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How to Rebuild Maryland Football: Mike Locksley, Recruiting, and...Crab-Based Booze? // B1G 2019, Maryland Potluck #1

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We dive into a 3-31 coaching record and ask...there are benefits to this hire, right?

Maryland v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Welcome to Maryland Week!

DJ has kicked us off in a big way with his Cocktail Party Preview (or, “What to say to a Maryland fan”) this morning, and now we invite the whole OTE staff to crash the party.

Don’t worry, we brought snacks.

If you’re new to OTE, welcome! These Potluck portions of our B1G 201X series are a chance to incorporate a couple things you don’t get in the excellent previews offered by our Maryland writer:

  1. A smorgasbord of hometown cooking—from Cozy Dogs to Fat Sandwiches—to help us better understand the Great non-Midwestern Traditions of whatever it is Maryland does that’s not crabcakes and Old Bay.
  2. The perspective/comments/criticism/barely-veiled trolling from our non-Maryland Off Tackle Empire writers.

Today we’re talking booze, seafood, and 5-7...

Question #1: The Bloody Crab? No, wait...

Time to combine our stereotypes of Maryland with our favorite Big Ten pastimes [does not apply to Candystripes]: drinking! (We know Maryland appreciates this, too.) While we’ve talked in the past about Natty Bo and Old Bay, we’re going to jam ALL THOSE THINGS together and introduce...well, whatever the hell this is:

Yep, a Bloody Mary...with crab meat! Or, if you’d prefer, a Bloody Mary with a whole fucking crab right on top of it! And, of course, an Old Bay rim.

So tell us, friends: Wouldja?
Bonus: What’s the best bloody you’ve had, and what’s the local cheap snit to go with it?

WSR: Absolutely! I’ll try nearly any bloody once, and this one still looks like it could be OK. I highly doubt it would be as good as a bloody mary with some sort of fried chicken in it (WHICH IS AMAZING, even if it was invented in wisconsin), which is still the top one for me. And as for my favorite cheap bloody, that would have been at the dearly departed Moose Country in Mendota Heights. There were so many times I’d stop there either before or after a Saturday morning work session, round of golf, or on my way to drink more while tailgating at Gopher games. They were always good and very cheap.

LPW: The best bloody I had was at a nice little place in Galena, IL I went to two years ago with my fiance. I’m new to drinking bloody marys, so I’ve usually just taken them as the bartender gives them to me. I’ll definitely try the crab-topped bloody.

Candystripes: Uh, hard pass. And not just because I rarely drink; a whole freaking crab on top of whatever Old Bay shenanigans are going on in that second picture just does not appeal to me.

Jesse: This actually looks like it makes a TON of sense. Crab is sweet and briney and probably just accents the acid, heat, etc. I dunno. Add enough alcohol and it’s probably balanced. I don’t really like bloody marys but I get it.

Townie: Eww. Not a bloody fan. Last one I had was a hair of the dog situation in Galveston Tx. I had to be at my friend’s graduation by 8am. We crawled out of bed around 6:30, went down the street, gave a secret knock on a bar, got hustled in and the bloodies were on the bar waiting for us. I do love Texas.

Ray: I hate Penn State. I really do. We all do. We also try to hate Maryland. We don’t. We all don’t. We try hard, and sometimes we do okay, but we just don’t. The problem is that A - we’re pretty similar B - we like ourselves and C - you keep doing things that are just so loveable, like smashing beers on your heads, putting crab into bloody mary, and occasionally losing to Rutgers. I mean, if you said to me “Ray, would you like a crab and some old bay stuffed into [insert what I’m eating here]” 99% of the time my answer would be yes you beautiful lunatic.

As for my personal favorite, I’ve had some good ones out and about, but my favorite is the ol’ home made Ransom-house recipe:

  • Zing Zang mix
  • Lotta Ketel
  • Celery
  • Celery Seed
  • Worchesstererssterers Sauce (pretty sure thats how you spell it)
  • Wasabi Sauce
  • 1-4 lime slices, per your taste
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Dash of Pickle Juice

This recipe has been honed to perfect from years of hungover drinking on the Jersey shore and comes to us from our friends in South Africa, so it’s an international delight. Trust me, it’s amazing and will cure what ails ya.

Thumpasaurus: Man, Bloody Marys are just one of those I haven’t gotten into despite many attempts. Gimme a Beermosa any day.

