Tide can turn for ’Canes
Hiring of Alabama guru Enos is expected to energize Miami offense
CORAL GABLES — New Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz has his offensive coordinator.
After days of speculation about who would be hired to fix Miami’s beleaguered offense, Diaz has chosen former Alabama associate head coach and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos to do just that, Miami announced Friday afternoon.
“Dan was a guy that was the No. 1 choice all along,” Diaz said. “It was a long process in order to get it secured with [Alabama] playing in the national championship game. That changed our timetable and the ability to be able to finish the deal. We wanted to be very respectful about that.
“But this is the guy that met every requirement of what we were looking for as an offensive coordinator, and the most exciting thing is that he believes in the University of Miami. He believes in what we can accomplish here and is really excited to get down here and get going.”
Diaz’s hire of Enos is quite the coup for the first-time head coach.
According to multiple reports out of Alabama, Enos was in line to become the Crimson Tide’s head coach. Georgia was reportedly interested as well.
But Enos — who will also serve as Miami’s quarterbacks coach — chose to join Diaz
and the Hurricanes in Coral Gables.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join a program as rich in tradition as the University of Miami,” he said in a statement. “Coach Diaz has a clear vision for this program as we move forward and it’s an honor to help build the Hurricanes in his image. This was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up.”
A 28-year coaching veteran, Enos has not only spent time at Alabama under Nick Saban, but he worked as an assistant at Michigan, Arkansas, Michigan State and Cincinnati. Enos was also the head coach at Central Michigan from 2010 through 2014.
During Enos’ three-year stint as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas, the Razorbacks set multiple school records on offense. In 2015, the Razorbacks set a single-season record for first downs (305) and completion percentage (65.8) while posting the school’s second-best mark in total yardage (6,051) and its second-best mark in yards per play (6.83).
Enos joined the Crimson Tide last year and helped Alabama continue its dominance in the Southeastern Conference and beyond. Alabama led the nation in team passing efficiency and ranked third in scoring offense (45.6 points per game). The Crimson Tide were sixth in both total offense (522 yards per game) and passing offense (323.6 yards).
“I also want to express my sincere appreciation to Nick Saban and the Alabama program for giving me the opportunity to coach there this past season,” Enos’ statement continued. “I learned so much during my time there and I will always be grateful.”
After working with an offense that was among the nation’s best, Enos will now try to fix an offense that was among the worst.
While the Hurricanes defense thrived under Diaz in 2018, their offense averaged 358.8 yards per game, which ranked 105th nationally. Miami’s 5.6 yards per play ranked 75th among FBS teams and its 167.3 passing yards per game was 113th.
All of that prompted Diaz to fire all of Miami’s offensive coaches shortly after he took over, a move he described as one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. Dismissed were former offensive coordinator and running backs coach Thomas Brown, former offensive line coach Stacy Searels, former receivers coach Ron Dugans and former quarterbacks coach Jon Richt.
Former coach Mark Richt, who retired abruptly on Dec. 30, had served as Miami’s primary playcaller last season. Enos will also be tasked with helping develop a quarterbacks room that seemingly struggled on and off the field.
Veteran quarterback Malik Rosier, who alternated starts with rising redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry, graduated after appearing in eight games last season and completing 53 percent of his passes for 1,053 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Perry, meanwhile, appeared in 11 games and completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Inconsistency on the field wasn’t Perry’s only issue. The quarterback also was forced to deal with multiple embarrassing social media issues and a suspension the first week of the season.
The Hurricanes’ other two young quarterbacks — rising redshirt sophomore Cade Weldon and rising redshirt freshman Jarren Williams — also dealt with suspensions, often prompting Richt to address the need for maturity in UM’s quarterbacks room.
“I’m excited about the impact this can make in the quarterbacks room,” Diaz said. “I’m excited about what this can do for the guys we have on our campus.
“I think Dan’s got an outstanding reputation as a great developer of quarterbacks, and certainly the work he did this past year at the University of Alabama with their guys and the way they played was quite remarkable. The greatest QB passer rating in college football history — that’s quite an accomplishment. Getting the guys on our campus to maximize their potential, I think, still overcomes anything [we can do] scheme-wise.
“That being said, I think Dan is one of the most creative play-callers in all of college football. He was highly sought by other schools in the Southeastern Conference that he turned down to come to the University of Miami, and like I said he meets the requirements of what we felt our guys needed to have the greatest chance for success on offense.”
Since taking over as Miami’s coach after Richt’s retirement, Diaz has made it clear the Hurricanes need to improve quarterback play. While he reiterated Friday that Perry, Williams and Weldon will all have the opportunity to compete for the starting job, Diaz is not opposed to bringing in a potential transfer who could help.
There too Enos might be able to provide some immediate assistance after working with former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has entered his name into the NCAA’s transfer database and could be leaving Tuscaloosa himself. Hurts, who has already graduated, has one year of eligibility left and would be able to play immediately were he to officially transfer from Alabama.
It wouldn’t be a shock if he chose to reunite with Enos in Coral Gables.
Last season, Hurts completed 73 percent of his passes as the backup to Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts was 26-2 as Alabama’s starter before being replaced by Tagovailoa and has championship experience.
While Diaz could not comment on Hurts specifically because the quarterback has not signed with Miami, he acknowledged in general terms what a player of Hurts’ caliber could bring to the Hurricanes, especially when paired with Enos.
“We’re going to look from Miami to Maine, from Los Angeles to Seattle and anywhere beyond for the players that can help us play quarterback — understanding the ones we have on our campus, that we’ve got to get those guys to maximize their potential and find out how really good they are,” Diaz said. “We’ve seen the glimpses of what they really can be.
“Everybody wants to talk about quarterback. We know we have to get that fixed, but that’s true at every position. Where we feel the team was deficient in any way we have to create competition and get the guys ready to compete right away.”
Barry reportedly hired as new UM O-line coach: Diaz said Friday he expected to announce the potential hire of two more offensive coaches on Saturday, and it seems one of those may be coming from the NFL ranks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant offensive line coach Butch Barry is reportedly set to take over as UM’s offensive line coach, according to Fox Sports/FS1 and The Athletic writer Bruce Feldman.
A Miami spokesman did not comment on the report and the school has not issued an official announcement.