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COLLEGE PARK – One month following the hiring of Head Football Coach Michael Locksley, the University of Maryland announced six new additions to his coaching staff on Jan. 17.
After reaching the College Football Playoff title game as the offensive coordinator of Alabama, Locksley has assembled a coaching staff with a mix of coaching experience and local ties to help rebuild a Maryland team who only won five games last season and allowed over 390 yards per game.
Prior to making his selections, the D.C. native expressed taking his time in finding coaches that will be able recruit within the metropolitan region while motivating players in an effective manner following the previous regime. Members of former head coach D.J. Durkin’s staff reportedly verbally abused and humiliated players constantly during his two-year tenure, leading to their dismissal during the 2018 season.
“I’ve got to do a good job and do my due diligence bringing the best possible coaches, support staff and people to surround this team with,” Locksley said during his introductory press conference on Dec. 6. “For me, there’s five things I look for in a coach – they’ve got to be great communicators, got to be good scheme guys, great recruiters, great evaluators of talent and first and foremost they’ve got to be great mentors.”
Former East Carolina University Head Coach Scottie Montgomery will take over as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Montgomery spent three years with the Pirates, where, despite his 9-26 record, they had their second-highest single-season passing attack in school history in 2016, averaging 334.7 yards per game.
One of his responsibilities he will have to address is Maryland’s passing attack, which finished ranked 121 out of 129 NCAA Division I teams despite having two quarterbacks, Kasim Hill and Tyrell Pigrome, fill the role. As a team, Maryland only threw 12 passing touchdowns last season.
One hire was already confirmed prior to the program’s announcement. Former DeMatha Catholic High School Head Coach Elijah Brooks will be taking over as the new running back coach. Last season, Maryland featured 10 of his former Stag players including running backs Anthony McFarland Jr. and Lorenzo Harrison III.
“It has been an honor to lead my alma mater for the past eight years,” Brooks said in an Instagram post on Dec. 12. “No way I can thank the DeMatha family enough for the wonderful experiences and memories we have had on this journey together.”
Brooks will be at the helm of one of the bright spots for Maryland last season. Their rushing attack ranked third in the Big Ten, accumulating 230.2 yards per game and scored 26 touchdowns. They finished ranked 17th in the nation under interim head coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
The only addition coming from Alabama is new tight ends coach Mike Miller. He spent the last two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant under Locksley and worked primarily with their quarterbacks and wide receivers. With Locksley under the control of the offense, the Crimson Tide set school records for points scored (684), single-season total offense (7,830 yards) and passing yards (4,854) in a season
The rest of the hires include Quince Orchard High School graduate John Papuchis returning home to take over as the special teams coordinator; 25-year coaching veteran John Reagan will lead the offensive line and Baltimore native Cory Robinson arrives to take over as the defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach.
One position Maryland will need to fill is defensive coordinator. Last year’s coordinator, Andy Buh, will not return under Locksley and will reportedly take over in the same role for Rutgers. Maryland and Locksley have not set a deadline for when the hire will be completed.
“I’m thrilled to announce this initial group of coaching hires,” said Locksley. “Our coaching staff is vital as we build our Maryland football family. Each coach has an excellent football mind and more importantly, pride themselves on the mentorship and development they provide to our student-athletes.”
Meanwhile, a pair of Maryland senior players participated in the 94th East-West Shrine Game on Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Jan. 19. Running back Ty Johnson and linebacker Tre Watson represented Maryland in the annual collegiate all-star game to showcase their talents in front of top NFL scouts and representatives.
Johnson collected 42 all-purpose yards on two rushing carries and a catch on the East team’s opening drive. He finished with 10 passing yards and ran for 44 yards on seven carries. Watson led the East in combined tackles (9) and completed one sack in a losing effort as the West won 21-17.