That’s Matt Canada, LSU’s new offensive coordinator. Under Les Miles, that title meant being something like being Secretary of Commerce. You weren’t sure what they did, their productivity was vague at best, and in the end the only time you really paid attention to them was when they got in trouble, had a plane crash, or continually underperformed even when given amazing material. For instance! Recall the time former LSU offensive coordinator Greg Strudrawa, coaching Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, Zach Mettenberger, and at least two future NFL-grade linemen in 2012, led the Tigers to an 87th place finish in total offense.
LSU fans drink for other reasons, but for a while this didn’t help at all. YET. This is a different day, a different administration, and a different man with a very large head running LSU. The hefty-skulled Ed Orgeron hired an offensive coordinator you should pay attention to, if you like offensive coordinators and geeking out over x’s and o’s done in an interesting way: Matt Canada, fresh off a stint making Nathan Peterman an effective quarterback at Pitt, and a person associated with some legitimately fun attacks over the years.
For instance: Remember Indiana’s Ben Chappell passing for 3,000 yards in 2010, or Chandler Harnish going 3,000/1,000 in passing/rushing at NIU, or even Jacoby Brissett at NC State becoming yet another Florida transfer to play good to excellent quarterback somewhere other than Florida? That’s Matt Canada’s resume, which consists of a lot of excellent results working with sometimes odd or mismatched raw materials.
There’s two things to point out here, and both are important. The first is to note that Matt Canada runs what experts would call a “multiple” offense, and what we would probably call “annoying as hell.” There’s tons of formations, linemen running all over the place and hitting blocks at strange angles, and a lot of counter-intuitive playcalling designed to keep the defense on the wrong foot from the start.
This breakdown of his tendencies is much more detailed than we’ll get, but the basic questions posed here have these basic answers.
Q: Will LSU run the ball out of power formations like LSU fans probably want to do, but not in the stubborn, often ineffective way Les Miles did it?
A: Yeah, and with big ol’ vintage plays like counter-trey, too, but run out of so many formations that it will probably be effective most of the time. Oh, and it’s paired with constraint plays and little dick moves like end-around fakes and jet sweeps and stuff to keep defenses from teeing off on them too much.
Q: Will LSU be able to pass effectively? Apologies if the taste is off, but this question has freezer burn from being reheated and refrozen too many times over the past ten years.
A: Yeah. Matt Canada has gotten solid production from the weirdest grab bag of quarterbacks over the years, often transfers, cast-offs, and other unheralded talent that either ended up in the wrong place, or simply got a bad start with fit or scheme.
Q: LSU’s been a bad place for quarterbacks so—-
A: Ed Orgeron basically cut out the middle man with this hire, yeah. It’s kind of brilliant.
Q: What else?
A: It’s just one of those attacks that seems sound and cohesive and theoretically balanced, yanno? Sometimes you want an offense and instinctively pick up on how it’s trying to pick apart a team with balance, with basic clean strategies, and with good technique. It makes sense when you watch them work, because you see that the RPO is well-designed, and that you’ll run first, above all else, and that you’ll do that well with clean blocking and excellent rhythm. It’s cool to watch something done well, and over the years Matt Canada’s offenses have been that: a coherent thing done well.
Q: But for real, anything else?
A: Yeah, he had Clemson’s defense spinning like a top last year with Nathan Peterman, who we again remind you looked so bad against Florida in 2013 that we thought he would give up the game of football completely.
Q: Do we have lineman eligible plays?
A: Buddy you got a Piesman winner on this man’s resume, you bet your ass you do.
Q: Should I get my hopes too high?
A: Not immediately, because this kind of overhaul takes time. However, you’re familiar with waiting for offense at this point. Wait for competence, then for sort of good, and gradually it will take hold. Fortunately the interim can be balanced out by the usual cast of boudin-raised blazing fast mutants LSU calls a roster. When it happens, it’ll be pretty cool.
Q: We beatin’ Bama?
Q: What was that second point you were going to make?
A: That it’s fun how you can talk about how brilliant a coach can be on paper, and yet when you watch him work on the field sixty percent of his dialogue to players consists of the word “YEAH” and “BOOM” and “BEAT THE GRASS” over and over again. It’s like watching an architect at a build site looking at his beautiful plans, but only screaming “BRICK” and “PLATE GLASS” at the workers. Coaching is weird like that.