Doeren makes key staff moves – hires Offensive & Defensive Coordinators

NC State’s new Head Football coach, Dave Doeren, made some key moves that starts to bring his assistant coaching staff into some focus.

As we previously reported here, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada was offered the same position at NC State. He has accepted.

Matt Canada only had a few minutes to talk Saturday before going to bowl practice.

“Rose Bowl practice,” Canada said. “It’s an exciting time for Wisconsin and for myself.”

Being in the Rose Bowl won’t be a first for the Badgers, but it will be for Canada, Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator. And he’ll then be headed to a new job, trying to build some new football excitement – at N.C. State.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren announced Saturday that he had hired Canada to join his staff. Canada also will coach the quarterbacks.


“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” Canada said in an interview. “I know little about the (ACC) and will need to learn about the conference. But I know it’s a good program at N.C. State and a great university.”

Asked about his offensive philosophy, Canada quickly replied, “Try to score as many points as we can.”

Sounds simple enough. Canada, 40, says he’s adaptable and not wedded to any particular offense, especially in a transitional situation. He said he would come to N.C. State and match system and personnel as best he can.

“I want to see the talent there, see the strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “You then try to maximize the strengths.”


Canada came to Wisconsin after a year at Northern Illinois as Doeren’s offensive coordinator. The Huskies were 11-3 in 2011 and finished in the top 12 nationally in scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense.

Canada had been an assistant at Northern Illinois under former coach Joe Novak from 1998 to 2003 before joining the staff at Indiana. He spent seven years at his college alma mater, coaching the quarterbacks and serving as IU’s offensive coordinator in the last four seasons.

Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis was named All-Big Ten and held the school record for career passing touchdowns. Lewis established single-season marks for passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2007, when IU scored a school-record 412 points.

“Matt Canada has one of the most creative offensive minds in the country,” Doeren said in a statement. “Matt has had to run his offense with different personnel and has been successful each time. He will make the transition much easier for me.

“He’s not only a tremendous quarterback coach who has developed quarterbacks into NFL players, but he has also developed the run game, as evidenced by Wisconsin’s success rushing the ball this season.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Doeren has named Pitt Defensive Coordinator Dave Huxtable to the same position in Raleigh.

Huxtable has more than two decades of coaching experience and has served as a defensive coordinator at a number of places, including Georgia Tech, Central Florida, and, yes, UNC. This also means he has experience recruiting in the southeast, which is a bonus.

Huxtable’s Pittsburgh defense ranks in the top 25 in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, and rush defense.

I’m pretty sure that Huxtable and former NC State assistant Andy McCollum have crossed paths in the past, which could lend some support to our proposal that Doeren consider hiring a couple of senior-level coaches with extensive ACC (and North Carolina High School recruiting) experience.

In other news, current running backs and tight end coach, Des Kitchens has been retained by Doeren.

“I’ve gotten to know him in the last 10 days and am really impressed with his work ethic, his attitude and the way he works with the players,” Doeren said in a statement. “The players have had nothing but great things to say about him as a teacher and a motivator.

“On the recruiting trail, I’ve been impressed with how he relates to the high school coaches. He has an impressive coaching background. The coaches he worked with at Air Force and Vanderbilt had great things to say about him. It’s also good to have a South Carolina native on our staff to help us with recruiting in that area.”

In his first season at NCSU, Kitchings coached both running backs and tight ends. Under his guidance, freshman Shadrach Thornton finished the regular season ranked fifth in the ACC in rushing despite not playing in the Pack’s first three games.

Kitchings spent the 2011 season as the running game coordinator/running backs coach at the Air Force Academy. Air Force ranked third nationally in rushing that season, averaging 314.8 yard per game.

We’ve heard rumors that, because of his comfort on the defensive side of the ball, that Doeren’s next moves will probably be to shore up more of the offensive coaching staff. So, we’ll keep our eyes and ears out for more.