UM offensive coordinator Dan Enos says quarterbacks have improved
UM offensive coordinator Dan Enos already has displayed a penchant for giving thoughtful, substantive answers, and that was the case Monday during a speech to community leaders at the Pinecrest Tribune luncheon at Anacapri Restaurant and a subsequent interview with two reporters afterward.
Here’s part 1 of 3 parts, on what Enos had to say about the quarterback battle and choosing the Miami job over the Alabama job and others:
▪ Enos said he would like to cut the starting quarterback competition from three to two at some point before the staff picks a starter among Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams. And he made clear the offense will differ somewhat based on who’s the starter.
“Whoever wins the job we’re going to 100 percent gear it toward their skill set, do whatever they do the best,” Enos said. “Our system is built that it’s very multiple and very diverse. Once your system is in... now you decide, he’s our quarterback, these are our running backs, these are our receivers, and you gear it toward what those people do well. But you can’t start gearing it towards the people until you figure out who those people are….
“I think good coaches adapt to their personnel… The big thing is your quarterback. What’s he good at?Is he better in the pocket? Is he better outside? Is he better in the gun? Is he better under [center]? Is he a better play-action passer? Is he a guy that can read the coverage and get through his progression? You need to gear your system toward your personnel.”
So if Tate Martell wins the job, would UM gear it toward him by allowing him to play out of the shotgun, where he appears more comfortable?
“The big thing is he’s done it his whole life, so he’s probably more comfortable being in the shotgun,” Enos said. “I think good coaches tailor whatever they do around their guys. Whoever the quarterback ends up being, we’re obviously going to gear it toward their skill set, whatever that is.
“If it’s play actions, if it’s shotgun, quarterback run. Obviously, Tate is a tremendous runner. We didn’t spend a lot of time [on that] this spring. And I told him that. I’m like, ‘We already know you can run. We don’t need to practice watching you run every day. We need to develop you as a dropback passer, because the more you get better at that, the better you’re going to be.’”
▪ Enos reiterated what he said Saturday, that “all three of them made really good strides. There were a couple times in the spring where I thought, you know what, ‘I think this guy may be the guy’ and then another guy had a really good day. The last five or six practices, you saw a lot click with all three of them.”
He mentioned the three things he’s looking for in them are mastering the fundamentals, the mental side of playing the position (understanding offensive and defensive schemes, play calls and nuances) and the emotional side (handling adversity and success, handling pressure).
“I’m trying to teach them that everyone is looking at them every day when they walk in the building. They don’t know the right guard just came in. They know you just came in. How do you carry yourself in the locker room, in the academic center, in the weight room, walk into class. All these things send messages about what type of leader you are, and you need to be a guy that the team can count on.”
▪ He said the quarterback decision, to be made in August, will be based on “their entire body of work” and not just one great day. “It’s going to be the guy that has a great grasp of the offense, a guy that has built a great trusting relationship with the coaches. You’ve got to have a mind of the coach and the game of a player.”
▪ He told the three quarterbacks this in the last couple of days: “The job is going to be won in the next two months by one of you three, by your daily agenda, what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis. And you’re going to come into camp and somebody is going to seize it and it’s going to be obvious by their preparation, their ability to move the team, their ability to get us in and out of huddle, get us in our no-huddle packages, their ability to lead the team throughout the summer. All these things are going to magnify themselves when we report.”
▪ Enos has made some interesting career decisions. He confirmed that Alabama’s Nick Saban offered him the offensive coordinator job this offseason, but Enos instead decided to accept the same job at UM. (We’ve also reported that Enos had a handful of other offers, with Georgia and Pittsburgh among those who pursued him.)
And though Enos had just won a bowl game at Central Michigan and was offered an extension to remain head coach in 2015, he instead opted to leave for the offensive coordinator job at Arkansas.
“I don’t kind of like take the path everybody takes,” he said. “I don’t always do what everybody thinks you should do.”
Enos had spent only three weeks at Michigan (working for Jim Harbaugh) before Saban offered him a job as Alabama’s quarterbacks coach and associate head coach last spring.
“Coach Saban was an assistant coach at Michigan State when I played, so I had a kind of a small relationship with him,” he said.
So why did he pick UM over Alabama and other offers in January?
“Coach Diaz and I did not know each other, but we coached against each other [one Arkansas-Mississippi State game in 2015]. Coach Diaz has a great reputation of being a great defensive coach, but more importantly he had a great reputation of just being a great person, great character, integrity. Has a really good heart, family man.
“When we first started talking about the opportunity of coming in — and I am saying this in a humble way, I had an opportunity to go a few different places — and we decided to come here and a lot of that was because of coach Diaz and the vision he spoke of. I felt spiritually, morally, everything we aligned very much in the same manner as far as his vision for this program. And the great reputation of the academics here, the athletic teams they’ve had here, I feel this program is a sleeping giant, has a chance to explode. Was excited to be on the ground floor of that.”
He’s impressed after three months around Diaz.
“Coach Diaz is doing a tremendous job. This guy is organized, he’s focused, he’s driven. I’ve been around really good coaches in my 28 years, and I’ve been around not so good coaches. Coach Diaz understands what the important things are to win, and what the important things are in a program. A lot of times guys in this business get focused on the wrong things. And he’s focused on the right things.”
Of Saban, he said: “That man is unbelievable what he does on a daily basis. It’s amazing what he gets accomplished on a daily basis. You want to know why? He’s organized, he’s efficient. He’s doing the same thing today that he did 10 years ago on this day, and he doesn’t allow [anyone] ever to become complacent or get satisfied and that’s one thing all successful people have to fight at some point — complacency. And how do you fight complacency? Very easy. Having a daily agenda and attacking it and accomplish the next goal.”
Check back later for part 2, in which Enos addresses where things stand at other offensive positions besides quarterback.