Josh Gattis included in the top ten of two different top coordinator lists

Maryland returns the skill players and veteran quarterback to instill confidence in the 2023 offense, and as new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis guides the unit into next weekend’s season opener, Gattis has drawn buzz as one of the most critical hires across college football.

BTN analyst Adam Breneman ranked Josh Gattis as the third-best offensive coordinator in the conference, behind Phil Longo (Wisconsin) and Mike Yurcich (Penn State) and ahead of Kirk Ciarrocca (Rutgers) and Barry Lunney Jr. (Illinois). Just six days prior, Gattis was also named the tenth-most important assistant hires of the offseason by Football Scoop.

As for those players, Maryland returns one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football. Taulia Tagovailoa enters this season one pass shy of 1,000 attempts across his career at Alabama and Maryland; last season, he hit 67 percent of his 391 throws for 3,008 yards with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions. 

The Terps’ top three running backs return, led by Roman Hemby, who rushed for 989 yards on 5.26 a carry as a freshman. Leading receiver Jeshaun Jones and tight end Corey Dyches are also back.

In short, it could be all systems go for a big year for Maryland offensively… so long as the offensive line holds up. In a 17-minute media availability, multiple times Gattis uttered the tell-tale red-flag phrase of August when it comes to the offensive line — We’ve got to stay healthy. “It’s hard to do anything if you don’t have an offensive line,” he said. “We’ve got to be smart in how we protect those guys.”

If the offensive line holds up — the most weighty 6-word phrase in college football — Maryland could establish itself as a solid, winning Big Ten program, and Gattis could find his career equilibrium.

Gattis joins the program after making a name for himself as one of the nation’s top recruiters while at Penn State. Gattis then made the move to Tuscaloosa, where he and Mike Locksley worked together on an Alabama staff that fell short against Clemson in the national championship. It was shortly after when Locksley made his move to become the new head coach at Maryland, nearly bringing Gattis with him as the new offensive coordinator, before pivoting in the final hour for the same position at Michigan where he eventually won the Broyles Award after leading the Wolverines to over 400 yards of offense per game.

Now in College Park, Gattis has added his to his repertoire as Maryland’s new quarterback coach and inherits a veteran quarterback in Taulia Tagovailoa as the offense looks for more explosive plays in 2023.

Whether it’s been Scottie Montgomery, Dan Enos or now Josh Gattis, Locksley has always been transparent that Maryland’s offensive system won’t change despite coaching turnover, rather giving new coordinators a chance to add their sprinkle to the Terps’ style. That’s been apparent in the Terps’ offense heading into the season, “especially running the football,” as Locksley noted.

“I think what you’re seeing is that the offensive side of the ball is starting to get accustomed and used to the personality that Josh will add to the system. The big thing when you hire coordinators and with me being an offensive guy is it’s a fine line of me allowing and making sure Josh is able to put his personality as a play caller into what we do and what we’ve done around here successfully, and I’ve seen that transition go really smoothly,” Locksley added. “Obviously, we haven’t been in a game situation yet, but we got one coming up in a couple of weeks against Towson here, where we’ll get a better idea of where we are and how far we’ve come.

Junior wide receiver Tai Felton spoke highly of Gattis following last week’s practice.

“He’s a very high-energy guy. I mean, he’s an old receiver coach. He played receiver in high school. He played receiver in college. He played receiver in the league. So anytime you have somebody with that experience, he’s able to help you, able to elevate your game. He’s played at that level. And he was also at Alabama with coach Locks. Anybody that’s been at that system, and they know national championships, the type of guys they have, so he’s been able to help us and just elevate our game.”

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