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Film Room: Dan Enos offense- Arkansas versus Auburn 2015

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A 4 OT thriller worth of talking points

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Enos arrived at Arkansas as the offensive coordinator after a five year stint as the head football coach at Central Michigan. Before Enos arrived, the Razorbacks had the 22nd ranked offense per the S&P+. By the end of the 2015 season they were ranked 4th overall on that side of the football. Enos took the position knowing full well Bret “Borderline Erotic” Bielema wanted to run the same ground-and-pound offense he had at Wisconsin, and that Alabama had built their dynasty upon in Tuscaloosa.

Enos took advantage of pro style looks and tight ends, but his quarterback threw for 3,440 yards and 30 touchdowns in year one. He also enjoyed the athletic prowess of running back Alex Collins. Collins ran for 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015. Tight end Hunter Henry caught 51 balls for 739 yards, too.


Play-Action

In 21 personnel, Enos calls play-action on 1st and 10. There’s a lot of conversation about what the right play calling sequence is in this era of football.

I personally feel those stats are skewed by run-pass options. It’s nearly impossible to decipher called runs that resulted in passes because of RPO’s unless you are someone with absolutely no social life (I have cats, dammit!) and/or are a quality control analyst and I am neither.

In the play at hand, Arkansas is in 21 personnel while Auburn is in a 4-3 defense with 2 high safeties. You’re getting a classic west coast passing concept with the tight end running a corner and the outside receiver running a post. They cross paths late and this causes the need for a “banjo” or switch call in their man coverage. Henry sits in space and Allen has the accuracy to find him. You can see a lot of this in what Nic Foles does for the Eagles. It’s not about arm strength but in the perfect speed, arc and placement of the football.

I used to run this a lot when I was the offensive coordinator in a west coast offense because you force the coverage to switch or be eaten alive and there’s always a dump off route in case of pressure to a back in the flat in the WCO. Enos will have Brevin Jordan, a slew of talented running backs and outside receivers like Brian Hightower, Dee Wiggins and maybe even Jeff Thomas to run the post routes.

Enos runs a wing-t staple against the Tigers with a jet sweep. I actually prefer the jet sweep from under center because it’s harder to see the mesh than from the shotgun. The Patriots, Chiefs, and Eagles have all ran the play for great success in the playoffs this weekend.

1st and 10 and again the Razorbacks go with a play-action pass. The Tigers have almost 8 in the box and Enos takes advantage of that. The linebacker playing hook-curl to flat gets stuck in a bind. He has to cover the back in the flat but has the tight end running a wheel across his face. He gets stuck in the middle and the cornerback and safety are stuck on the post route from the outside WR.

When I get off schedule and behind the chains, like on 2nd and 10, I too like to call a screen of some kind. Whether a double screen, tunnel, middle or this running back screen. It’s important to keep the defensive line off balance and run something safe that you have ran for positive yards all season. Miami has quality backs at or around the level of Collins and now it will be about getting the offensive line to work at the level you see in the GIF below.

Henry, the tight end, is put in motion right before we pick up in the play and Enos calls what looks like “Mesh.” Mesh is one of my favorite concepts as it works against any coverage. It takes protection from the offensive line to be truly effective and great timing. The slot almost gets too close to the TE but they get enough separation to make it work. This is all about finding space and feeling the linebackers on you, sort of like basketball.

You know I felt like I popped a Blue Chew seeing Enos’ red zone call here. Instead of the heavy reliance on the red zone fade on 4th and 3, Enos calls up that inside slant route for a touchdown. It’s just a relief to see someone play the middle of the field in the red zone, but also he didn’t cram down with tight ends and fullbacks. Instead he actually widened out and drew Auburn out horizontally before attacking midfield again.

Here the Hogs motion a tight end into the back field and run power on 1st and goal for a touchdown. Miami fans want multiple sets, personnel groups and motions- Enos is going to bring those to the table and run a classic wing-t staple like power to boot. Imagine Brevin Jordan motioning into the backfield and Cam’Ron Davis or Deejay Dallas pounding the rock on power.


Summary

I’m sure you can tell in my writing that I’m excited for what Enos brings to the Miami offense. He’s going to run multiple formations, motions, shifts, and personnel groups while taking advantage of mismatches. He needs a good quarterback to succeed with that amount of stuff in the playbook and Jalen Hurts will have a small learning curve with him already knowing the coaching points, reads, terminology, etc that Enos will use.

The concern I have is that Enos didn’t sign Brandon or Austin Allen, nor did he sign Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts. Miami needs someone that can finally sign a capable quarterback as the best freshman signee at QB for Miami in the past 15 years has been Brad Kaaya. Miami has the backfield, tight ends, and potential in the receiving corps to give Enos a lot to work with.