With all the talk about spread offenses lately, I asked first-year New Mexico coach Mike Locksley about the attack he’s implementing in Albuquerque.
“The base of our offense, if you look at the roots of it, it’s a pro-style offense,” Locksley said last week at the Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas. “A lot of people have the misconception, you hear ‘spread.’ We run lead plays, we run zone plays, we run counter plays. But what makes our offense unique is we run it with the spread mechanics behind it. … The misconception of the spread is that we’re going to throw it around 50 times a game. To me, my offensive philosophy comes from the time I spent with Ralph Friedgen (at Maryland). I want to have a balanced offense. And balance, to me, isn’t 50 percent run, 50 percent pass. It’s being able to do both really well. You have to.”
Locksley said he tries to take most of the pre-snap decision making off the shoulders of his quarterback, “who spends 20 hours a week doing football,” and put it on “the offensive coordinator who’s putting 16 hours a day studying the opponents, to be able to get us in the right plays and make the right decisions.”
Locksley said the key for his staff is to find the Lobos’ playmakers and get the ball in those players’ hands. A key question for Air Force fans is how long will that take?
I wrote last week about how the Falcons’ coaching staff will be challenged in game-planning for New Mexico and San Diego State in weeks three and four, respectively, because both schools have new staffs and thus there will be little film of what they do.
But the Falcons could catch a break by catching those teams early if they haven’t quite learned their personnel yet. Sure, they had all spring and will have all preseason, but it can take time. Remember, it wasn’t until Game Six of the 2007 season (Troy Calhoun’s first) that Chad Hall became the focus of the Falcons’ offense. Calhoun said later that it took him that long to realize what Hall could do/handle.