Alabama Football: What Locksley to Enos transition will mean for Tide offense


Alabama football is in a transitional phase with offensive coordinators. Game planning for the Playoffs will not change but recruiting could be impacted.

Alabama football fans know Mike Locksley will work for two schools over the next few weeks. Having a coordinator in that situation is not new for Nick Saban. Crimson Tide fans know from the Jeremy Pruitt and Kirby Smart transitions, a dual-roled coordinator can work. But it does not always work as the Kiffin to Sarkisian mess showed in 2016-17.

There is no expectation the current transition will not go smoothly with Mike Locksley. If for some unexpected reason, it does not, Dan Enos would be prepared to step up. Though not yet officially announced by Nick Saban, Enos will apparently take over as OC, as soon as the CFB Playoffs end.

The current Crimson Tide, quarterbacks coach, Enos has plenty of OC experience. He has also been a head coach. Nick Saban has known Enos going back to Saban as a Michigan State assistant while Enos was a Michigan State QB. The term ‘quarterback whisperer’ may be thrown out too often. It certainly does not apply to every coach who tutors quarterbacks. Enos qualifies as a ‘whisperer’ for the performances of Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts this season. Enos has also been recognized for quarterback coaching skills prior to coming to Tuscaloosa.

At Arkansas, with fewer weapons than a Tide arsenal, Enos worked wonders with Austin and Brandon Allen. Many Alabama football fans remember Austin Allen lighting up a pretty special Crimson Tide defense in 2016. Allen threw for more than 400 yards against the Tide in an Arkansas loss.

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Enos has a tough act to follow with this season’s Mike Locksley offense setting Alabama football records. No doubt, Enos deserves some of the credit for this season, as does wide receivers coach, Josh Gattis. Nick Saban deserves credit as well. Nick is the closer that brought in most of the offensive talent. He also has been willing to revamp the Crimson Tide to be more explosive, even when that means giving the Tide defense quick returns to the field.

How will the offense be different under Enos? Like most solid offensive coaches, Enos seeks a productive balance. That does not mean calling a near equal number of passing and running plays. It means having both prongs of an attack be proportionately effective. Enos has a reputation as an aggressive play-caller. In his Arkansas tenure, he was fond of play-action passing on first down. But he strives to vary his tendencies enough to be unpredictable. Some describe Enos as a play-caller unafraid to gamble. At one time, that would have seemed a potential conflict with Nick Saban.  Not so anymore – Nick enjoys explosive plays as much as any coach.

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Jeremy Pruitt tried to make Enos the next Tennessee OC. Fortunately, he did not succeed. In terms of offensive coaches, holding on to Josh Gattis is now the top priority.