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UM’s Enos on role he envisions for explosive receiver Jeff Thomas and thoughts at RB/WR

Gifted Hurricane WR Jeff Thomas speaks publicly on why he returned to UM from Illinois

UM receiver Jeff Thomas speaks publicly on April 9, 2019 for the first time since deciding to return to the Hurricanes.
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UM receiver Jeff Thomas speaks publicly on April 9, 2019 for the first time since deciding to return to the Hurricanes.

UM offensive coordinator Dan Enos on Monday addressed the quarterback situation in this piece, culled from his Pinecrect Tribune luncheon at Anacapri Restaurant and a subsequent interview with two reporters afterward.

But he also offered insight on other offensive positions:

Enos already has a vision for how he plans to use explosive receiver Jeff Thomas.

“I saw glimpses of him being a guy that can be a game changer,” Enos said. “He needs to get 10 touches a game somehow, someway. We need to give him the ball in space.”

Enos loves the potential of the tight end group.

“Very exciting. Brevin [Jordan] you obviously see the athleticism. I didn’t see a lot of him because of the [knee] injury. Watching tape last year and watching him move around in our winter conditioning program, I see a lot of positives.

“Will Mallory had a great spring. He bought in to everything. He learned it, he studied it. He showed tremendous ball skills and body control. And I’ve got to be honest with you – Michael Irvin had a really good spring, too, and was very impressive to me. I’m very excited about that group. I think that group has a chance to be very productive for us.”

Enos spoke of finding a role for four running backs - Cam’Ron Harris, DeeJay Dallas, Lorenzo Lingard and Robert Burns. He also plans to use a fullback at times, with Realus George and walk-on Mike Parrott available there.

Lingard missed all of spring after last fall’s knee surgery and Burns missed much of spring to have minor knee surgery.

“I haven’t seen Lingard yet but I’ve heard great things about him,” Enos said of one of only two five-star Rivals recruits on the roster, along with receiver Mark Pope.

“I think Cam’Ron and DeeJay had a really good spring,” Enos added. “I like how they played, how they catch the ball, how they try to block. I like them and Robert Burns; a little bit of the time we saw him, he’s a big, physical guy. I think there’s a chance we can have a role for all four of those guys for sure. Another group I’m really excited about.”

Enos, on the offensive line, where UM will need to rely on mostly unproven young players:

“The line, the big thing is the continuity, getting all the guys healthy and getting them in the spot they’re going to play,” Enos said. “[Offensive line coach Butch] Barry was shuffling them in, tackle, guard, no continuity. But I do like the group. I think the group is going to be good and it’s going to get better. Coach Barry is an outstanding coach. He’s a technician. They were so much better fundamentally by the end of spring.”

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“I can’t say it’s the best of this or the best of that,” he said. “I see a really good solid group between the backs, tight ends and the receivers. Jeff Thomas, we didn’t get a chance to see very much, I think he can be an elite player. Mike Harley, we didn’t get to see very much. I’m anxious to see the receivers.

“Who’s going to emerge? We need three of them to emerge as: ‘these are our three guys and then a fourth and fifth that are developing and getting better.’ There are signs and flashes from a lot of them but that’s the one group I don’t have a great feel for with the injuries. Brian Hightower got hurt too.

“I’ve got to get a better feel. I do think there’s talent in that group. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Who’s going to be the Z? Who’s going to be the X? And where they’re all going to fit.”

Overall offensively, “it’s been kind of a frustrating spring but a rewarding spring. It’s like teaching somebody a new language… We got better as the spring went on. We got kind of demolished a little bit at the beginning of the spring but ended up having a pretty good spring.”

Enos said: “I’ve had opportunities to coach in the NFL and I haven’t done it. Maybe I will some day. But I love being with the 19, 20 year olds.... It’s rewarding to watch these guys grow up, watch them get better.”

Here’s my Monday piece on Enos addressing the quarterback situation, Nick Saban, and why he chose the UM job over the Alabama job and other offers in January.

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