QB TALK WITH COACH DAN ENOS

Interviewing Dan Enos is easy. You ask a question, and Coach Enos teaches. That's what he does, and he excels at it. Watching Coach Enos working with his quarterbacks is a thing of beauty.

He chastises, he praises, he jokes, he yells, but he's always teaching. The University of Cincinnati may have lost its all time passing leader, but the guy that helped mold Gino Guidugli is returning to take another hunk of quarterback clay and make it into a productive player.

A closer look at the career of Gino Guidugli shows the value of Dan Enos. Before Coach Enos arrived, Gino threw for 52 touchdowns against 40 interceptions. That's a touchdown to interception ratio of about 1.4 to 1, not real good. After Coach Enos arrived, Gino threw for 26 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions. That's an excellent touchdown to interception ratio better than 3 to 1. Coach Enos explained the difference. "A guy like Gino Guidugli had already played three seasons so we tried to teach him the importance of playing the position and managing the game. We wanted him to realize the importance of not taking sacks, of having a higher completion percentage, and of not forcing the football. It's okay to punt. We try to end every series with a kick, either an extra point, a field goal or a punt. Gino did a great job of buying into what we were coaching. There was a spell last year where he went four or five games without throwing an interception, and we didn't have very many throws that were even close. It's a testament to his discipline and how he prepared for a game."

At this point, I realized I just need to keep my questions concise.

In looking at UC's quarterbacks, there is one common attribute. They are all mobile. How important is mobility for quarterbacks? "We think it's a big plus. Obviously we want a guy that can make all the throws, but if you have a guy that can throw and get out of trouble, that's what you want."

So why did UC see the need to recruit seven quarterbacks? "It's a very, very important position. We wanted to make sure we had several guys to chose from. When we got here, there were only two quarterbacks in the entire program so we wanted to make sure we had guys for the future and now."

What's more important, height or good feet? "Good feet are one of the most important things. It'd be great to have a guy 6' 4", but there are a lot of guys that played the position at 6' 1" or 6' 2". You don't really throw over people in football. You throw through people. A guy with good feet can find lanes. Height is a plus, but it's not going to make or break the system."

With seven quarterback candidates next fall, how important is it to finish either #1 or #2 on the depth chart this spring? "It's crucial, and we discussed that before camp. After spring practice we're going to have to take the top two guys plus the new guys because we can't give seven guys reps. It's hard to get three or four guys reps."

The Cincinnati football program has lost too many quality coaches. Why will you stay? "The biggest thing is the head football coach, Mark Dantonio. He's provided a great environment for an assistant coach to work and become a better coach and person. That's a huge plus. He's created an environment where it's a pleasure to come to work each day. You're working for a guy you believe in, can trust and will do what's best for the football team and your family. I could go a step further and add Bob Goin. There's another guy who's a class act."

Finally with all the talent and experience this program lost last year, why should Bearcat football fans feel optimistic? "We're going to be young, but our guys have a tremendous attitude. This spring we are so far ahead of what we put in last year, as far as X's and O's. If these guys work hard, we'll be able to go into the season and outwork people, play hard, and know what to do."

No Bearcat quarterback has thrown a pass in a Division IA college football game, but UC does have an ace in the hole. Dan Enos will coach these guys up, and the quarterback position will soon become a strength.


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