Locks of love



By Jason Grodsky

With Dad’s Day approaching on Saturday, Illinois football offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Mike Locksley won’t have to go far to visit his son. He’ll just have to walk to the other end of the Illini sideline. Locksley’s son, Mike Locksley Jr., is a freshman defensive back for the Illini. The father and son duo took time after practice this week to talk to the Daily Illini about their relationship on and off the field, as well as their plans for Dad’s Day on Saturday.

Daily Illini: What’s it like seeing your dad/son on the sidelines with you?

Mike Locksley Jr.: It’s not as bad as I originally thought it would be. He’s not my coach since he coaches the offense and I’m on the other side of the ball. But he still calls me at night to tell me things I need to work on in practice.

Mike Locksley Sr.: It’s something I’ve looked forward to. I appreciate Coach Zook allowing him to come here and be a part of the team. As a father I’ve never had the opportunity to coach my sons and now I get to spend more time with him than I did when he was in high school.

DI: Is it easier as a parent to have him close?

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ML (Sr.): Not at all, because I find out everything, like when he doesn’t go to class or doesn’t turn something in, I’ll get a message in my mailbox. There is a little added pressure having the Locksley name and for me having to deal with the off-the-field issues.

ML (Jr.): We’re pretty tight. He does a lot of trash talking, though. When I line up he’ll start saying things like ‘we’re coming at No. 30,’ just to let me know that he’s out there watching.

ML (Sr.): When we’re on the field I’m his coach not his dad and I try to help him out as much as possible, but I mostly leave that to his position coaches and let them take care of business.

DI: How close is your relationship off the field?

ML (Jr.): Off the field my dad is somewhat like a brother to me. We can talk about anything and have a good time.

ML (Sr.): We like to have fun when we have the time, but he knows I can be that disciplinary figure when I need to be. He’s reached that point to where he’s stepping forward into manhood and seeing things how I see them, and that makes the relationship more mature.

DI: Do you feel he’s tougher on you as opposed to other players when you’re out on the field because you’re his son?

ML (Jr.): Yeah a little. Other coaches and people around the team are always watching me, too. During study hall when I try to sneak on Facebook or something there is always someone looking over my shoulder and reporting back to my dad.

DI: What’s one thing about your son that not many people would know?

ML (Sr.)<: He’s probably a better basketball player than he is a football player. He has a heck of a three-point shot and in high school was always the guy who could put the ball in the hole.

DI: What’s your fondest father-son memory?

ML (Jr.): I remember going to his football games when he was in college. I was only four or five but I remember being there and being able to watch him play.

ML (Sr.): His first high school football game. He blocked a punt and caught a touchdown. It was great to be able to go watch him play and have success.

DI: Do you have any plans for Dad’s Day after the game?

ML (Sr.): I’m sure he has plans asking me for money for the weekend. But for me it’s dad’s day every day when I get a chance to coach him.