State of the Hogs: Passing Details

If it details you like, Dan Enos can give them to you. The new Arkansas offensive coordinator is making sure all the bases are covered in the passing game in spring drills.

There were not a lot of questions for Dan Enos when he stood in front of the media to provide an update on spring drills through two days of practice.

With Enos, you don't need questions, you just need to listen. He gets to the details.

Hopefully, the new Arkansas offensive coordinator does not test the media on his methods of teaching the passing game during spring drills. He covered them Wednesday in an almost 20 minutes of his update after two days of practice.

There was a question about his style of coaching the passing game and Enos ran with it. He even asked if the reporters were with him a couple of times. No one said a word. They let him roll with his explanations.

I was not intimidated when he paused after 10 minutes and did ask a follow-up about trying to get as many plays as possible in a period, after hearing players mention their new play caller would say "faster" between plays.

Here's the transcript of the Enos reply to the first question about the passing game, a thought about Bret Bielema's mention that the Hogs have added about 33 percent more time to the passing game. Here's a warning: it's long! Note, this is eight straight paragraphs of quotes, just providing a head's up.

“One thing I feel strongly about is that I mentioned before," Enos said, "to be a balanced offense doesn't mean you run for the same amount of yards you pass each week. What we try to do is be very good in both areas. You want to be a very good running team and throw the ball extremely well. In order to do those things, you have to practice them.

“The run game is about precision, landmarks, reading things and getting guys in the right spots. The passing game is no different. It's about spacing and timing. It's about the drop mesh and the routes and the route adjustments and all of those things. You have to spend time on those things.

"The other thing is that we believe that in practice, we are going to play everybody. We are going to run guys in and get them reps, and get them reps, and get them reps. Whether or not these guys are going to play this year, they may not, but it may be two or three years from now, we are developing them that when they do get to that point, they are ready.

“We structure the practices where we are getting a ton of guys reps at all of the positions and I've encouraged the players that if they don't know what to do yet, the only way they are going to get better is by getting reps. If you make a mistake, that's OK, we'll get that thing corrected. Let's get it repped, let's get everybody involved. If everyone's involved, they are going home tired, happier, they feel like they are involved. We want to get everyone a feeling that they have ownership in this and how very, very active they are. Through two practices, we've been able to do that and had some good periods.

"I'm a big believer in progressing the way you teach. Big believer that when we install something, for the players to have success we install it through power points so that they see it on paper. Then we show it on video. We show other people running the play so they see it, sometimes good and sometimes bad to learn from those things. Then they take that out there and take it through a walk through. They walk through the plays. Then we throw each individual route on air to each player – to a tight end, a running back and a wide receiver that they are going to have to run it on a concept. Then we bring the whole group together and we run the entire group on air with no defense yet so the quarterbacks, the running backs and the wide receivers can get a feel for the spacing of the route. They've seen it on paper, they've seen it on video, they've walked through it and they've run it against air. Now, we run the individual routes against the Dbs, so we get it one on one versus the Dbs. Then we take it on seven on seven.

"Now, if you install it and the first time you do it it's against a situation with a defense out there, you are not giving them a chance for a lot of success. They may not know it inside out or very thorough. So this is our best chance to have success and have success early. Again, you put the defense out there and you have moving parts and you have keys, coverages changes. The defense played the first day, basically one coverage. Day two they added a coverage. Day three, blitzes are going to be added, so in order for us to be successful and establish a foundation, you have to teach with a progression. Finally, you get to a team situation where there are 11 on 11. And as we know, that changes. You have a pre-snap look, and then, bump, the ball gets snap and everything changes on you. We have an understanding and knowledge of that particular play and what we are trying to get accomplished with it.

"Every time we saw a concept, I talked with our quarterbacks about what package that play is in. Is it a vertical stretch? Is it a horizontal stretch? Is it a high low. The next thing, what's their clock? What's my drop? Is it a big five, is it seven steps, is it a three step? How does my clock change when I'm in the gun or if I'm under center? Who is my movement key, the guy I'm going to read when the ball is snapped? What's the protection? Are their hots built in? Is it a seven man protection? Are you with me on that?

"Each and everything we install, there is a lot of detail and a lot of thought and a lot of organization that goes into it and if you want to be efficient, the more the players understand about the play and why you are doing and what you are trying to get out of it and having a chance to execute the small parts before they get to the wholes, that will give us the best chance for success. As we all know, your plans are good and all of that, but your players have to do it. They have to understand it and you have to get good players who are doing it a very, very fast pace."

Intimidated, by the length of his answer, I dared ask him about pace of practice? Again, the answer was thorough.

“Absolutely, when we are on the practice field there is limited amount of time," Enos said. "The NCAA has us monitored on how many minutes, hours we can spend with our players. We have to maximum number of time on the field. I'm always trying to fit as many plays in a period as we can. I think if we can get that quarterback one more look at that play, if we can get the tight end one more look at that coverage and get the offensive line one more look at that blitz, or the back, everything we can stack up in a practice over a week help us win that game. Obviously, in spring practice right now, we are trying not only to get looks at concepts, but a lot of different players. So as many reps as we can get, gives chances to those young men and give us an evaluation, an also prove to us they should be in the rotation and give them a chance to make a play, I think that's all good.”

And, then there was one more follow-up. Is the amount of practice time you are using on the passing game similar to what you did as a head coach?

“Yeah, so far it's been pretty much verbatim to what we've done," Enos said. "Again, it's critical you maximize your time. The other coaches are involved in special teams so for example when Coach Singleton and Coach Lunney are involved in a special team and their players are available and I'll take their players and we'll go to another field and what we are doing is working on routes, timing and adjustments to routes. We are working on little details of what we are trying to do. Every opportunity we have is an opportunity to get better. Certainly, we are trying to maximize all of our time.

"Certainly, we understand that running the football is our identity and what we need to do. Really, there is no reason we can't be good at both. That's the whole goal, we want to be an outstanding run team and we want to be able to pass the ball very efficiently and can create explosive plays. If we can run the ball and throw the ball, we are going to help each other. If you are running the ball well and you have people worried about what you are going to do with the passing game, and vice versa."

All of this is music to the ears of the Arkansas quarterbacks and receivers. And, it's probably sweet stuff for fans, too, especially those that think that's all that ails this Arkansas team. And, who knows, they may be right.

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