Poll

A crabby bloody: Wouldja?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Hell yeah!
    (87 votes)
  • 7%
    Hell no—crab in a bloody?!
    (11 votes)
  • 35%
    No, but just because I don’t like bloodies.
    (53 votes)
151 votes total Vote Now

Question #2: The Mike Locksley Era

The Terrapins’ hire of Mike Locksley after the firing of D.J. Durkin and almost-successful lame-duck campaign of Matt Canada was simultaneously the most-expected and least-inspiring hire, right? Locksley brings a reputation as a great recruiter (and possibly an Offensive Mind) who is certainly doing a lot to change the culture of Maryland football after the tragic death of Jordan McNair.

So, your question: Maryland dropped from 5th to 11th in recruiting composites, but it’s obviously not fair to hold Locksley accountable for that in his first season. Going forward—where do you expect Locksley to make his mark in College Park, and what should be a reasonable baseline for Terps football in this new era?

Bonus: In looking up Mike Locksley, I noticed that he has a coaching tree! And it’s...not bad?! Matt Wells--formerly of Utah State, now at Texas Tech--is actually a pretty impressive first branch on a coaching tree. Pick a bad coach from your school, and tell us their impressive coaching tree.

WSR: Should I just get the joke about Locksley making his mark on an assistant coach out of the way right off the bat? Because...yeah. I think for the first few years we should expect to see a slow but steady improvement in the talent because he is a very good recruiter and he’s got some outstanding connections in some of the most fertile grounds in the country.

But wins and results? Ummm...yeah, I’m not putting any money on that at all. Not even a stint in the Nick Saban Home For Wayward Coaches is enough to convince me he knows a damn thing about actually running a program himself. And when he does run into problems, he’s shown himself to be a bit of an idiot when responding to difficulty. All in all, I think this was a dumb hire and Maryland fans can start working on their wishlist for in 4-5 years. But at least the cupboard will be even more well-stocked for the next guy.

As for surprise coaching tree, Jim Wacker. The man who had to be the inspiration of Ed “Straight Arrow” Genaro in Necessary Roughness and the owner of a 16-39 (8-32 B1G) record at Minnesota also had Noel Mazzone and Kevin Sumlin as position coaches during his time here. Unsurprisingly, the offense wasn’t really the problem. And a special shoutout goes to Cal Stoll. While he bridged Minnesota between Murray Warmath’s greatness and whatever the hell Gopher football has been during my life, he also had Tom Moore, Mike Shanahan, Norm Parker, and Tony Dungy employed on his watch.

LPW: So our friends near our nation’s Capitol hired a guy who has a 3-31 record… hmmm… Lets see how well he can recruit the beltway/DMV/whatever they call it over there. There’s plenty of good ‘crooots to be harvested. Hopefully he gets the kids playing hard, losing a lot year one, losing a little year 2, then breaking through in year three or four. I hope his assistants are good and he can keep them. Maybe he’s matured and learned a bit after a year in Nick Saban’s coach orphanage. This tenure could be Zook-like, minus the inexplicable Rose Bowl appearance. At least he doesn’t have the misfortune of coaching in piss-cat-a-way or chambana.

I think the bad coach at Northwestern (and there’s a lot of them) with the most impressive coaching tree is Dennis Green. He’s part of the Bill Walsh tree. Green had Tony Dungy, Mike Tice, Emmitt Thomas under his wing, and Dungy by far was the most successful coach under Green. Dungy had Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Leslie Frazier, Rod Marinelli, Mike Shula and Herm Edwards coaching under him.

Fun fact: Northwestern had a coach that lasted one season called Lou Saban, who had a hard nosed assistant named George Steinbrenner.

Jesse: The mark is and will always be recruiting. This dude knows the area and will develop the right pipelines to College Park. Here’s a—the?—problem. Maryland has not exactly been bad at recruiting for a while now. There’s definitely talent there, but they have yet to find a coach who can do anything with it. Locksley continues to just be a weird hire to me, and while I think he’s probably an awesome assistant, he’ll need to pile up some wins to inspire confidence in his ability to lead Maryland to anything resembling longterm success. It doesn’t help that he is still in a division with three schools that will beat him in recruiting routinely which makes his one usefull skill a helluva lot less useful.

As for coaching trees, if I’m the Nebraska rep, I’ve got Solich or Pelini to talk about I suppose. Solich technically has both Bo and Carl Pelini, Scott Frost, Craig Bohl, Derek Mason, and Turner Gill, although Bohl and Gill came with the package of getting the gig. Bo Pelini has Carl so… Bill Callahan had Marc Trestman on staff. That’s a thing. Mike Riley had Norv Turner, Paul Chryst, and Jason Garrett. What I’m saying is that the coaching trees are not great lately.

Thumpasaurus: You know what, there’s something to be said for having an AD savvy enough to hire the coach that the big donors were pushing for. I have some experience with Mike Locksley, and his recruiting was game-changing for the Illini, in particular Arrelious Benn. However, the 2008 offense was great at going between the 20’s without scoring. I’ll never forget Juice Williams throwing for over 460 yards against Tim Brewster while putting up 20 points.

