March 23, 2009
THE DICKEY FILE
Who: Darrell Dickey, offensive coordinator/running backs
College: Kansas State (1983)
Head coach: North Texas (1998-2006)
Assistant coach: Utah State (2007-08), SMU (1997), UTEP (1994-96), LSU (1991-93), Mississippi State (1990), Memphis (1988-89).
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
To simplify and easily understand what Darrell Dickey plans to do with the Lobos' offense, do this:
Hang up a big picture or diagram of a football field and pretend it`s a dart board. Take a handful of darts and fling `em at the target. One at a time. All at once. Doesn't matter. It also doesn't matter where the darts land because no matter where the points stick, that's a spot of a football field Dickey plans to attack.
Now, gather up the darts -- no huddle, please -- and toss `em again. Same thing! There really isn't any place on a football field that Dickey doesn't plan to attack.
"We are going to be an aggressive team that attacks the entire field and attacks it in different ways," said Dickey. "We will force teams to defend the entire field and attack with different looks, different styles, different tempos. We won't huddle much."
In a way, Dickey has no choice but to go with that plan of attack because that all-out blitzkrieg package is what head man Mike Locksley believes in. But so does Dickey. "My style is very similar," said Dickey. "I just hadn't done the no-huddle stuff."
The no-huddle stuff is designed to make a defense even more vulnerable and off-balance. If your offense -- your quarterback! -- is efficient out of the no-huddle, you gain an advantage with the quick strike.
"This is an exciting offense and it's a good offense to recruit to," said Dickey. "But it's also an effective offense."
The effectiveness, and the excitement factor, of UNM's lock-and-unload offense depend on forward motion and points on the scoreboard. One of the challenges for Locksley and his offensive staff in spring ball is to puzzle together this new offense with a whole lot of Lobos that ran something else in 2008.
But it's not like UNM is just going to no-huddle, fall back into a shotgun, and sling the ball all over the place. Dickey also plans to bring balance to the offense and take what the defense gives up. Yes, running backs will run with the football, too.
"You don't want a team to hone in on you and take away what you do best," said Dickey. "That's why we plan to do a lot of things well and at a fast pace. We'll run the ball when that option is there. We'll throw the ball. We will not be one-dimensional."
Which is what Dickey used to be. "I used to be a one-dimensional coach, very basic offensively. We really didn't start winning a lot of games at North Texas until we developed a potent passing game," said Dickey, the former head man at North Texas where he posted a 25-1 league mark between 2001-04.
"I used to think you could run the ball, if you were just tougher and more physical and stronger than the other guy. But I came to believe you could run the ball better, if you were more diversified and made the defense honor the entire field."
In a way, the one-dimensional stuff was a product of Dickey's roots, which were heavy in the fundamental approach to football. Those values came from being the son of Jim Dickey Sr., a head coach at Kansas State, Florida and Southern Mississippi.
Darrell Dickey believes, and teaches, a lot of the same stuff that dad believed in and taught. You play tough. You outlast the guy across the line from you. You beat him in the weight room and you beat him on the practice field. His Lobos will do that, too.
"A lot of the kids at this level have, at some point in their earlier development, been able to get by just on talent," said Dickey. "But all of a sudden they realize they have to apply other things with their talent in order to successful. At this level, no matter what your skill level is, you have to make a high level of commitment in order to be successful.
"We want playmakers and we want to get the ball into playmakers' hands, but we still want hard-nosed guys who are tough-minded."
The old, smash-mouth mentality isn't such a bad thing to have around. Especially in the fourth quarter when you are down by seven.
Dickey will keep some of those old-school values, but he also has left some olds things behind. Hey, you don't want to be driving the same year and model truck that dad hauled around in. Dickey's new ride on the football field is part Porsche, and part West Texas pickup. It's shiny, fast and sleek with a sports-car suspension and a blue-collar engine. When it's purring, it's a fun ride.
Dickey said there are two main reasons he came to New Mexico to be a Lobo: 1- Locksley. 2. UNM and Lobo football. He called Locksley, "a total package," referring to Locksley as a football coach and a man of character. He said he also believes the recent football success at the University of New Mexico can become even better.
"If the team you are cheering for is making yards and scoring points, it's usually pretty exciting."
Darrell Dickey, UNM's O-Coordinator
"I was at North Texas for nine years and we fought for nine years with a shorter stick," said Dickey. "The people we competed against had bigger investments in football. Coach Long (Rocky Long) has shown that it can be done here. Now, we plan to take it even further."
Locksley, in his first gig as a head man, said Dickey's previous experience in the hot seat of head coaching was a plus on Dickey's resume. "It's good to have a guy who has been in that chair before," said Locksley. "I'm not above picking someone's brain. That's why I assembled the staff I have. These guys know football."
Dickey said when he first followed his father's footsteps into football, he was obsessed with being a head coach. He's not opposed to returning to the hot seat some day, but he also enjoys being an assistant.
"Maybe the toughest thing about being a head coach is you get removed, from some degree, from what got you into the business in the first place," he said. "And that's coaching kids and just coaching football. It's nice to get back to the basics."
Well, maybe the basics of Xs and Os, but not a basic offense -- no way. Dickey plans to move the football, light up the scoreboard and wow the fans. That's what the fans expect, too. Dickey might not be as far removed from the hot seat as he thinks.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner