BERKELEY, Calif. – Two keys assistants will follow head coach Sonny Dykes from Louisiana Tech to California, the school announced Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Rob Likens will hold the same positions with the Golden Bears.
Franklin, 55, and Dykes worked together at Kentucky in 1999 under Hal Mumme, then reconnected in 2010 at LA Tech after stints by Franklin at Troy, Auburn, and Middle Tennessee. Together they directed the nation’s top scoring offense this past season.
Dykes credited Franklin with introducing the added dimension of a fast-paced up-tempo to his spread offense, making it even more dangerous. Dykes refined his offensive philosophy under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, but while the Red Raiders did not use a huddle, they did not push the pace of the Air Raid spread offense outside of two-minute drills. Dykes did the same at Arizona, but upon arriving at LA Tech, the addition of Franklin dramatically increased the number of plays run per game.
LA Tech averaged 87.8 plays per game this past season, nearly 13 more snaps than in the first two years of the Dykes/Franklin partnership.
“We were a no-huddle team at Texas Tech, but didn’t necessarily play with a lot of tempo. It was kind of a slower pace of play, and what we’ve tried to do is take a lot of the same passing game, mix in more run game, and then mix in the tempo element to unsettle defenses,” Dykes said.
“The tempo is critical. That’s the thing, that we want to go as fast as we can.”
Likens, who also spent the last three seasons at LA Tech after spots at Central Connecticut State, Southeast Missouri State, Temple, and North Alabama, will assist with that education by working with the young Cal receivers.
His top pupil at LA Tech was junior college transfer Quinton Patton, who emerged as one of the nation’s most productive receivers. As a senior, Patton caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns, finishing his career with 181 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns in two seasons.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.