Chicago — The first words from Mike Locksley at B1G Media Days were pretty much the same as what we heard during his introductory press conference in College Park in December. Maryland is his dream job.

Locksley, fresh off of a four-year term as an assistant coach on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, expressed his excitement to be the leader of the Terrapins. It’s a job he’s had his eye on since he got into coaching.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that from the time I got into this business 27 years ago that the Maryland football job was the job I’ve coveted,” Locksley said at B1G Media Days. “I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it, this is a dream come true for my family and I to be able to come home and coach the university that I grew up rooting for as a kid.”

This season marks the third time Locksley has been a part of the Maryland football program, though it’s just his first as the permanent head coach. He was the running backs coach and run game coordinator from 1997-2002. Locksley rejoined the Terrapins in 2012 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Randy Edsall.

After a midseason firing in 2015, Locksley was the interim head coach for six games.

But things are a little different this time around. While Locksley was thrilled to be a member of the Maryland staff as an assistant, he was aspiring to land the head job in College Park. Now that he’s earned that title, he’s bringing a brand new energy to the program.

His players are noticing.

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“It brings great energy into the program,” defensive back Tino Ellis told Saturday Tradition. “All the players love him and we’re buying into what he wants us to do as a team. It’s great to have him around.”

“I can see it as a dream job for him,” defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. said. “He brought other coaches that wanted to be here. That’s what Locksley’s bringing in.”

Maryland could certainly use that kind of boost. The Terrapins have produced a 9-15 record over the last two years and have made one postseason appearance in the last four seasons. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Last season was an emotional one in College Park, a year in which the Terrapins dealt with the death of teammate Jordan McNair, which led to the firing of D.J. Durkin. The program has come under severe scrutiny in the last 12 months, and appropriately so.

Locksley is attempting to change that culture, starting with how he treats his players. Both Brooks and Ellis agreed, the new head coach is also providing a parent-like figure for the program.

“He’s like a parent, but still a coach,” Brooks said. “I guess he’s a parent inside the building, but when we’re on the field he’s our coach again.”

It’s certainly a different approach than Maryland players are used to experiencing, and it’s easy to see it’s resonating.

Locksley is also bringing some of the ideas from Alabama and implementing them with his new program. He’s preaching accountability and talked about the “actions and behaviors” it build a strong foundation for a football program.

That accountability is another aspect of Locksley’s coaching style that has been well received by the team.

“The energy he brings — he has enthusiasm, he’s happy, he’s excited to be here coaching us, and also accountability,” Ellis said. “He stresses accountability to all the guys, even with him.”

Righting the ship in College Park isn’t an easy task, especially considering all the hardships the program has endured. Nobody expects Locksley to have the Terrapins competing for B1G titles in one, two or even three seasons.

But Locksley is entering his new job with energy and enthusiasm. It’s a place he wants to be successful and where he hopes to call home for a very long time.

He’s not just saying it with words, he’s showing it with his actions.