BERKELEY -- Cal football coach Sonny Dykes called the hiring of his latest two defensive coaches "a make-it or break-it deal" for the future of his regime, but stopped short of confirming that movement on his staff is done.

Still left to sort out are position assignments, and currently there is no one on the staff who is a clear choice to replace the departed Barry Sacks as interior defensive line coach.

Dykes said he expects to announce position assignments on his staff within two weeks.

He was less definitive about the future of Andy Buh, demoted last month from his role as defensive coordinator after the Bears' 1-11 season. Two weeks ago, Dykes hired Art Kaufman to handle that assignment.

Asked specifically whether he expects Buh will be on the staff by next fall, Dykes said, "We'll see. I don't know. We'll see."

It's a tricky situation because Buh still has two years on his contract, which pays him a guaranteed $500,000 per season.

But Buh handled linebackers last season, and that's been Kaufman's specialty while also serving as coordinator at Cincinnati, Texas Tech and North Carolina.

On the day after national signing day, Dykes introduced Kaufman and new defensive backs coach Greg Burns to Bay Area media, and said he decided the make staff changes after spending the Christmas break watching videotape of every Cal practice and game dating back to last spring.

He said he was impressed particularly by Kaufman's experience.

"I want somebody that has an answer when things start going south, and it can't be something that we invented midway through the third quarter," Dykes said.

He said that Kaufman, 55, runs defenses that play at a fast pace, providing an ideal complement to Cal's uptempo Bear Raid offense.

Kaufman is tasked with fixing the worst defense in school history. The Bears allowed 551 points -- 120 more than any Cal team ever. They surrendered a staggering average of 39.4 points through the third quarter of games.

Kaufman said he probably will not watch tapes of Cal's games last season. And it's not because he fears experiencing night terrors.

"I don't know what they were asked to do last year," Kaufman said, "and for me to gauge a guy based on what he did on film and say it was a good job or bad job is really irrelevant."

Kaufman also won't solicit feedback on players from Buh, but will wait to make judgments when spring ball begins on March 31.

Burns, who has eight years combined experience as a secondary coach at USC and Arizona State, was hired Monday after a glowing text-message reference from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Burns' boss with the Trojans.

As much as what Carroll had to say about Burns, Dykes was impressed that he'd take the time the week of the NFL championship game to provide the feedback.

  • It's not just Kaufman and Burns who are eager to get to know their new players. Because of injuries last season, defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand) and defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil (knee) never played in a game.

    "Some of the guys supposed to be our best guys, I've never seen them," Dykes said. "I've never seen Scarlett practice."

    Scarlett is cleared for spring ball, as are cornerback Trey Cheek (hamstring) and defensive end Sione Sina (knee).

    Jalil, safety Avery Sebastian (Achilles), cornerback Stefan McClure (knee) and linebacker Nathan Broussard (knee) will participate in spring practice on a limited basis. Linebacker Hardy Nickerson (foot) won't be available until fall camp.

  • Dykes anticipates several possible position changes, including the likely move of McClure to safety to pair with Sebastian. Cameron Walker, forced by injuries to play strong safety late season as a 165-pound true freshman, should shift back to corner.

  • Among the five junior college defensive players the Bears signed, only defensive end Jonathan Johnson and defensive tackle Trevor Kelly are enrolled and available for spring ball. The others will arrive in the summer.