New Maryland head football coach Mike Locksley still has at least one more game with the title of Alabama’s offensive coordinator. He’s been helping the Crimson Tide prepare for a playoff matchup while also trying to build a foundation for his time at Maryland.
While Alabama’s Orange Bowl matchup with Oklahoma is the most immediate thing on his plate, he’s also had to fill out his Maryland staff and hit the recruiting trail. The upcoming national semifinal gave another opportunity for Locksley to talk about those dual responsibilities.
Here’s his full interview:
“We have a few people down that we’ve been able to get into place, some off-the-field positions,” Locksley told reporters Wednesday. “My director of football operations Lloyd Richards has kind of been the point man, but obviously with the Christmas break falling with the way it’s come on this year, everything is pretty much dead right now, so there’s really not a lot of things to do other than maybe some recruiting stuff, which we’re very limited in what we can do there.”
While Locksley’s working on a game plan for the Sooners, he’s apparently hired Richards as director of football recruiting operations to lead the charge from College Park. Richards is a logistics guy who brings a wealth of experience in football operations with him. He started at Illinois as a graduate assistant from 1996-98, before becoming moving to the pro ranks and becoming a scout for the Buccaneers for three years and the assistant director of pro personnel for Washington for a season.
Richards returned to Champaign, Illinois, from 2002-07 to pick up five years worth of experience as director of football operations, adding assistant athletic director to the title from 05-07. This is where he’d overlap with Locksley, who was the Illini’s offensive coordinator at the time. Richards then spent nearly four years as director of football operations for the Texans. He’d move to the private sector in 2010, where he’s spent the last eight years.
Maryland doesn’t have a listed director of football operations, but given his past experience, Richards could be given a fresh title. He joins a staff that includes running back coach Elijah Brooks, special teams coordinator John Papuchis and defensive backs coach Cory Robinson. He becomes the first off-the-field hire reported as well.
One person not “officially” on board, despite reports, is Butch Jones, an offensive analyst with Locksley at Alabama at the moment. If Jones comes on board, it will reportedly be as an associate head coach and tight ends coach, but Locksley says that Jones hasn’t been signed to a contract just yet. As such, he declined to comment on Jones’ hire, but spoke about the benefits of bringing in hires with head coaching experience.
“Being able to have guys that have sat in that chair before—obviously I had a cup of coffee there in that chair there at New Mexico, but having guys like Butch, if he were to come on board or any of these guys that have had head coaching experience, I think when you’re bouncing around thoughts, bouncing around ideas, that it’s good to have somebody that’s had the opportunity to be in that position and to help you maybe make the right choices,” Locksley said.
Locksley signed just six players during the early signing period, but said at the time that those were six players he “had personal relationships with.” He reiterated that he was most focused on retaining the current players, and didn’t feel pressured by the early signing period.
“We had some guys that had put their names in a portal,” Locksley said. “We had some guys that maybe had anxiety of a new coach coming in. I felt like we were able to stabilize the program there. I wasn’t going to let the December 19th date force me to make decisions or rush me to make decisions. That was kind of my approach.”
(h/t: BamaOnLine for the transcript)