News Flash: Locksley reprimanded for scrap

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley has been reprimanded by the university after reportedly pushing and punching one of his staff members during an altercation.

Athletic director Paul Krebs said during a Monday news conference that Locksley received a verbal reprimand and a letter in his personnel file.

Locksley and receivers coach/recruiting coordinator J.B. Gerald got in what has been described as a scuffle on Sept. 20. Gerald, who was an offensive assistant at Illinois last season, reportedly has filed a police report over the incident but didn’t file criminal charges. Gerald has been on leave since the incident. Krebs said no charges are expected to be filed.

“I apologized to Coach Gerald, the coaching staff and our team for my poor judgment,” Locksley said in a statement. He did not attend the news conference. “I would also like to apologize to Lobo fans.

“Like I remind our players, when mistakes are made, you acknowledge them and deal with the consequences.

“Our focus is now preparing to play a very good Texas Tech team Saturday in Lubbock.”

A police report said Locksley grabbed Gerald by the collar in a meeting room and that when other coaches tried to intervene, Locksley punched Gerald in the mouth, which caused a cut on his upper lip. An officer at the scene observed the cut lip and a scratch on Gerald’s forearm.

New Mexico is 0-4 under Locksley, who is in his first year on the job after serving as offensive coordinator at Illinois the last four seasons. The Lobos lost to rival New Mexico State last weekend, 20-17.

Krebs considers the matter resolved.

OSU’s Coleman banned

The Big Ten announced that Ohio State strong safety Kurt Coleman has been suspended for one game as a result of initiating helmet-to-helmet contact and targeting a defenseless opponent in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes’ 30-0 win over Illinois.

Coleman is a 5-11, 195-pound senior who ranks second on the team with 29 tackles. He also has one interception.

In a joint statement, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith expressed dismay with the Big Ten’s decision.

“Obviously, we will abide by the one-game suspension from the Big Ten conference, but we feel as if there was poor judgment throughout,” the statement read. “We concur that Kurt’s hit was late and a result of poor judgment; he was thus penalized and removed from the game by his coaches. We do not agree that it was ‘pre-meditated’ or that he was ‘targeting a defenseless’ player.

“The decision to suspend points to the conference office’s feeling as if there was poor judgment by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time. In our estimation, the final ‘poor judgment’ is in levying a one-game suspension in this particular case.

“We will abide by the decision, learn from it, and move forward.”

Look for Orhian Johnson, a 6-2, 178-pound redshirt freshman, to start in Coleman’s absence. Ohio State plays at Indiana this Saturday.

Baylor QB quandary

With Robert Griffin out for the season because of an isolated tear of the ACL in his right knee, Baylor will turn to Blake Szymanski.

Szymanski, a 6-4, 205-pound senior, was Baylor’s starter in 2007, leading the team to a 3-7 record while completing 264 of 461 passes for 2,844 yards with 22 touchdowns with 18 interceptions.

“We have a lot of confidence [in Szymanski],” coach Art Briles said. “I like him because he’s weathered. His path hasn’t been easy, and he’s stayed very loyal and stayed very consistent with his emotions for this football program.”

But Szymanski is listed as day-to-day for this week’s game against Kent State after suffering a contusion to his right shoulder in last week’s victory over FCS member Northwestern State.

If Szymanski can’t play, Briles will start Nick Florence. He was a grayshirt in 2008, joining the squad as a scholarship player last spring. Florence is a 6-1, 180-pound true freshman who is a dual-threat weapon.

“What Nick brings to the table is a lot of intelligence, a lot of youth, which a lot of times in these situations isn’t bad,” Briles said. “He’s just wanting to do whatever he can do to help the team win. And he does have a lively arm with a little bit of escape-ability to him.”

Whether it’s Szymanski or Florence, look for Baylor (2-1) to lean on a strong corps of running backs led by Jay Finley, Jared Salubi and Terrance Ganaway the rest of the season as the program searches for its first bowl since 1994.

Tebow update is reporting that Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is fine, has a mild concussion and that there isn’t a chance he will miss the LSU game.

Tebow was hurt in last week’s 41-7 win at Kentucky following a third quarter sack that forced him from the game.

No. 1-ranked Florida (4-0) is off this week before playing at LSU on Oct. 10.

Tom Dienhart is the senior national college football writer for Follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at
Updated Monday, Sep 28, 2009