New Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz has chosen former Alabama quarterbacks coach and associate head coach Dan Enos to lead Miami’s offense.
Hours after Miami announced the hire of new offensive coordinator Dan Enos from Alabama, Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz shared his thoughts on not only the hire, but the state of Miami’s offense as a whole.
And as one might expect, Diaz foresees better things ahead for a Hurricanes offense that struggled at times during Miami’s disappointing 7-6 season.
Here is what he had to say about the process of bringing Enos to Coral Gables, the impact he expects the coach will have on Miami’s quarterbacks, recruiting, graduate transfers and more, in his own words.
On the hire of Dan Enos:
“We’re so excited to announce Dan Enos as our offensive coordinator. He’s been … Dan was a guy that was the No. 1 choice all along. It was a long process in order to get it secured. Obviously, with them 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.”
On how he expects the offense to change now:
“Well, specifically, let’s just focus on player development. I’m excited about the impact this can make in the quarterbacks room. 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 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 out by other schools in the Southeastern Conference that he turned down to come to the University of Miami and like I said, he just … he meets the requirements of what we felt like our guys needed to have the greatest chance for success on offense.”
On whether he expects the offense to change and become more of a spread-style offense:
“I’m going to refer back to what I said in the press conference. It’s just too oversimplistic to try to be defined by one term, spread or pro-style. The way college football has evolved, so many things have melded into one. What is the pro-style offense when I see the Kansas City Chiefs running so many concepts you see in college football now? Like I’ve mentioned, we want to be an offense first and foremost that causes problems for the defense, that understands what defenses are trying to accomplish and then goes about putting them under conflict and putting them under stress. We want an offense that uses our personnel that we have to find out what our guys can do and uses them to the best of their ability. I’m sure Dan is excited to see what we’ve got in the locker room, to see what we’ve got in the recruiting class, to see what targets are out there and get them in a system that gives them the greatest chance for success.”
On his ties to Dan Enos and how well they knew each other:
“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. 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. … We want this to be a place where the staff can really enjoy an outstanding standard of life.”
On the expectation that Dan Enos might be able to help on the recruiting front, particularly with transfers:
“The best way I can answer that, is really, the messaging has all been the same since the press conference last week, which is we’re going to do whatever we can to improve our quarterback situation. Me hiring Dan is improving the quarterback situation. I think our guys that are on campus will benefit working underneath him. But, again, we’re exploring every option that’s out there at every level to come in and create competition to get our guys to play championship level football, really, starting next August.”
On the timeline for filling out the rest of the offensive staff:
“Without a doubt, there will be one hire announced [Saturday], hopefully, two. So many times, these things are held up in just sort of getting the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted. And I imagine the final two will happen in short order … Everybody gave me a hard time for trying to set a timetable at the press conference, but I think on this side of the hire, everybody understands why we were in a delicate situation and we had to let this breathe and I go back to the messaging in the press conference. It was about getting it right and not the timetable. We had to respect Dan’s timetable and try to do things in a first-class manner and I think, ultimately, we got to where we wanted. We got the right guy. We got our guy.”
As the Hurricanes get ready to begin their final recruiting pushes ahead of National Signing Day, new coach Manny Diaz finds himself in a tough position. Miami is coming off a bad year, has no offensive coordinator and top-notch South Florida players are looking elsewhere. Can he turn the tide?
“I think more realistically … we’ve got a staff of guys that are out. I think realistically with Dan and the imminent new hires, we’re having a team meeting Sunday night and the No. 1 guys we’ve got to recruit are the guys that are on our campus and get a chance to get in front of them and really explain our vision. It seems like it’s been a long time, but we still have not come together as a football team since the hire was announced. Sunday night will be a big deal in terms of recruiting the guys that are currently Miami Hurricanes and some of our new enrollees and then we’ll hit the ground running from there.”
On whether transfer season needs to be part of the calendar now:
“I think this is new to all of us throughout college football. I think everyone was aware this was going to become more and more common. But, more than anything, it still comes down to the basis of recruiting, which is who fits, what’s the best way you can improve your football team, what’s the best way you can improve your locker room, but it’s got to be a fit. Not just in terms of talent-wise, but in terms of who they are as a person. You have to do your research. Why would a guy be leaving a particular school? I do think this is going to become part of the new normal in college football and you have to be able to, at times, move quickly with the way things are going.”
On whether graduate transfers are approached and recruited the same way as high school prospects:
“We’ve had, in our minds, great success the last three years with graduate transfers, speaking even specifically on defense with Adrian Colbert, Dee Delaney and Tito Odenigbo this past year, all three guys really had a great, great season. All three guys, two of the three are in the NFL and Tito is bound for the NFL. They all really improved their stocks. They were all at a position of need. You still have to assess your whole football team when you go out recruiting in terms of, what are your immediate needs? Why would you bring in a guy of age in front of the guys you have?
“With Adrian and Dee’s situations, we were so young at corner, we were down on some scholarships in the secondary. With Tito’s situation a year ago, [we had] Kendrick [Norton] and RJ [McIntosh] leaving. It’s a constantly fluid state of affairs because you have to understand your roster, your roster which is changing sometimes with guys that are leaving early or you may have guys transfer off your own football team. So, it is a situation where you have to be available [to] whoever’s out there. Of course the portal sort of does make that easier now. But, the No. 1 thing is you have to understand who you are and what the needs of your football team are.”
