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Updated on Friday at 12:20 p.m.
Jim McElwain‘s decision to wait until after the national championship to add to the Florida Gators coaching staff has come back to bite him.
Amid reports that Alabama Crimson Tide offensive analyst Mike Locksley was McElwain’s target to fill a vacant role on Florida’s staff, FootballScoop.com reported Thursday that Alabama “expects to be able to retain” Locksley by moving him to an on-field role, though it did note that the “situation remains fluid.”
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy confirmed Friday that Locksley will remain with Alabama and is “expected to get [an] on-field job.”
It was previously reported by FootballScoop on Dec. 30, 2016, that McElwain planned to hire Locksley, though McMurphy and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman called such a report “premature” that same day.
Locksley served in a behind-the-scenes role with Alabama last season. Prior to that, he was offensive coordinator at Maryland (2012-15), improving the Terrapins’ offense each of his first three years with the program. Locksley, 47, is a Washington, D.C., native who has coached in college for 25 years, including a two-season stint with Florida from 2003-04 as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator under then-head coach Ron Zook. Locksley would have been a candidate to take over recruiting coordinator duties for the Gators now that Randy Shannon has been promoted to defensive coordinator. Florida’s recruiting classes ranked No. 1 and No. 5 nationally in Locksley’s two seasons, falling to No. 12 after Zook’s firing ahead of the 2005 campaign.
One way McElwain could have gotten Locksley into the fold would have been to have him split offensive coordinating duties with current assistant Doug Nussmeier, who received praise after the season from McElwain — and Saban for that matter — despite earning criticism from fans. Locksley could’ve also served in a role similar to the one Shannon had under Collins as a “co-coordinator” without a specific side of the ball listed on his title. It is unknown what the Gators specifically offered Locksley nor what the Crimson Tide countered with to get him to stay.
FootballScoop also reported on Jan. 4 that Crimson Tide assistant head coach and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal was a candidate for a job with the Gators, though Cristobal was always more likely to link up with Oregon and head coach Willie Taggart. Cristobal took a co-offensive coordinator job with the Ducks on Friday, presumably opening up a spot on the Tide roster that Saban can use to bring Locksley onto the field.