Tom Murphy is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorback Football Report: Enos brings leadership experience
Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos speaks to his players Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, during practice at the university's practice field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Just as he had in his first three seasons as a major college head coach, Sam Pittman will have one assistant who has been a head coach on his staff in 2023.
With defensive coordinator Barry Odom, formerly the head coach at his alma mater Missouri (2016-19), gone to take the head coaching reins at UNLV, new offensive coordinator Dan Enos will be the most elder statesman on the University of Arkansas staff.
Enos was coming off a five-year stint as head coach at Central Michigan (2010-14) when he took over as Arkansas offensive coordinator in 2015, his lone season of overlap with Pittman, who was finishing a three-year stay as offensive line coach for Bret Bielema.
Enos was asked at his re-introductory news conference on Wednesday about how his experience as a head coach might add value to the Razorbacks.
“Having been a head coach before, I think I’m a better assistant coach,” Enos said. “Because, you know, until you really actually have to sit in that chair every day and deal with the day to day things … there’s not a lot of days off when you sit in that chair. But I think you just have an appreciation for the job and the pressure and the organization and the vision and everything. You know what I mean?
“So after I was done being the head coach and was an assistant coach again, I just tried to say ‘Okay, listen, like what is the head coach’s vision? What’s he want out of me? How can I help him and help his job?’
“And then what I try to do is, kind of being the elder statesman a little bit now and having been a head coach, I try to maybe bring some experiences to the assistant coaches in the offensive staff room about … trying to anticipate things that may happen, may help keep things off the head coach’s plate to make his job and life easier. Maybe explain the situation.
“So I think just my experience of being a head coach before, it’s made me just more aware and just have a much better appreciation for the job that the head coach has.”
Four and four
The Razorbacks currently have eight super seniors in line to participate in 2023.
Defensive end Zach Williams, defensive back LaDarrius Bishop, tight end Nathan Bax and quarterback Cade Fortin are back from last year’s roster to take their “covid 19” seasons as granted by the NCAA.
Additionally, transfers Antonio Grier (South Florida), Trajan Jeffcoat (Missouri), John Morgan (Pitt) and Al Walcott (Baylor) will be utilizing their super senior year of eligibility to finish with the Razorbacks.
Pittman was asked if Bax, Bishop and Williams were returning on Wednesday, as none of the trio had announced their intentions since Arkansas wrapped up the season with a 55-53 win in triple overtime against Kansas in the Liberty Bowl.
“They’re working out really hard if they’re not,” Pittman said. “I don’t know how to say it. I don’t know if they had a big banquet set for it or … I don’t know.
“They seem to be working out every day pretty hard. Maybe they’re getting ready for the draft. I don’t know. I’ll let you ask them.”
New defensive backs coach Deron Wilson, who will be working in the secondary with co-coordinator Marcus Woodson and coordinator Travis Williams, said signing up with the Razorbacks was an easy decision.
Wilson, who was a defensive analysts for cornerbacks at Florida last year, said some of his top mentors recommended working for Sam Pittman. Wilson was told Pittman was “a man of character, a man of faith. He’s a great guy. He’ll be the best head coach you ever work for.”
Said Wilson, “When people you really trust say those things, of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
He also expects the defensive staff room to be tight.
“With Coach T-Will and Coach Woodson, the initial interview, it was just the natural mesh that we had,” Wilson said. “It was kind of the initial when you met your wife, you kind of knew, ‘She’s the one. I know I’m going to marry her.’ That’s the feeling I got during my interview with Coach Woodson and Coach T-Will.”
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