Season Report Card: California Golden Bears
It's a good thing, because from start to finish, Cal struggled mightily en route to a 1-11 season overall, with the team's only win coming by a touchdown over a 6-6 FCS team in Portland State.
Only one loss on the season was decided by less than two touchdowns (a 33-28 November loss against Arizona), so it was quite the long first year for Dykes in Berkeley. But, again, everyone knew that Dykes would have a major challenge when he took over the position, and that certainly was the case during the 2013 season.
Cal had to play on the road against three of the top Pac-12 powers (Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA), and also added in an early-season meeting with Ohio State. Not exactly a forgiving schedule to begin with.
Let's grade Dykes' team on the 2013 campaign:
At first glance, you may be surprised at the fact that the Golden Bears put up over 450 yards per game on offense. But, you have to remember that they were constantly playing from behind, and despite racking up a decent amount of total yardage, they couldn't find ways to turn that into points. While the rushing game never had a chance to get going, freshman quarterback Jared Goff was able to give Cal a Top-10 passing attack (in terms of yardage) in Dykes' Air Raid offense. This team could've added more to the scoreboard if not for 28 turnovers on the year.
Handing out failing grades is not something we do on a consistent basis around here, but Cal simply couldn't stop anyone. The Golden Bears finished second to last in the nation in total defense, giving up a whopping 530 yards per game and nearly 46 points to go along with that. That....is not good. The passing defense was the worst in the country considering that opposing offenses threw for 32 touchdowns, and Cal was only able to force five interceptions all year long. That's not a formula for success.
Normally the coach is seen as the problem when things to this bad. However, the situation Dykes was walking into was not one that was going to produce winning right away. This season gave he and his staff an opportunity to address the biggest weaknesses on this team, and then move forward in trying to rebuild this program back to where it was several years ago.
This season was long and trying for both the players and coaches, but it was to be expected. Cal has an uphill climb if it wants to be relevant again in the Pac-12, and offensively, the team has a bright future with Goff running Dykes' offense. If the school gives Dykes the time to fully implement his system with the proper players in place, they can be a bowl team once again.
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