ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Duke City Gladiators are in the unique position of preparing for a playoff game with an interim head coach. The team announced that Fred Griggs will assume the role following Sherman Carter stepping down.

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While the title of head coach is new for Griggs, there won’t be much of a change for how the Gladiators function. Coach Sherman Carter was unable to devote all of his time to the team due to another job, and Griggs has been heavily involved with the team throughout the season.

“It has been kind of normal for me,” Griggs said. “Being around the guys for as long as I have been and just trying to keep the show running as its been running. It’s kind of just another title but the same responsibilities if you ask me.”

The timing of the coaching change is interesting for Duke City. The team is practicing for the first week of the playoffs and they have a tough opponent in the Arizona Rattlers, who the Gladiators went 0-2 against during the regular season. Griggs believes that the previous showings could actually be beneficial this time around.

“It’s been a lot of pessimistic people around right now,” said Griggs. “Actually being a part of each one of those seven losses from at least some perspective, some level in this, I feel like I can add that one thing that, that one thing that we’ve been missing, just that all out team focus.”

Griggs comes from a long football background. His grandfather was a renowned coach in Florida, who he models his game and coaching style after. He began playing football at the age of six and went on to play professionally in the CFL and with the Gladiators.

The Gladiators ended the regular season with an 8-8 record and finished as the four seed in the western conference. Duke City and Arizona will match up in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. MT.