Mike Locksley has already mapped out how he will balance his new job with the one he’s soon to leave.
At a news conference Thursday where he was introduced as Maryland’s new head coach, Alabama’s outgoing offensive coordinator said he will stay with the Terrapins until late next week before returning to Tuscaloosa as the Crimson Tide begins preparations Dec. 14 for its College Football Playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma.
From that point forward, Locksley said his attention will be divided between the two programs.
“The way it has worked is I will work on Oklahoma during the day and when we practice, and then at night I will go on my office and put my Terp hat on and start recruiting for the Terps and get the Terps ready for our season,” Locksley said.
Locksley is the latest Alabama coordinator to perform this balancing act. In each of the previous three seasons, Kirby Smart, Lane Kiffin and Jeremy Pruitt had to toe the same line.
Referring to Alabama coach Nick Saban, Locksley said, “This isn’t his first rodeo with dealing with a coach having to prepare for a playoff game and working for another institution.”
In the coming days, Locksley said he plans to hold individual meetings with Maryland’s players and assistants while beginning the process of recruiting.
Locksley, a Washington D.C. native, told his audience becoming the leader of Maryland’s football program was a “dream job” and that his three years at Alabama — first as an analyst, then as a position coach and later as a coordinator — prepared him for this opportunity. This season, as the Tide marched to a 13-0 record, Locksley completed the process of revitalizing his career after he designed an offense that averaged 47.9 points per game — the second-highest average in the FBS — and won the Broyles Award presented to the nation’s top assistant coach.
“If you look at the Alabama football program, it has consistency written all over it,” he said. “I spent three years saturating in winning.”
Locksley hopes to create the same stability and success at Maryland — a Big Ten program that in the last year has endured the death of one of its players, Jordan McNair, and the ensuing fallout that led to the ouster of D.J. Durkin as head coach.
He’ll begin that process immediately as he puts the finishing touches on his work at Alabama.
Rainer Sabin is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin