Everyone has heard of Mike Locksley thanks to his offense’s prolific output last season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator but what about it’s new coordinators? Here we take a look at not just Mike Locksley but also Scottie Montgomery and Jon Hoke and their plans for Maryland football.
Head Coach Mike Locksley
Mike Locksley is headed back to Maryland after a three year stint at Alabama as an offensive analyst and ultimately offensive coordinator, winning the Frank Broyles award last year for his school record setting offense. Locksley can certainly put an offense together, most people have known that since he took Illinois to the Rose Bowl as their offensive coordinator but his track record at head coach leaves a lot to be desired. Namely, he jumped from his success at Illinois into a head coaching job at New Mexico, who was historically bad, and didn’t do much to improve that performance (2-28). After he was fired, Locksley ultimately ended up back at Maryland as Randy Edsall’s offensive coordinator before briefly being named interim head coach after Edsall was fired, going 1-3 in the process. So, not great as a head coach so why hire him?
Mike Locksley, outside of his great offenses, is also seen as a father figure to many local kids in the DC area and is generally relateable to so many of them. Locksley was THE person to take over the Maryland job after the tragic death of Jordan McNair and was widely viewed as the only person that would be able to help heal Maryland’s image in the community and help the players heal as well. In short, if Maryland wanted to have any semblence of a football program that would even remotely stand a chance to heal its image locally, they only had one choice. It was quite literally the only thing that the administration did right last year. Now Locksley will need to prove that he learned from his past failures and his time at Alabama and show that he is better than 3-31.
Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery
Scottie Montgomery has served as a WR coach in both college and the NFL and offensive coordinator for Duke in 2014-2015 before quickly being promoted to head coach at East Carolina University. While his offenses were greatly improved year to year at Duke in his short time there, his head coaching career flamed out quickly at ECU. That’s alright, it seems like many coordinators flame out in their first go around at head coaching, but he will need to replicate his success from the improvements he instilled at Duke if he wants to remain at Maryland.
Luckily for him, he has likely the deepest RB corps in the conference at his disposal, a talented WR room, and Josh Jackson coming in at QB. The offensive line will largely be unproven after losing three starters to graduation but it isn’t devoid of talent. The tools will be there for him to put a good product on the field. It remains to be seen how much control Mike Locksley will or will not instill over the offensive gameplan but Montgomery’s pass happy offense matches up decently well with Locksley’s play calling from last season. Locksley stresses being multiple on offense, so perhaps we will see an influence there to utilize the talent they have in the run game.
Defensive Coordinator Jon Hoke
Yep, Brady Hoke’s brother. No, he’s no resemblence of his brother in stature, choosing to not look like he will eat you as punishment.
Hoke has spent the majority of his career as a college DB coach (1982-2001, man I feel young now) and NFL DB coach (2002-2018) other than a one year stint at South Carolina as a defensive coordinator in 2015. That was Spurrier’s last year so when Spurrier left, Hoke went back to the NFL.
What kind of defense can we expect?
Hoke appears to be running a more traditional 3-4 defense, albeit I would assume a one gap system as Maryland isn’t Alabama and isn’t recruiting the talent needed for a two gap system. Maryland previously was running a 3-4/4-2-5 type system that largely resembled what DJ Durkin ran at Michigan but throughout spring practice it’s been clear that Antoine Brooks is playing in more of a nickel/safety role and not a hybrid safety/LB. I personally am a fan of getting rid of the 4-2-5, a defense where Maryland didn’t seem to have the talent to run it the way that Durkin was able to at Michigan. Instead, Maryland was consistently gashed by opposing TEs and struggled to contain as well as provide consistent pressure on the QB.
Whether or not Mike Locksley succeeds in this tenure at Maryland remains to be seen. One thing that is certain is that he was the right choice for the job to mend those fences that at one point in time seemed irrepairable after Jordan McNair’s tragic death. We don’t even know if that will happen, it certainly won’t this year as many of the 2020 local recruits were very present around the program when this occurred, but Maryland needed to try. As much as they screwed up decisions last year following McNair’s death, they at least got this one right.