didn't really see anything that to me was different than I expected.

“They are a team that makes a lot of big plays and I think it will be important for us to limit their big plays. No one has really been able to do that if you look at their first three ball games they have had a lot of big plays and score points in bunches.”

In order for Cal to win, Dykes believes that the Golden Bears must be able to contain the run.

“We have to be able to stop the run,” Dykes said. “Any time you play Arizona or a Rich Rodriguez team you always have to stop the run. That will be the most important thing we do this week.

Nick Wilson is typical of their running backs. He runs with his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, he is a good down hill runner, physical, runs hard, does a good job after contact. All their runners going back to Ka’Deem Carey last year, he wasn't real flashy, Kadeem just made four yards every play.

“As a running back that’s probably the most valuable commodity you have is making four yards. You make four yards, just do the math. Nick’s also got an ability to make some big plays. he’s a good running back.

“Those guys coach him well. They do a good job of knowing where to run and making the right decision. Their guys do that over and over again. I think he is a very good player, but it speaks to their offense as much as it does the individual.”

Wilson obviously is not the only player on offense, as Anu Solomon may be the most vital to its success.

“I think any time you are playing a young quarterback you don't want to let him get too comfortable,” Dykes said. “You want to try to pressure him a little bit and force him into making some bad decisions. I think that is true of all young quarterbacks.

“The thing I have been impressed about with him in particular has been his maturity. To me, he doesn't look like he gets rattled. He makes a mistake and he moves on and comes to play and doesn't seem to let it bother him.

“If you watch the games on television, I have been really impressed with how he handles himself. That’s what you want to see young quarterbacks do and that’s why I think he has the makings of being a very good quarterback.”

Dykes not not believe that the fact Cal is coming off a bye and the Wildcats have had difficult games will play a major role on Saturday.

“I think in some ways any advantage you may gain from a scouting standpoint they gain from having to grind out some games,” he said. “I think in some ways that often equals itself out. I would imagine Rich Rodriguez shares the same philosophy that I do.

“You aren't ever going to hold anything back. You game plan, you run your stuff, it doesn't matter who you are playing and what the score is. I think we saw exactly what we would have seen if all the games were like UNLV and blowouts.”

Although much of the focus will be on Arizona’s offense, the defense is a bit misleading to the Cal head coach.

“They are actually good athletes, good players,” Dykes said. “I think people have tried to run against them and have not had a lot of success doing it, so they have resorted to throwing the football.

“I don't know if you can gain that much by looking at the statistics. I think they are a better pass defense than the statistics shows. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people have behind in games and they have tried to match Arizona’s scoring, so as a result people are throwing the ball against them probably more than they wanted to.”

In addition, this is a game in which Dykes returns to the place that helped propel his career.

“I really liked being in Tucson, loved working at the University,” he said. “I felt it was a great home atmosphere and always felt like it was one of the best atmospheres to play in the Pac-12. I enjoyed living in Tucson.

“Ali, our oldest daughter, was born there and got a lot of fond memories. it was to be part of kind of getting the program turned around. It’s always fun going to a place and they’re not very good and you’re fortunate enough to be there when they kind of get going.”


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