BERKELEY -- Acknowledging his debut season "wasn't much of a honeymoon," Cal football coach Sonny Dykes said the process of trying to get better after a historically bad 1-11 season already is under way.
End-of-season interviews with players began Monday, and coaches will be on the road recruiting starting next Monday.
But two days after a record-setting 63-13 loss to Stanford in the 116th Big Game, Dykes said he won't make changes to his coaching staff merely to appease frustrated fans or send a message to recruits.
Dykes gave defensive coordinator Andy Buh a vote of confidence for the second straight week after a season in which the Bears allowed a record 45.9 points per game but also played much of the schedule without five would-be defensive starters.
"If you did things for appearances, all you would do is try to win today," Dykes said. "Building a program is about doing things the right way over the long term. In coaching, it's funny how you get dumb really fast, then how guys get smart again really fast."
Buh has a three-year contract that guarantees him his salary for all three if he's fired without cause. That means he'd collect a total of $1 million due him for the 2014 and 2015 seasons if let go.
Asked if finances would allow him to make changes he deems necessary, Dykes said, "I would think so."
Either way, Dykes didn't minimize the magnitude of the job ahead.
"We've got to get a lot better," he said. "Physically, we've got to get bigger and stronger. That's pretty obvious to anyone. Our football team will look a lot different next year than it does this year."
Here's more from Dykes' season-ending news conference:
Asked if he thought the hit by Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov that caused the injury was an example of targeting, Dykes said, "I thought we've gotten called for roughing the quarterback for a lot less than that. It's probably better if I don't say anything."
Given the lack of tangible progress this season, Dykes said prospects are being asked to make a leap of faith about the program's future.
"During the recruiting process, since we first contacted these kids, we told them this year has a chance to be a little rough," Dykes said.
Among the ailing players, Dykes said he's not sure whether linebacker Nick Forbes' bulging disk and accompanying nerve pain will allow him to return. Otherwise, he expects everyone back by next fall.
He said cornerback Stefan McClure (knee), defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand), linebacker Nathan Broussard (knee) and defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil (knee) should be available on a limited basis in the spring, and safety Avery Sebastian (Achilles) is expected to be ready full time.