Behind the numbers: Dan Enos offenses
Former Central Michigan head coach, Arkansas OC, Dan Enos is one of a few new Michigan football hires. Let’s take a look back at the ranks of units he’s manned in the past using S&P+ starting with his most recent stop (2017 Arkansas OC/QB coach) and going all the way back to when S&P started (2005, when Enos was the QB coach at Cincinnati):
Data from before and after Enos is included where possible to satisfy the “Well it was Central. What do you expect?” crowd. Only units that were under Enos’s direct purview are included.
|'17||Offense S&P+ Rank, 43||Passing S&P+ Rank, 47|
Those 2015 numbers though! This is the performance Michigan fans are hoping for. That 2015 Arkansas passing offense + Michigan’s likely world-beating 2018 defense = playoff contender.
The rest of the story here is a little concerning. After a huge leap, the ranks regress every year to the point of being worse than before Enos got there. 2015’s quarterback Brandon Allen made Second-Team All-SEC and tight end Hunter Henry won the Mackey, but neither player was adequately replaced after leaving for the NFL after the 2015 season.
Well how’d he do at Central? I seem to remember them having some decent MAC teams at around that time. Since he was the head coach I included overall S&P+ and offense S&P+ since he’s an offensive coach:
|'15 post-Enos||S&P+ Overall Rank, 78||S&P+ Offensive Rank, 82|
CMU got worse as a team under Enos. It went from an average D1 team before Enos to bad D1 team during Enos and improved to slightly below average when Enos left.
The offensive unit that was likely under his control fared worse. It went from good to bad, then stayed bad (although 82nd would have been the second-best year under Enos) when Enos left.
His time as Michigan State’s RB coach follows a similar pattern to his time as Arkansas’s OC:
|'10 (post-Enos||Rushing S&P+ Rank, 32|
First year: good improvement. Second and third year: regresses to worse than before he was there. Post-Enos: big improvement.
His one year as State’s QB Coach would be downright alarming if it wasn’t so short:
|'07 (post-Enos)||Passing S&P+ Rank, 18|
Good before he got there. Bad while he was in charge. Good as soon as he was moved to RBs.
For what it’s worth, here’s the Passing S&P+ numbers for 2005 when he was the QB coach at Cincinnati, as far back as the S&P+ ranking system goes:
|'06 (post-Enos)||Passing S&P+ Rank, 22|
There seems to a trend here.
There aren’t that many pro style offensive coaches out there anymore, and the good ones probably coach at powerhouses and would be hard to lure away as position coaches. Criticisms of running an offensive scheme that you can’t find quality coaches for seem valid.
This may be an over-correction for hiring Greg Frey last year, who comes from a spread background and implemented an ill-fated zone run-blocking scheme that was thankfully aborted mid-season.
Enos is a pro-style guy through and through. The coaching message will at least be consistent if not good.
But Michigan fans are left having to hope Enos’s stewardship of a raw but talented receiving corp is a lot more like 2015 or 2007 for Enos and a lot less like, well, every other year of his career since 2005. Those are low odds.