On whether the offense will look different schematically…
“Well, I’m sure there will be things that will present differently whether its formationally or pre-snap movements, pro-snap sort of schemes that may be harder for the naked eye to detect. We brought Dan 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. Again, it’s hard to get into the specifics of you’ll see this 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.”
On the process of putting the staff together and waiting for guys to become available…
“This has been such a key part because really, when I spoke to you all at the press conference last week, Dan really was the No. 1 choice when I was speaking to you that day. I don’t know when that was, but it feels like it was a month ago. It’s akin to recruiting because you have to try to sell your vision, but you have to wait and there was a certain reason why today had to be the day. There’s always a fear because as time goes on you worry about different things happening and different opportunities come about, which there were for him. Like I said, he’s a very highly coveted football coach.
“You really hope that the mutual interest and the agreement would basically get it across the finish line. There’s definitely some nervous moments because you know that this is sort of the big piece of the puzzle and then we can really surround him with some outstanding coaches that can really help our football team. Now, that this is done, I feel outstanding, really feel great about being able to fill it out with guys that really complement Dan well, to create an offensive staff that really has a great alignment and synergy, and really matches what we want to do on our entire football staff.”
On the importance of getting recruits back on campus with official visits after all the changes to the staff and program:
“That’s absolutely something that we will take advantage of because we want them to see the difference. As I mentioned at the press conference, a lot of what is at the heart of the program is still there. So, a lot of the reasons they were interested in Miami, all of that still exists, all of the great things that we have to offer academically. But they’ll get it from our players. Because our players will, very quickly this week, grasp the different energy in the building, the different level of excitement in the building. These guys have been texting me all day. I want the recruits to get a feel of that. I want them to sort of understand the place they saw perhaps in December is not the same place in January.”
On the importance getting graduate transfers on offense because of Miami’s inexperience on offense:
“Anytime you’re talking about a graduate transfer we’re trying to assess what would be the reason for that. A lot of times it comes down to sheer numbers where you might be light for whatever reason. Maybe a guy transferred or you had some guys that were unable to play anymore. Sometimes it’s a maturity thing. You want to bring in an older guy. Adrian Colbert made such an important impression on our secondary that was on campus when he showed up, with just his work ethic and the way he set the tone and I think everybody in the secondary room benefited from that. Sometimes you just need that age.
“One of the reasons I think we’ve had great success with the grad transfers is because they come in and they see it differently. They know this is their last go-around. They’re not getting recruited for recruiting’s sake anymore. They have a much more realistic idea of what college football is all about and what it is they’re looking for and then when they show up on your campus, they’re there to work. Because they know this is their last go around. They know every lift takes on an added importance. Every run. Every practice. Every meeting. Going to class, whatever it is, this is the final go-around and they have a little bit of a different sense of urgency around them when they see the world that way.”
On whether he’ll be hiring the offensive coaches or whether it will be done in conjunction with Dan Enos:
“You’ve heard me talk before — I’m such a humongous believer in unity of thought and synergy and everybody being on the same page and having guys that are comfortable working together. I thought it was such an important part of our defensive success the last three years. So, I certainly want that as an entire staff and I wanted it for whatever offensive coordinator I brought in, I wanted him to have that feeling. So, there’s no doubt there was some dialogue on potential candidates. You still have to hire who we feel is best for the University of Miami. But at the same time, we could have some familiarity and some background, where I’m very comfortable with who these guys are and Dan is very comfortable with who these guys are. I think that was exciting to Dan and I think that’s what Dan was really looking forward to – being somewhere he can really sort of put together a staff of guys that really all believe in the same things and are guys you want to come to work with every day.”
On re-recruiting his own players and whether he worries whether any quarterback on the roster might transfer:
“No. I’m excited about them coming and competing. I think they all know that they have a clean slate. I think they know that they’ll be evaluated on really what they do going forward. I said all along -- we are looking for the solution. If the solution is in Coral Gables, then that’s fantastic. If the solution is outside Coral Gables, that’s fantastic. If bringing someone from the outside spurs one of our guys to bring his level to where the point where they can uphold the standard of being the quarterback at the University of Miami, outstanding. This is an equal opportunity employer. We do not care who plays quarterback for us. But we do care that it’s played at the standard that the great ones have come before have set.
“I think the big winners today are our guys on campus. But we’ve got to have a competition and I think that’s what’s going to bring out the best in all these guys as a competitor. And the team has to see it. The team wants to know your quarterback is a competitor. The team wants to know your quarterback has got toughness about him. I think the way they conduct themselves coming back in the meeting on Sunday and then the very first lift or run this week will be [important]. How you do anything is how you do everything. So, they’ll realize everything they do is being measured and being watched by every person in that locker room.”
On reports Jalen Hurts is in the transfer database and interested in Miami:
“Like I mentioned before I can’t comment on any one player specifically, but I told you in the press conference, 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 got to get those guys to maximize their potential and find out how really good they are. We’ve seen the glimpses of what they really can be. Nothing has changed, really. Everything we talked about a week ago is still the same. Everybody wants to talk about quarterback, we know we have to get that fixed. But that’s true at every position. Where we feel like the team was deficient in any way, we have to go create competition and get the guys ready to compete right away.”