Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun talk Dec. 29 Armed Forces Bowl match-up

Sonny Dykes and Troy Calhoun talk about the upcoming match-up in Fort Worth, Cal's quarterback Jared Goff, returning to Texas and more.

California Coach Sonny Dykes

On Playing in the Armed Forces Bowl - “First of all, I want to say thanks to Lockheed Martin. We’re excited to be here in Fort Worth. Really excited about the opportunity to play in the Armed Forces Bowl. Excited about the opportunity to represent our Armed Forces and educate our players a little bit about the sacrifices that they make. I think our players will have a great time and learn a lot about it. I know our guys are excited. It’s the first time we’ve been in a bowl game for awhile. Our guys are excited about the chance to compete and get our eighth win, which would be pretty substantial for our program as we continue to build.”
 
On Playing in His Home State of Texas - “It is great to be home. Texas is my home. I was born and raised here. It means a lot to me. My wife is from Wichita Falls, so we’re going to have a lot of friends and family that will be here for the football game. It should be a great ballgame and we are excited and honored to be a part of it.”
 
“I’m sure my dad (Spike Dykes) will make an appearance at some point, probably an uninvited appearance. He’s excited to come up. This will be a big homecoming for us.
 
On Playing Air Force - “Air Force certainly has a very good football team. We know we’re going to have our hands full. Troy (Calhoun) does a great job coaching. They play incredibly hard. They’re going to be very well coached.”
 
“We certainly haven’t seen anything like this in a long time. They do a tremendous job running their offense. They execute at a high level. The biggest compliment you can give a football team is two things really--that they play incredibly hard and they execute at a very high level. Their guys know how to play. They’re very precise in what they do. Really good football teams have an identity. And this team definitely has an identity.” 
 
On the Payoff of Playing in a Bowl - “I think it’s really significant. They’ve played in a lot of bowl games at Air Force, I believe eight of the last nine years. That’s a very, very consistent program and that’s where we want to go. That’s where we’d like to be that year in and year out you’re going to bowl games. We’re still a young football team. Just this experience, the opportunity for our team to spend a significant time on the road together and bond, those are things that really contribute to having sustained success. It’s a big step for us. We’ve just got to keep building.”
 
On Cal Quarterback Jared Goff - “He’s a unique player. I’ve been really fortunate to work with a lot of good quarterbacks and Jared is certainly if not the best, one of the best. I think it all starts with his preparation and the work that he does on a day-to-day basis. He’s getting to live his dream and play for the Golden Bears. He had to play as a true freshman and we were not very good as a team. He gained some invaluable experience that first year and really grew up and got tough mentally. I think if you’re going to be successful as a college quarterback or at the next level, you’ve got to be mentally tough. He’s a guy physically that can do everything you want him to do. He can make all the throws. He’s a good athlete. He runs around pretty well and he’s the best quarterback in the pocket that I’ve ever seen. The rush never bothers him. It’s been fun to work with him. He’s gotten better every year. I still think his best football’s in front of him.”
 
On the Pac-12 Conference - “Certainly the Pac-12, if it’s not the best conference in the country, it’s certainly up there in the discussion. What makes the league special is the depth. Week-in, week-out you better play well. That’s the thing that stands out. It’s a test for our players and a test for our coaches, but it’s a test we really enjoy. That makes you better.”
 

Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun 

On Returning to the Armed Forces Bowl - “First of all, we’re quite, quite fortunate to be a part of such a fantastic bowl, and to do so again, and again and again. Any time you have a chance to play in a bowl game we know it’s a heck of an accomplishment at the Air Force Academy. We’re just really, really pumped up to be here and play against an excellent football team.”
 
On Playing California - “I don’t know why, just ironically there were times we’d come home and watch a game or two, and I watched these guys about seven or eight times. And I thought golly they are good. And then when the announcement came and somebody said you’re going to play Cal, that was sobering. And yet, we mean that in a most respectful way. Sonny (Dykes) does a phenomenal job. Him and his coaches, everywhere they’ve been, they’re winners. They do it with ton of class. Their guys play hard. Hopefully we have a chance to play a heck of a football game.”
 
On Cal Quarterback Jared Goff - “Remarkable player. Tremendous arm. Accurate passer. A guy that gets it down the field. A guy that’s got great, great feel in the pocket. He makes in-rhythm throws, yet at the same time it’s the things that he does that drives you absolutely nuts that are out of design and create a little more space and bigger plays. They’re fantastic on offense. Excellent player. Tremendous offense. Excellent football team.”

On Recruiting in Texas - “Quite honestly, a real concern is when TCU left our league. We lost a footprint, a direct connection to the state of Texas. We’d love for there to be another school in our league to be from this state. There’s just no better high school football. Exceptionally well coached. Kids are passionate. They know what it means to make a commitment. And a strong link for us is it’s a very patriotic state.”
On the Tough Mountain West - “Week in and week out, you are going to get tested. At some point is there an overwhelming factor, perhaps. At the same time, I think that’s what hardens you. We enjoy getting ready to play against good football.”

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