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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stand-in coach sustains Locksley's lead

GeorgeFootball
By Vanessa Sanchez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

George Barlow strolls down the sidelines on Tuesday at the Lobos’ Indoor Practice Facility. Barlow, UNM’s interim head coach, will wear the headset in place of Mike Locksley during Saturday’s home game against UNLV. Locksley is serving part of his 10-day suspension as a result of his altercation with assistant coach J.B. Gerald.

The Lobo ship seems to be guiding itself with interim head football coach George Barlow at the helm.

Take a little public relations skills and throw in a travel agent — the result is a 10-day temporary replacement coach.

“Really what you are doing is seeing over — for lack of a better word — day-to-day operations of the program,” Barlow said. “The coordinators kind of take care of all the inner workings. But all the outside stuff, the media and setting up travel plans — you have to oversee all of the little things.”

Head coach Mike Locksley tabbed Barlow as assistant head coach when he hired him. So it’s only fitting that Barlow guide the Lobos to bay while Locksley serves his suspension because of an altercation with assistant coach J.B Gerald.

With Locksley out and Gerald on paid administrative leave, the players are down two coaches. Still, it’s been business as usual. The leader of the offensive, quarterback Donovan Porterie, said the week’s schedule is practically the same. The only difference he can spot is personality.

“As far as being the head coach of the team, (Barlow) is doing exactly what coach Locks would have been doing,” he said. “Coach Barlow is more of a quiet guy, but when the time comes he gets amped, coach Locksley is more vocal.”

But offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey said the offensive end of the game stands to be hit the hardest by Locksley’s absence, since Locksley, former offensive coordinator of Illinois, also installed his own spread, no-huddle scheme this season.
Dickey said the Lobos will have to increase their focus on the task at hand.

“We adjust and we move on,” he said. “This is (Locksley’s) offense. He knows it better than anybody, and he is usually able to come in when we are stuck on something and say, ‘Hey, here’s what you need to do,’ and help us with the adjustments.”

Dickey said that midway through the season, the coaches are just carrying out the blueprint Locksley put in place.

“After six games, we kind of have a feel for his thought process,” he said. “There are also a couple of guys that played in this offense for him and have coached in this offense. So, they are able to tell us what he would be thinking. It is tough when your No. 1 resource is not available, but it is what it is, and we are dealing with it.”

Dickey said Barlow — who likely received advice from Locksley before he left — is faring well.

“Obviously before coach (Locksley) left they probably talked a little bit,” he said. “But each day I think coach Barlow has come in and set the daily plan and told us what he expects, and I think he is doing a heck of a job.”

Barlow said if the Lobos manage to pull off their first win of the season against UNLV, the victory won’t be his, it will be Locksley’s.

“If we do win, it comes from what (Locksley) has been building,” he said. “It has nothing to do with me coming in, in this particular situation, and winning. I think it would be a combination of all these things he has been trying to accomplish with these kids, and it is finally coming to a head.”