FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Just because Dan Enos isn’t a head coach anymore doesn’t mean has hasn’t brought big-picture thinking to his new job as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator.
It’s an approach, one focused on attention to detail, that Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema has appreciated during Enos’ early tenure in Fayetteville.
Enos was hired at Arkansas in January, leaving behind his job as head coach at Central Michigan after five seasons. The move was a curious one, given the perceived step down, but the high-profile nature of the Southeastern Conference made it one Enos couldn’t resist.
Since his arrival, Enos – who called the plays while head coach at Central Michigan – has appeared in his element while focused solely on the offensive side of the ball. The former Michigan State quarterback has also earned the praise of the No. 18 Razorbacks and the respect of Bielema, who played and coached against Enos during his career.
Bielema said Enos’ head-coaching roots have been best displayed with his ”tedious” approach on the practice field, as well as during meetings when asked to address the entire team.
”Dan’s been through the fire,” Bielema said. ”He’s made some very valid points, and I know only a head coach thinks that way.”
Bielema hired Enos to replace Jim Chaney, who left for the same job at Pittsburgh, because of his commitment to a balanced, pro-style offense. He took over an Arkansas offense loaded with talent and experience, particularly with fifth-year quarterback Brandon Allen entering his third season at the starter.
Allen is on his fourth offensive coordinator with the Razorbacks, and he said while there some been some ”tweaks” in the offense, Enos’ ability to make the playbook ”look complex while remaining simple” has been the transition a smooth one.
”I’ve been through a lot of different people,” Allen said. ”As soon as we started going through the offense, and he started explain it and the concepts to us, I was excited for it and ready to practice it.”
While Enos’ impact on the offense won’t be clear until the season starts, Allen said he’s already won over the players by balancing a ”player’s coach” approach with the fairness of holding the Razorbacks accountable on the practice field.
For his part, Enos said the experience of being a head coach has helped him understand where Bielema is coming from when he addresses certain issues with the players and coaches.
He also said Bielema has trusted him to run the offense without micro-managing, another benefit of their similar belief in offensive philosophy.
”I just try to handle our offense similarly to how I handled our team (at Central Michigan),” Enos said. ”(Bielema) told me when he hired me, `You’re the head coach of the offense,’ so it’s been a very smooth transition that way.”