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REPORTS & HIGHLIGHTS: Mike Locksley to be named Alabama offensive coordinator

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Saban’s long game continues

Illinois v Minnesota

This guy was pretty good

Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

When Tide Co-OC/WR Coach Mike Locksley was hired as an analyst in 2016, we were really high on the move. We anticipated it was only a matter of time until the long-time veteran offensive coach moved to the field so that Alabama could benefit from his wealth of ties to the fertile recruiting grounds of the NOVA/Washington D.C. area. Of course, the other speculation was that when Coach Lane Kiffin finally got another shot at a deserved head coaching job, the offensive continuity would continue.

While it took a year longer for that to come to pass than we had initially predicted, we now add another feather to Coach Locksley’s cap: Alabama offensive coordinator.

Sources are reporting unanimously that the 47-year old coach will transition from his shared OC duties to the full-time signal caller for the Tide offense:

Locksley brings plenty of experience to the position, spending four seasons as an offensive coordinator at Illinois from 2005 to 2008, as well as four seasons as Maryland’s offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2015. He was the head coach at New Mexico between those stints and has long been considered an excellent recruiter as well.

There had been reports that Nick Saban was considering bringing on former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze as his offensive coordinator, but the promotion of Locksley would mean he’s going in a different direction. However, it’s still possible Freeze could join the Alabama staff as an offensive analyst like Locksley did in 2016.

We’ll obviously break down Locks’ offense as the offseason progresses. But, he did lead one of the Big 10’s better offenses in 2007 for the Rose Bowl-bound Illinois Fightin’ Illini. That team ran an uptempo power spread with the mobile and strong-armed Juice Williams and the excellent Rashard Mendenhall as the backfield tandem. Alabama will have similar pieces in play in 2018, and Coach Locksley was widely considered to be the players’ preference.

While Coach Daboll made the on-field calls, Coach Locksley was largely responsible for hands-on teaching with the players and assisting in game planning. If the 2017 A-Day game showed us anything (as much as you can take away from an exhibition,) it’s that Locks is an even more aggressive playcaller than Daboll. That aggression was on display when the No. 18 Illini went into the ‘Shoe and attacked the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes vertically to secure the upset.

For those that don’t recall the A-Day game, Coach Locksley was calling the plays for a freshmen-heavy White Team led by Tua Tagovailoa and Co.

Welcome aboard, Coach Locksley, and Roll Tide.