Hey, guess what? Mike Locksley is the second head coach in the Big Ten to fall off the Ron Zook coaching tree, joining Jeff Brohm. Other luminaries in this tree include Idaho HC Paul Petrino, Lamar HC Mike Schultz, Indiana State HC Curt Mallory, Notre Dame OC Chip Long, West Virginia DC Vic Koenning and the well-travelled Ed Warriner.

Two fun notes about Lovie Smith’s coaching tree: it includes former Illini head coach Ron Turner, who replaced Terry Shea as the OC of the Chicago Bears. Shea is notable for being just fucking terrible as Rutgers head coach. Since Lovie Smith can retroactively claim Turner’s coaching tree from Illinois, this means Buddy Teevens, who coached at Illinois for Turner’s first two years, can be counted. Teevens went on to the head coaching position at Stanford from 2002 to 2004, where he was fired along with OC Bill Cubit.

Bill Cubit is part of the Lovie Smith coaching tree.

Townie: This year needs to be a healing season for Maryland football. They need to move away from the shit show Durkin ran and get back to being the fifth best team in the B1G East. I don’t have much hope for this season.

Coach Hype’s coaching tree is pretty solid. Here are some highlights from PSU:

  • Joe Moorehead (OC) is now HC at Mississippi State
  • Josh Gattis (Wide Receivers) is now OC at Michigan
  • Bob Shoop (DC) is now DC at Mississippi State
  • Charlie Huff (Running Backs) is now Running Backs Coach at Alabama
  • Joe Brady (GA) is now LSU Receivers Coach
  • Ryan Smith (GA) is now James Madison Safeties Coach

[Ed. Note: We asked for “the coaching tree of terrible coaches,” and it was sure nice of Townie to oblige us, as James Franklin is not a good coach. Carry on.]

Ray: This dude is what Maryland needs, but they’re going to be beautifully horrible for the next half decade. Another reason we love em.

They’ll recruit astronomically well, as the often do, but inane coaching decisions and backasswards player development will lead the offense to implode spectacularly on the regular, the defense to play well for like 90% of the game and then give up like, 3 70+ yard rushes, and special teams will somehow block their own kicks. The failboat will leave its wake behind for another 5 years after a way-too-late termination because of the guy’s character and recruiting. It’s going to be a great time to be playing against Maryland in the 2020s.

MNW: Thank you all for participating in the “Remember Some Bad Coaches” exercise. We have, of course, neglected to mention that new Northern Illinois Huskies coach Thomas Hammock (great name) is of the Tim Brewster tree (we won’t bring up Everett Withers). And it’s worth mentioning that Francis Peay hired a young running backs coach from North Carolina named Randy Walker.

In terms of Mike Locksley? Damn, Ray’s assessment is hard to argue with. I understand Locksley has had time to grow as a coach and grasp the realities of coaching at big time programs, but it’s going to take a while to get this train back on the tracks. Recruiting, an offense that’s not a revolving door of injuries and linebacker-quarterbacks, and some fan excitement will take a while to build.

And does Locksley have the staff to do that? We’ll talk more about OC Scottie Montgomery (he of the failed post-Ruffin McNeil ECU experiment), co-OC (apparently?) Joker Phillips (!!!), and DC Jon Hoke (YES, OF THAT HOKE FAMILY) in the next two potlucks, but...I think it shows the tone and direction of the Maryland program. Locksley is leaning into his recruiter reputation and, if he can right the coaching mistakes of his past, stands to be—with Montgomery—someone who can help change the face of P5 coaching staffs in D-1 football. The Locksley/Montgomery/Phillips combination joins just three others—Willie Taggart and DC Harlon Barnett at FSU, Kevin Sumlin and DC Marcel Yates at Arizona, and Franklin and Tim Banks at Penn State if you count a co-DC—in having a majority-black coach/coordinator trio. I am open to being corrected if I’m wrong, but that relatability to players and students feels like part of the Locksley appeal and philosophy going forward.

All that is to say—I think the 5-7 jokes/predictions are accurate in the short-term, unfortunately. I think Maryland’s on a three-year rebuild, at the very least, in which Locksley gets these first two years to not do anything stupid, get recruits, and show progress.

But I think there needs to be a bowl game in 2021 to believe that this experiment is on the right track.

Poll

Grade the Locksley hire, pre-2019 season:

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    A
    (31 votes)
  • 24%
    B
    (45 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (59 votes)
  • 18%
    D
    (35 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (15 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now