D’angelo: Miami’s OC should take more responsibility for loss to Gators

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Florida defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga (92) and Adam Shuler (88) tackle Miami quarterback Jarren Williams at the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, August 24. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

Offensive coordinator Dan Enos was especially harsh with his criticism of freshman quarterback Jarren Williams after the Miami Hurricanes’ 24-20 loss to the Florida Gators in the season opener

Dan Enos wants as close to perfection as possible from his quarterback. I get it.

And he will settle for nothing less. I get that, too.

And I get, somewhat, the message Enos was trying to send Jarren Williams after the redshirt freshman’s debut as a starting quarterback at the University of Miami.

But Enos’ breakdown this week of Williams’ play was way over the top.

When asked what he thought of Williams’ performance in the Hurricanes’ 24-20 loss to Florida Saturday in a mistake-filled opener in Orlando, Enos came off the top ropes. He hammered Williams, who threw one touchdown pass and no interceptions while completing 19 of 29 passes in the face of a relentless pass rush unlike any Miami QB has seen in a long, long time.

Enos unfairly placed much of the blame on the young QB.

“I grade the guys on either you played well enough for us to win or you didn’t,” Enos said. “And he did not. That’s first and foremost.”

And that was just the beginning. Enos blamed half of the 10 sacks on Williams, which might be fair. But if he’s playing that game, let’s talk about the ones Williams prevented by getting rid of the ball or escaping as the Gators were storming the backfield.

Enos mentioned Williams’ “very, very poor ball security” and questioned Williams’ decision making. “Jarren left a lot of plays on the field. I was very, very disappointed,” he said.

Tough love is a part of coaching, and Enos – who I believe is the right man to run Manny Diaz’s offense – has a reputation for being a demanding coach. But there had to be a different way other than publicly hanging your young QB out to dry.

Williams was the bright spot of the Hurricanes’ near upset. He constantly was put in negative yardage situations with 12 offensive penalties (three delays can be attributed to Williams), including three false starts and three holds, plus another that was declined. And, the sacks.

Enos did praise Williams for his toughness and competitiveness. But his full analysis was head scratching, and even questioned nationally by a few college football analysts.

We live in an age where coaches try to control the narrative. Most coaches decide who the media talks to every day. Some attempt to manipulate the story, praising certain players and making sure those are the players available for interviews. And Enos was determined to steer this story away from his young offensive line by blaming Williams. The last thing Miami needs is for the OL to start losing confidence, especially one so young and one that lacks depth.

Coaches also usually fall on the sword for their players. They will criticize behind closed doors but publicly take the responsibility, of which there certainly was some to be taken by Enos for the game he called after the opening drive.

But Enos unfairly put this loss on the shoulders of a player who had thrown one pass in his collegiate career entering the game, was facing the best defensive line he will see the entire regular season and was pressured on every play. Every snap resembled a jail break with the line offering no resistance.

Yet, Enos threw Williams under the bus and put it in reverse to make sure Williams experienced being flattened one more time, the way he was by Florida’s defense.

And Williams said all the right things when asked about being the scapegoat by Enos for almost everything that went wrong.

“He was right,” Williams said. “My job, the quarterback, we’re judged on if we win … and we came up short. I had a lot of mistakes in the game.

“He’s a perfectionist. If you’re anything short of that, he’s going to let you know.”

Yet, despite it all, there was Williams with four minutes to play and a chance to win the game. In that one series, he had to overcome three sacks, three fumbles (two by Williams on sacks) and two penalties. He was aided by two Florida pass interference penalties.

If Enos’ purpose was to protect his offensive line – something it didn’t do for Williams – even the most casual viewer could figure out this is where the problems begin and end with the Hurricanes’ offense.

Unless of course it’s with the offensive coordinator, who apparently did not coach well enough in his Miami debut for the Hurricanes to win the game.

©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

2 COMMENTS

  1. I love that Dan Enos expects accountability from his players, but has none himself.

    This game has been scheduled for years. When Enos came on board at Miami, he knew Florida was the first opponent and he had not named a QB. This spring, he had to watch tape of the Gators pass rush and secondary. He had to realize they were very very good. I also hope he would be smart enough to take a look at his depth chart and evaluate his offensive line as young, with room for improvement. At this point, he still had not named a QB.

    The summer came and went and Enos still did not seem to realize that his QBs were not distancing themselves from one another and the OL was not improving. Meanwhile UF’s line was getting better. Despite this, he makes no adjustment to the game plan.

    Finally Enos names a QB, still knowing that the OL was incredibly out-manned. He scripted his first series of plays to include a bunch of screens that led to a field goal, and then just abandoned them.

    From that point on, Miami kept running the same offense with very few screens and no max protection. It is the coaches job to put players in a position to win games, and his arrogance caused his failure to do so in the game. He ignored tape. He ignored his player’s abilities. He ignored UF’s defensive talent. He ignored the plays that gave him success. Too cover up his failures and to avoid criticism, he blamed the very QB that he named as starter and did not pull during the game.

    Maybe Enos will realize that you need more than fancy gold chains and touchdown rings to win football games. Swagger doesn’t win championships. It looked good on TV…until the Gator DL slapped the swagger right out of them.