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Mike Locksley officially gets the Maryland job, which means Alabama is probably in on Hugh Freeze too

Another piece of the puzzle has been placed.

Maryland v Rutgers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Maryland went ahead and made things official tonight, announcing Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as their next head coach. Locksley was the focal point of this search. Most felt it was just a matter of time.

The Locksley move obviously affects Tennessee directly, at least potentially. Nick Saban now has an opening and will have to find someone else to call plays for Tua Tagovailoa and company. Rough gig, huh?

Locksley turned that job into a head coaching opportunity in just one season. It’s obviously the most attractive offensive coordinator job on the market now. But will Saban hire from within? Dan Enos has been praised for his work with Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts this season. He’s got experience calling plays and the transition would likely be a simple and easy one.

Will Saban go that route? Or hire the man he wanted to hire last year — Hugh Freeze. Freeze has been the name to watch with the Tennessee opening, but there seems to be a holdup on the Vols’ end. Now Florida State, Auburn and Liberty (HC) are reportedly in on the former Ole Miss head coach.

Saban attempted to hire Freeze last season, but the SEC shot him down. Will he make an attempt this time around? That remains to be seen. If he doesn’t, that likely takes Enos off the board for Jeremy Pruitt, leaving his shortlist looking pretty thin if Hugh isn’t the answer.

Eli Drinkwitz would be the only remaining name with reported interest from Pruitt left on the list.

The longer this drags on, the worse it feels for Tennessee.