Tide can turn for ’Canes

Hir­ing of Alabama guru Enos is ex­pected to en­er­gize Mi­ami of­fense

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

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.

VASHA HUNT/AP

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