Sunny side up
Enos: UM, Diaz ‘on the cusp of doing some great things’
CORAL GABLES — In his one season as Alabama’s quarterbacks coach, Dan Enos helped groom Tua Tagovailoa into a Heisman Trophy finalist.
His other high-profile protege — Jalen Hurts — improved his game dramatically and came off the bench in the SEC Championship Game to lead the Crimson Tide not only to a come-from-behind win over Georgia and a conference title, but another berth in the College Football Playoff.
When former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley left Tuscaloosa to take the head coaching job at Maryland, all signs started pointing to Enos taking over as Alabama’s new offensive coordinator.
Then first-year Miami coach Manny Diaz entered the fray and offered Enos the opportunity to become the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator.
Miami couldn’t offer up the roster of five-star prospects Alabama could. The Hurricanes’ quarterback situation was underwhelming last season, with neither Malik Rosier or N’Kosi Perry doing enough to consistently hang on to the starting job. And Miami posted some of the worst offensive numbers in the country in 2018, a fact only highlighted by the Hurricanes’ dismal performance in their embarrassing season-ending 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl less than two weeks earlier.
But somehow, with Alabama and even fellow SEC power Georgia interested, Diaz was able to bring Enos to Coral Gables. The hire, announced Friday, created a buzz not only among Miami fans, but across the southeast, where many college football fans couldn’t help but wonder why Enos would give up the opportunity to coach at a powerhouse program with a proven winner in Nick Saban to take over the offense at Miami.
Enos, himself, shared his thoughts on the topic Friday during a podcast with SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly in Arkansas.
“There’s so much more to it than just the naked eye of ‘Well, they have good players coming back, why wouldn’t you want to stay there?’ That’s not how we can think, how I can think, how we can live our lives,” Enos told Mattingly.
“Our lives are about trying to do what’s best in the long run, for our families and for our situations and also trying to balance that with a career and being able to do things and accomplish goals that I would like to accomplish. … The Miami thing was less about Alabama and more about the Miami situation, how we just felt a really strong pull to be there, to help a program that I believe is on the cusp of doing some great things with a coach that has a great vision.”
Both Diaz and Enos have mentioned since Friday that neither had any particularly deep connections with each other before their conversations in recent days.
The two never coached or worked together — but they did coach against each other and that, both have said, forged their mutual respect.
“I think that’s really where it began, just a respect for what he had done and some of the offenses that he had coached,” Diaz said after announcing the hire. “But when sort of word got to me that he had an interest in our job, I was floored by that because I had so much respect for him. And I understood where he was and that he had a good job.
“The fact he felt like the best thing for him and his family was to come to the University of Miami was quite humbling. Like I mentioned, we had the chance to communicate a few times and share what our vision is of what type of environment we want to create in terms of something great for the young men in the locker room and something great for the staff.”
Added Enos, “We’d competed against each other. He has a great reputation in this business as being not only a very good coach, but a very good person, a very well rounded person with priorities and morals and everything all in the right place. [He’s] a family man. We competed against each other, so I think there was a respect there [that] he had for me, of having to prepare for offenses I’ve been a part of in the past as well. Again, once we started to talk and got deep into the discussions philosophically on what he was looking for and what he expected, and the vision he had for the program and the offense, we just felt like it was going to be a very good match.”
As to what’s next for Enos and the Hurricanes’ offense, at this point, neither coach has delved into specifics about the system that will be run moving forward.
Diaz has made it clear he wants the Hurricanes to be innovative and aggressive and he believes Enos — who ran a pro-style offense during his three years at Arkansas before joining Saban’s staff at Alabama — can deliver on that.
At Arkansas, in 2015, Enos’ offense generated
465.5 yards per game and
6.83 yards per play, which ranked 12th in the country.
Those numbers dropped to 428.4 and 6.03, respectively, in 2016 and
373.4 and 5.59 in 2017, but Arkansas was one of two FBS programs that had both a 3,000-yard passer and 1,300-yard rusher in both 2015 and 2016, according to BamaOnline.com.
His track record eventually appealed to Saban enough to bring Enos to Tuscaloosa and ultimately, impressed Diaz, too.
“We brought Dan [in] for him to do what he believes are the best ways to move the football and score points. Certainly they’ve had a lot of success this past year at Alabama. He broke all kinds of records when he was coaching at Arkansas. He’s a very creative play-caller, has a great knack for presenting things that look the same and then having counters off of those,” Diaz said. “Again, it’s hard to get into the specifics of [what] you’ll see ... differently for sure. But again, the main thing I want to see is I want to see a team that’s highly competitive. I want to see a team that plays with great toughness. I want to see a team that uses our speed and the athletes that we have to put constant stress on the defense that we play against.”
“The Miami thing was less about Alabama and more about the Miami situation ... to help a program that I believe is on the cusp of doing some great things with a coach that has a great vision.” — New Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos on a podcast with SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly in Arkansas
Dan Enos was in line to potentially become the Alabama’s next offensive coordinator. He decided to take that same job at Miami with first-year coach Manny Diaz instead.