Two Razorbacks Dubbed as 2024 Version of Dan Enos (SEC’s Worst Assistant)

Dan Enos, Arkansas football
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

It may be March Madness time, but in SEC country, there’s never a wrong time to talk football, especially with spring drills underway at Arkansas.

Every team besides Georgia and Alabama is now breathing a sigh of relief that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (aka Nick Saban) no longer has a death grip on the rest of the league.

Although it does coincide with Oklahoma and Texas joining the conference and the SEC electing to do away with divisions.

Recently, the fine folks at That SEC Podcast did an episode titled ‘Identifying 2024’s Dan Enos (The Worst Assistant in the SEC).’

Ironically, host Michael Bratton actually hailed the Enos hire as a positive one for Arkansas football this time last year, thinking he would help an already talented KJ Jefferson improve his draft stock as a quarterback and allow Arkansas to be more balanced.

Of course, neither ended up happening as Jefferson spent most of his time running away from would-be defenders attempting to sack him and the running game never got on track.

After taking his midseason firing in stride, Enos is now an analyst at Florida and Gator fans are thinking it’s a no-lose proposition since he can’t get on the field.

The joke may be on them, however, according to what Sam Pittman told Hogs+, as it looks like Enos could actually do damage to the Gators through on-field coaching:

Pittman told a story about his time at Georgia and having a graduate assistant that wanted to help with on-field coaching, but the role wouldn’t allow him to have a presence on the field. He ultimately moved him to special teams because they needed the help there.

He then led that into how he has been more involved so far in winter drills and plans on being more hands-on with Eric Mateos, who was a GA under Pittman when he was the offensive line coach here from 2013-15.

Following in the Footsteps of a Legend

One of the first coaches that Bratton and co-host Steven Lassan mention in the same breath as Enos is new Alabama defensive coordinator Kane Wommack.

Wommack, who actually graduated from Fayetteville High School when his father was the defensive coordinator for Arkansas football, most recently was the head coach at South Alabama.

Bratton mentions how the South Alabama defense, after being a strong suit in 2022, essentially fell off a cliff in 2023 efficiency-wise.

Not only is Wommack going from the Sun Belt to the SEC, he’s inheriting a defense built for Saban’s style and techniques. He’s bringing his own philosophies and terminology and this could lead to headaches in 2024, according to the podcast pair.

Lassan also mentions how the Crimson Tide secondary was suspect last year, and even greater question marks remain going into this season.

Despite all that, what a bizarre world we live in when both Enos and Wommack were linked to the vacant Michigan State head coaching opening back in the fall that was eventually filled by Jonathan Smith of Oregon State.

Arkansas Football Candidates

Right after Wommack was Bobby Petrino, who was hired to much aplomb in late November after Jimbo Fisher was fired at Texas A&M and it became clear that he wouldn’t be retained in College Station.

Bratton mentioned that even though many people wanted to judge Petrino for playing a role in the Aggies’ failure a year ago, the offense wasn’t the issue. They put up points; the real issue was the defense, which gave up 52 to Miami, 38 to Ole Miss and 42 to LSU in losing efforts that would have resulted in a way different alternate universe for Fisher, Petrino and all of Aggieland.

Petrino returns to Fayetteville as the prodigal son, eager to right the wrongs of the past and put up prolific numbers like he did when he was the head coach of Arkansas football.

But the podcast duo says be careful what you wish for. There’s no guarantee that Petrino is going to work in 2024. Will his style of coaching wear on today’s players? Can he get along with Pittman and the other assistants?

Things can get volatile in a hurry. Let a couple of losses pile up, and everyone will be getting antsy. A ‘here we go again,’ if you will.

Bratton and Lassan also brought up Mateos, the offensive line coach who replaced Cody Kennedy with the Razorbacks.

Both of them speak to the unknown of how things will go when there is so much pressure to deliver wins. With the offensive line being the gaping weakness in how 2023 went so poorly, Mateos is going to have to deliver tangible results.

Especially if his line doesn’t block well enough for the quarterback and he catches Petrino’s ire.

Other assistants are mentioned as being in danger of getting their head coach fired, like Dowell Loggains at South Carolina in a pivotal year four for Shane Beamer.

They also mention Auburn’s DJ Durkin, Florida’s Ron Roberts, Kentucky’s Bush Hamdan, LSU’s Joe Sloan, Missouri’s Corey Batoon, Mississippi State’s Coleman Hutzler along with the aforementioned Cody Kennedy, both Oklahoma coordinators in Seth Littrell and Zac Alley and Texas A&M’s Collin Klein.

Most of these are first-year guys at these programs, so it wouldn’t be necessarily fair to hold them responsible for the coach they are serving under predicament, per se, but when have things really ever been fair when it comes to SEC football?

Would be news to me.

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Listen to the guys break down the candidates starting at 12:10:

More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS… 

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