FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When asked what concerns him most about Alabama’s defense, Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos couldn’t help but laugh.
Once the chuckles were out of the way, he began his response with: “Where to start?”
It’s an appropriate reaction to facing what has regularly been one of the best defenses in the country under Nick Saban, who is now in his 10th season as coach of the Crimson Tide.
The No. 16 Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1 SEC) are scheduled to host No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0) at 6 p.m. CT Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Enos recently spoke with the media about the Crimson Tide. Here are some of the things he had to say:
Q: What concerns you most about Alabama’s defense?
A: “They’re extremely talented and they’re extremely well coached, so that’s the formula obviously that you look for as a coach. They’re really good up front. You really don’t see any weaknesses in their defense. Usually when you break a team down, you go, ‘We’ve either got to attack this or attack that.’ They’re pretty salty at all 11 spots and they do a really good job of coaching them.”
Q: Is (Alabama linebacker) Tim Williams a guy you’ve got to take special precautions against?
A: “Yeah. He’s like the guys at A&M. He can change the game very, very quickly. He’s extremely explosive. He’s got a great first step. He’s obviously very disruptive. What makes him even harder to contend with is all the other guys. It’s not like you’re just looking at one guy. The tackles are good. (DE Jonathan Allen) is as good of a D-lineman as I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Q: When you look back at game plan last year, what did you like about it and what were they trying to take away?
A: “I think we did some things uncharacteristic last year in the game. Some of it was them being really good and some of it was us maybe not doing what we were supposed to do at times. There are certain things we’ve looked at schematically obviously last year and through the offseason and going into this week that we’d like to change.
“You’ve got to execute at a high level against a defense like this. You can’t ever run plays that don’t have a chance structurally, and that’s the big thing. We’re trying to make sure everything we call and everything we run has a chance structurally. Then obviously after the ball gets snapped, you’ve got to block them and take care of them physically. “
Q: Does their defense pretty much force you to the quick passing game and eliminate drop-back passes?
A: “I think you’ve got to keep them off-balance. I don’t think you can go into the game and say you’re not going to drop back. But certainly the problem with the quick game is, more than any team since I’ve been in this league, they challenge your wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and they make it hard for you.”
Q: When you were at Michigan State and Saban was an assistant, did you think he was head coaching material?
A: “Absolutely. We had an outstanding coaching staff when I played at Michigan State. Coach Saban, his final year there as an assistant was my redshirt freshman year. We won the Rose Bowl that year and he was the defensive coordinator. I think we finished in the top 10 in defense at Michigan State that year. Certainly, I think all of our players on our team had the utmost respect for him and knew he would be headed out, whether he was going to leave there and go to the NFL or whether he’d be an NFL coordinator or a head coach in college or the NFL. He did all those things. We had a great staff and certainly my couple years there with Coach Saban, I had a ton of respect for him, as did our entire football team.”