If this week’s rumors are correct, the New Mexico football program may be looking at going from one controversial coach to another.
Mike Locksley, currently the head coach in Albuquerque, has won just one time in his first 15 games and lost 72-0 to Oregon to open this season. He also only coached 14 of those games because he was suspended for one last year after punching one of his assistant coaches. The lack of on-field success and presence of off-field blunders may have Locksley facing an early exit.
Rumors this week out of New Mexico seem to suggest just that, that the Lobos are looking at replacing Locksley with Mike Leach. You’ll remember Leach was shown the door at Texas Tech last year after a player came out and said his treatment for a concussion included being made to stand in a dark place for hours at a time.
Leach pretty much played dumb on such rumors during an interview in Dallas.
Mike Leach joined KRLD in Dallas with Rage to discuss Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville’s decision to punt late in a loss to Texas, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez’s hot start, the rumors that he’s going to be the next coach at New Mexico, whether he’d be interested in the Lobos job and, of all things, what kind of cut he asks for when he gets his hair cut.
On Texas Tech punting the ball when it should have gone for a first down late in a loss to Texas:
“The loss is going to count the same whether you lose by 10 or you lose by 17 and you’ve got to give yourself a chance to win. I remember we upset the Aggies one time and we beat Kansas one time in a similar situation. The Kansas play ended up being on third down and we ran it because we knew we’d do either/or on fourth down. [On Saturday] if they convert it and they march down and score, they have a chance to win the thing. If you punt it, there’s really no chance to win unless he fumbles the punt. You have to go out there and try to win those things and play until the clock says zero. The difference between losing by 10 or 17, there really isn’t one.”
On Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez:
“Well, I think it’s too early to say. I think everybody’s optimistic about him and I think that it’s a problem that Nebraska certainly wishes would’ve gotten sorted out during camp. … Nevertheless, he did some really good things against Washington. Nebraska just flat out demoralized Washington. I think I’d say it’s a really good start for him. … I thought it was a great win for Nebraska and, for them, hopefully it’s kind of a statement of things to come.”
On rumors that he’ll be taking over at New Mexico:
“Well, I plan to get back into coaching. All I’ve heard on that is just on a rumor level. Mike Locksley’s a good person, a good coach. He’s had some adversity and hopefully he gets through it. At some point I plan to get in at the right situation, right time and all that. As far as New Mexico, I haven’t heard anything on it beyond just some blogs that have been forwarded to me. I don’t know any more about that than you do and I suspect you know more than I do.”
On whether New Mexico would be a desirable place to go next or he’s looking for a more high-profile job:
“I don’t know about that. A high-tempo program, great fans, great place and all those other things. … I’m happy with what I’m doing now, so I’ll keep doing that and at the end of the season we’ll see what happens. I think New Mexico is a great program. It’s always had really good potential and it’s a great state. But like I said, they’ve got Mike Locksley and I think he can do good things here and we’ll just let it ride at that.”
On what he asks for when he goes in for a haircut:
“I try to just keep it the same and cut a little more off. I’m just trying to be comfortable but between the lines and get you one of those haircuts that you don’t have to think about very much. Not too short, not too long, just kind of shape it up a little bit because my hair tends to go straight up.”