Stevens: Darrell Dickey Knows The Big Question About His Offense
April 14, 2010
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Darrell Dickey will talk about centers, receivers, running backs, tight ends, linemen and all the vital ingredients of an offense. But UNM's offensive coordinator knows what you want. He knows the biting, inevitable question.
Dickey cut his teeth on football. The son of a football coach has been around the football block enough times to know what inquiring minds want to know almost anytime an offense hovers over a football.
"Which leads to the big question," said Dickey, through a knowing grin.
Ah, yes, that quarterback thing. We'll get back to those other O-spots in a minute. Let's talk about the guy who has to replace Donovan Porterie in the University of New Mexico no-huddle and make all those snap decisions that will lead the Lobos to pay dirt and glory.
"What you get out of your quarterback is important in any offense," said Dickey, who began his coaching career in 1985 as a grad assistant at Texas A&M. "It's more important in this offense because they are asked to process a lot of things pre-snap." In case you have been living in a cave in Southern New Mexico, Lobo coach Mike Locksley's run-and-gun philosophy on offense is a no-huddle, quick-snap, multi-attack beast that bites into defenses with different looks, styles and tempos.
It's an offense that needs to run the ball well. It's an offense that needs to throw the ball well.
It's an offense that needs a quarterback to do a lot of things well, including quick thinking and quick reads. If your offense, and your quarterback, is efficient out of the no-huddle, you gain an advantage with the quick strike.
There really is no heir apparent to Porterie, but there is a mind and an arm leading the race heading into Saturday's 1 p.m. Cherry-Silver clash at University Stadium. It's been B.R. Holbrook's spring by default and by performance.
The sophomore-to-be was presented a spring opportunity when Brad Gruner and Tate Smith were sidelined with injuries and Holbrook took advantage of his time in the pocket. "It's been a good spring for B.R.," said Dickey. "He has been out there the most.
"We emphasis that guys have to be prepared when their opportunity comes. B.R. has benefited from opportunity, but he has gone out and had some very, very good days. He hasn't been perfect, but he is pretty much running the offense the way we want it to be run."
Holbrook was Porterie's backup in 2009. He got to throw the ball 34 times for 19 completions and 170 yards. He gave up two interceptions.
Dickey said the QB battle will resume in the fall with Gruner, Smith and two talented freshmen in the mix. Gruner is out for Saturday's Spring game. Holbrook will lead one team and Tate the other.
Regardless of what happens in the fall, the Lobos will be inexperienced in the pocket. The good news for that eventual leader is there are a lot of experienced Lobos around him, well, except for the guy who will snap the ball.
"We are looking to come up with a new center to replace Erik (Cook)," said Dickey. "But whether that is Dillon Farrell or Mike Muniz, he will be surrounded by four veterans (Byron Bell, Karlin Givens, Mike Cannon and Maurice Mears).
"We also have some guys in the second wave who are good enough to play and give our starters a rest. That means we have competition."
Veterans will surround the Lobos' new center. Ditto for the eventual leader of the pocket. UNM returns a trio of talent in the backfield in tailbacks Kasey Carrier, Demond Dennis and James Wright. The Lobos also have senior fullback Josh Fussell in the backfield. Terence Brown and Chris Biren have a chance to touch the ball in 2010.
The Lobos went into spring ball emphasizing improvement in the running game. "We made progress, but it's still a work in progress to be more consistent," said Dickey. "Last year guys like Demond and Kasey were out there as freshmen and relying too much on natural ability.
"We had too many mistakes. Sometimes they ran to the wrong spots. They have more of an understanding this time around."
A lot of Lobos have more of an understanding of the UNM offense. The Lobo players know the system better. The Lobo coaches know their players better. It's made for a more productive spring.
Dickey said a major problem in 2009 was the dropping of passes. He said the Lobo hands dropped more than 50 passes that should have been caught. "That just kills you," said Dickey. "When you are more comfortable and confident in what our are doing, you play better. I expect that from our receivers this year."
The Lobo hands people with good experience include Ty Kirk, Chris Hernandez, Bryant Williams, Jonathan Mader and Lucas Reed. There is a lot of unproven depth behind that bunch and a handful of talented freshmen on the way.
So, in a perfect world and a perfect Spring, what ratio of pass-to-run would make Dickey do handsprings? That's the little question.
"It's an offense that looks for balance, but that doesn't mean it will be 50-50 run to pass," he said. "What we hope for in consistency and productivity in both areas. We can't be one-dimensional and we can't be predictable. You also look to take what the defense gives you."
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.