Nick Saban promoting Dan Enos is a reminder that nobody rolls with the punches like the G.O.A.T.
Since December 2016, 5 people have held the title “Alabama offensive coordinator.”
Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley and now, reportedly, Dan Enos all have that high on their respective résumés. Everyone, with the exception of the recently-promoted Alabama quarterbacks coach, used it as a stepping stone to become an FBS head coach or an NFL offensive coordinator.
I imagine that when each had to face Saban to tell him that they were all leaving, they did so by walking into his office, saying “thanks for everything” with a firm handshake and a quick exit. Given the amount of 5-star recruits and established stars on the offensive side, it can’t be fun for Saban knowing that inevitable conversation is coming at season’s end.
Staff continuity? What’s that? Is that, like, when an offensive coordinator stays for more than a season?
But I also imagine that each time Alabama’s offensive coordinator leaves, he basically treats it like they were working for him at a telemarketing firm.
“Just remember to disinfect and turn in your headset before you go.”
Saban has no reason to sweat. His ability to hire people — the right people — to fill that position is why Alabama is 27-2 since December 2016. Whether that’s promoting from within like he did with Locksley and now, reportedly, Enos (I guess technically Sarkisian, too) or plucking an NFL assistant like Daboll, Saban deserves more credit for how he’s been able to weather the storm at such a key position.
Let’s not forget that while Saban is indeed “the G.O.A.T.,” he isn’t a G.O.A.T. offensive mind. With all the potential scrutiny one faces for trouble-shooting those midseason offensive issues, that job ain’t easy. We all remember how much heat Daboll took when Alabama’s offense struggled against the better SEC teams last year. It’s not a given that Alabama’s overload of talent is going to be put in the best spots to succeed.
It’s easy to forget that in a season like this one. Alabama boasts the nation’s No. 2 offense having scored at least 35 points in 11 of 13 games this year.
Enos and Locksley received a ton of credit for that. Well, at least they should have. Locksley implemented a lot more of the downfield passing game into the offense while Enos not only helped develop Tua Tagovailoa but Jalen Hurts, as well. Hurts’ improvement as a passer was on full display in the SEC Championship Game when Alabama trailed late. Does he pull off a comeback like that as the player he was in 2017 or 2016? Probably not.
It’s incredible to think that Alabama’s offense has actually become more dynamic since Kiffin left early for FAU 2 years ago. It felt like most expected that group to take a significant step back after that, especially when Sarkisian frustrated fans with his play-calling down the stretch in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship loss to Clemson.
It’s almost like Saban took exception to the notion that Alabama’s offense would falter in a post-Kiffin world. All he did was bring in the exact right coaches to steady the ship and get it sailing even faster than before.
Part of the reason that Saban promoted Locksley last year was to not rock the boat for recruiting. Skeptics might have called it hiring fatigue, while others inside the program might have just recognized how players responded to Locksley.
The same case could be made for Enos, who at this time just over a year ago, was probably wondering what his next step would be after getting canned as a member of Bret Bielema’s Arkansas staff. Saban, as he often does, gave a fired assistant another chance and was again rewarded for doing so. Enos, Saban said, has improved Alabama’s quarterback room by getting rid of any tendencies of pre-determining their throws before the snap.
Um, no wonder Hurts made such significant strides in 2018.
And really, it’s no wonder why Saban decided to promote Enos. It seemed like a forgone conclusion that if Locksley got another crack at a head coaching gig, Enos or Hugh Freeze would be the top choices to take the position. We don’t know what exactly those conversations with Freeze — or more important Greg Sankey — were like, but we do know that Enos earned the right to join the ever-growing fraternity of Alabama offensive coordinators.
He’s been an integral part of leading what will likely go down as the most high-powered Alabama offense we’ve ever seen. For at least another year, Saban will sleep well knowing that he hired the right person to run his offense.
Well, assuming Enos doesn’t pull a Sarkisian.