When Dan Enos woke up Christmas morning this past year, there wasn’t any snow on the ground. Instead, it was a balmy 65 degrees -- a nice change for somebody who lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line his whole life and spent the last nine Christmases in the state of Michigan.
He said he enjoyed seeing his kids be able to go outside and play with their Christmas presents for once.
But the weather is not the only reason Enos is enjoying his first year in the south. As the Arkansas offensive coordinator, he directed the No. 1 offense in college football in terms of efficiency (88.55). The Razorbacks offense finished second in the SEC this past season, averaging 465.5 yards and 35.9 points per game.
“For me as a head coach, he’s been an unbelievable godsend,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “He’s so organized, detailed, planned -- his relationship skills -- it makes it so much fun of an environment to work really than I’ve ever endured as a head coach.”
Enos, known for the job he’s done with quarterbacks over the years, has also worked wonders for Arkansas signal-caller Brandon Allen. The senior had his best season yet as a Razorback, throwing for 3,440 yards with 30 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
“I think once [Dan] and BA got comfortable with what his skill set was, what he could handle and what he could do during the course of the game, it’s been a skyrocket ship,” Bielema added. “It’s been off the charts. “
None of this would’ve happened, though, if Enos didn’t take a chance.
Many questioned the move to Fayetteville. At the very least, they found it curious. Enos was the head coach at Central Michigan at the time. He was coming off a loss in the Bahamas Bowl, but in his five seasons with the Chippewas, he had them bowl-eligible the last three and essentially turned the program around.
Why leave that for an offensive coordinator job, even if it was in the SEC?
“When you look at careers in coaching, there is really no set path,” Enos said. “Certainly when I worked at Central Michigan, I didn’t plan on being a coordinator again.
“But the five years that I had there, I really felt like that I put my heart and soul into that program to build it up athletically, academically and socially, and I felt that we were doing just a tremendous job. What I didn’t see was I just didn’t really feel like there were other people within that university that were putting their heart and soul into me.”
Enos wanted a new challenge, and he and his family felt it was the right time to move. So they packed up the car and headed to Arkansas.
In hindsight, it couldn’t have worked out any better. Central Michigan hired John Bonamego and reached another bowl game. And in just one season, Enos became one of the hottest offensive coordinators in college football as he helped Arkansas to an 8-5 record and a 45-23 win in the Liberty Bowl.
And now, with all the success, his name will likely come up as a head coaching candidate again in the near future.
“I didn’t take this job to say, ‘Boy, I want to take this job so I can get another head coaching job,’” Enos said. “Certainly, I didn’t do that. I’m the type of guy that we moved here and we want to do a good job here and stay here for many, many years.
“But obviously if a head coaching opportunity presents itself and we feel it’s a great fit for my family and I, that’s something we’ll definitely look into. I’d love to have that challenge and that opportunity again.”
In the meantime, Enos has enough on his plate. He has to retool an offense that will be without Allen, Hunter Henry, Denver Kirkland, Sebastian Tretola and possibly Alex Collins next year. Collins still has yet to decide whether he’s going to return or declare early for the NFL draft.
But even with the challenges ahead, Enos found the perfect fit at Arkansas -- and not just because of the weather.