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Barrett Jones: Mike Locksley Would Be 'Great Fit' As Maryland Head Coach

December 3, 2018
With arguably the most trying season in the history of Maryland football now complete, the focus immediately turns to who will take over as the head coach of the program.

Interim head coach Matt Canada filled in this year for DJ Durkin, who was placed on administrative leave in August and fired in October. The Terps finished 5-7, lost four straight games to close out the season and missed out on a bowl game for the second straight year.

According to several reports, three finalists have been or will be interviewed for the head coaching position: Canada, Michigan quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who served as Maryland's interim coach in 2015.

Former NFL and Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, now an analyst for ESPN Radio, believes Locksley is the man for the job.

"I think he'd be a great fit," Jones said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 29. "I think Maryland is a proud program that deserves to be one of the best teams in the [Big Ten] and I think it would be a tremendous fit."

Locksley would be a familiar pick if Maryland were to pry him away from Alabama, which won its fourth SEC title in five years by defeating Georgia, 35-28, in the conference championship game Dec. 1.

Alabama's offense is the best in the SEC this year, racking up 6,859 total yards and averaging 47.9 points per game. The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 1 overall and will play Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal Dec. 29.

"To be honest, I wasn't sure how that fit would work," Jones said of Locksley's time in Tuscaloosa, "and obviously it's been the exact opposite." 

Much of Alabama's offensive explosiveness can be attributed to Heisman Trophy candidate Tua Tagovailoa, who has completed more than 70 percent of his passes and accounted for 41 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions.

"Mike Locksley has done a fantastic job of using his skill set, helping him get comfortable doing what he does best," Jones said. "He's expanded the [run-pass option] game for that program … where Alabama used to be lagging behind a little bit on offense. Now we're on the forefront of what people are doing."

A 1992 graduate of then-Towson State, Locksley has had two previous coaching stints at Maryland. He served as running backs coach from 1997-2002; he was also a recruiting coordinator from 1998-2002. He became offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2012-2015 under then-head coach Randy Edsall.

When Edsall was fired in October 2015, Locksley took over as interim head coach for the last six games of the season and finished with a 1-5 record. Locksley was not retained as head coach following the season, and the job went to Durkin. Locksley was hired as an offensive analyst at Alabama in 2016 before becoming wide receiver coach and co-offensive coordinator in 2017. In January, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Locksley's other head coaching stint ended poorly when he was fired four games into his third season at New Mexico; he won just two games during three seasons. After his brief time at the helm in College Park, Md., Locksley owns a 3-31 record as a head coach.

But since coming to Alabama, the Washington, D.C., native has become a well-liked figure in the program by endearing himself to players and coaches and learning from his past coaching experiences, Jones said.

"He's tremendous a coach," Jones said. "I've been very impressed with how he's handled himself. His reputation around the building, people really seem to like him a lot. The players really enjoy being around him.

"And if you ask him, he feels like this has really been a time of growth for him as a coach where he's come back off a time where he's had some head coaching duties and then going back and really learning from the best and getting to see what it looks like up close and personal. I'm sure he's been able to take a lot of things and add to his coaching repertoire."

For more from Jones, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox