Barry Jackson

Feedback from those who have worked with new UM OC Enos and what Saban likes about him

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts talks with quarterbacks coach Dan Enos during a game on Sept. 8. Enos is UM’s new offensive coordinator, and Hurts reportedly will visit Miami’s campus this weekend.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts talks with quarterbacks coach Dan Enos during a game on Sept. 8. Enos is UM’s new offensive coordinator, and Hurts reportedly will visit Miami’s campus this weekend. Getty Images

Canes notes on UM’s hiring of Dan Enos, as The Herald and ESPN first reported late Friday morning:

We’re told Enos chose UM over Georgia largely because the Hurricanes stepped up financially and because he felt a conviction about working with Manny Diaz.

He won’t necessarily satisfy fans who want a pass-heavy offense that is exclusively spread and plays at a breakneck pace.

He likes a balanced offense but also likes to throw the ball downfield, and his quarterbacks consistently have improved under his direction.

He used a pro-style offense at Arkansas in his three years as coordinator there (2015-17), with the quarterback often lining up under center, but also used some spread elements, too. He loves to run play-action and utilize screen passes, and the tight end is important in his offense. He also uses the hurry-up offense selectively.

If UM can land Jalen Hurts (he reportedly will visit Miami this weekend after first visiting Maryland), it likely would play him a lot of out of the shotgun, with a lot of run/pass options. That’s where Hurts did his best work at Alabama, with Enos his QB coach last season.

Enos’ three years as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator offered more good than bad.

In 2015, Arkansas was 29th in yards per game and 27th in points (35.9).

Those numbers fell to 54th and 57 (30.3 points per game) in 2016.

They fell again in 2017 (94th in yards and 62nd in points and 28.8 per game), but Arkansas people believe that was more the result of a shoddy offensive line than shortcomings with Enos.

Enos had a 3000 yard passer and 1000 yard rusher his first two seasons at Arkansas. His most talented group averaged 268 through the air and 197 on the ground in 2015, his first season there.

He wasn’t retained by new Arkansas coach Chad Morris after the 2017 season, but Alabama Nick Saban scooped him up to coach quarterbacks, and he did good work with both starter Tua Tagovailoa and backup Hurts.

“He’s always been a really bright guy and had great competitive character,” Saban said of Enos this season, via the Birmingham News. “I followed him when he was a head coach at Central Michigan. And having to play against him when he was at Arkansas for the last few years, we were always very challenged by the system and the scheme and the things that they did. I thought their offense was always really well-coached. So I guess I’ve always had a high opinion of him, but having to play against someone you develop even a greater respect for how they’re doing what they do.”

Enos does his best work coaching quarterbacks, especially with their mechanics and preparation.

“I think Dan has really helped them understand exactly what the expectation is on every play,” Saban said. “And that comes through really good teaching and preparation through the course of the week.”

At Central Michigan, where he was head coach, he helped Ryan Radcliffe improved his completion percentage from 47 to 59.5.

At Arkansas, Brandon Allen went from completing 56 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions the year before Enos arrived to completing 65.9 with 30 TDs and 8 picks in his first year with Enos as offensive coordinator.

And Tua Tagovailoa had the nation’s best passer rating under Enos this past season, which was also the best ever for an FBS quarterback.

“Best coach I’ve ever had,” former Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen (Brandon’s brother) told The Birmingham News before Enos joined Alabama. “A tough-nosed coach whose main goal is to make you better. I think the guys at Alabama are really lucky. They will learn a lot, really quickly. Especially on the practice field. He’s really going to drill them. He’s going to make them a better quarterback with the drops, feet, eyes, know where to go with the football and things like that.

”He played the position in college so he understands what’s going through a quarterback’s mind. Then, I would say how challenging he is on the practice field. If they miss an out-route, it’s not going to be good enough for him. He expects you to be perfect out there. It’s really challenging but it makes you better.”

He’s meticulous in QB preparation and UM needs that. He puts them through intricate drills using large nets to increase accuracy. He has them work a lot on throwing on the run.

“Dan did a really great job of developing quarterbacks,” Brett Bielema, who employed Enos at Arkansas, told Razorbacks reporters a couple of years ago. “He was able to bring them along and do things during the year that we really haven’t been able to do before.”

Though a straight spread would have been exciting, UM would be sacrificing some of its skilled personnel (tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory) if it went entirely to a spread.

And Enos likely will adjust his approach to fit the personnel.

Here’s what Hurts told The Tuscoloosa News on Jan. 5: “I think he’s a great coach, a really smart football mind, and I’m bless to have him.” How he helped him: “In many different areas. Really polishing me up, taking me to the next level, getting better.”

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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