Back in May, wide receiver coach Pierre Ingram‘s arrest on a charge of solicitation of a lewd act and subsequent dismissal led to a vacancy on Cal’s coaching staff. With the start of summer camp growing larger on the horizon, Sonny Dykes has filled the hole — with, oddly enough, someone from the other side of the ball.
In a press release, Cal announced that John Lovett has been hired and will serve as the cornerbacks coach on Dykes’ staff. Lovett spent the past two seasons as a defensive backs coach with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, while he spent the year prior to that coaching the same position at Texas Tech.
In 2009 and 2010, Lovett was the defensive coordinator at Miami (Fla.). He was the special teams coordinator at North Carolina the two years prior to that, as well as Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 1999-2001 and holding the same title at Clemson from 2002-04.
In a coaching career that began back in the mid-seventies, the school writes in its release, “Lovett is a veteran college and NFL coach with nearly four decades of experience that include 18 seasons as a collegiate defensive coordinator and 14 as a defensive backs coach at the collegiate and NFL levels.”
With Lovett’s hiring, five of the offensive-minded Dykes’ nine full-time assistants are defensive coaches. That appears to be a calculated decision on the coach’s part.
“We are thrilled to be able to add someone with John’s level of experience and expertise to our coaching staff,” Dykes said in a portion of his statement. “He is a proven coach who has had success at the highest level of football. His addition to our staff certainly makes us better as a unit. …
“By hiring John it allows us to put needed resources into our defensive coaching staff to work with a young group of players that we know need to continue to improve. I am especially excited to have a pair of highly-respected coaches like John and Greg working together with our defensive backs. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the improvements our defensive staff has already made in our defense and hiring John should help us speed up the process even more.”
In a five-win 2014 season, Cal finished No. 125 in passing yards allowed — 367.2 yards per game; pass-happy Washington State was No. 124 at 296.6 ypg — and, at 39.8, No. 120 in points allowed per game. On the NCAA’s official stat website, there are 125 teams listed for the 2014 season.
As for who will take over Ingram’s wide receiver duties? “Dykes will provide instruction for the team’s outside receivers, a position he coached for nine seasons (1999-2006) including his final two as a co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech,” the release explained.