War of Words: Mike Locksley fires back at Josh Gattis about play-calling at Alabama in 2018
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley and Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis have been bickering back and forth about Alabama play-calling in 2018.
Following the 2018 season, Locksley took the Maryland job, while Gattis headed to Michigan to become Jim Harbaugh’s coordinator. It was part of a major Alabama staff overhaul for 2019.
This particular story started at Big Ten Media Days when Locksley was asked about having Gattis as his co-offensive coordinator at Alabama and how Gattis helped develop the offensive game plans. Locksley declined to go into detail about Gattis’ contributions, but added that he was “impressed with all of our assistants.”
Well, that didn’t sit right with Gattis, and the Michigan coordinator lashed out about it this week.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Locksley. He called every play … there were never any other comments about that,” Gattis said. “I’m 100 percent confident (I can call plays too). Mike Locksley can say I watched him call every play, but ask him where the game plans usually came from?
“So I’m fine with that. He did call every play, and I’ve got a notebook upstairs with all the game plans written down in them. But I’ve got tremendous respect for him, obviously.”
Well, the story isn’t over, because Locksley hadn’t had a chance to respond. He did Saturday, adding that the only reason for the comment was to put it to bed. Locksley, however, had some rather strong comments back to Gattis.
“I don’t care to comment on it, but I am, because I’d like to put this to bed,” Locksley said, via BaltimoreSun.com. “Here’s what I say. I’ve been a first-time play-caller before. Back in 2005 [at Illinois] was the first time I had a chance to call plays, so I know the anxiety that comes along with it. Josh knows the truth, that’s really important to understand. I also know there’s a difference between suggestions and decisions.
“He’ll have an opportunity to make decisions now (at Michigan). He’s got a job to do, I’ve got a job to do here. I want to talk about my coordinator [Scottie Montgomery], the guys I have in my program, which I feel really good about. … I’m sure that notebook he has upstairs has a lot of suggestions in them. Hopefully he’ll utilize them in the right way and make good decisions like I did for Alabama.”
One thing is for sure — Maryland and Michigan might be the unexpected rivalry the Big Ten needs. All kidding aside, we haven’t heard the last of this war of words.