Matt Canada out as Offensive Coordinator

The purge begins.

Hat tip to our message forums where this news was already being discussed.

I remember getting intel in 2013 (Doeren’s first year) that he and Canada had disagreements and my connections didn’t expect Canada to make it to 2014. With this as a backdrop, it doesn’t surprise me that this is the first shoe to drop in what I expect to be a bit of an overhaul on Coach Doeren’s staff.


N.C. State’s football team will have a new offensive coordinator next season.

Assistant coach Matt Canada has been “relieved of his duties” after three seasons with the school, according to an athletic department spokesperson early Sunday morning.

Sports Illustrated was the first to report about Canada’s departure, which comes three days after N.C. State ended a disappointing 7-6 season with a 51-28 loss to Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl.

N.C. State’s offense had its share of success under Canada, who was also the quarterbacks coach. The Wolfpack ranked No. 31 in the country in rushing offense this season and averaged more than 200 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons. Prior to last season, N.C. State hadn’t averaged 200 rushing yards per game since 1992.

This season, the Wolfpack averaged 33.2 points per game, which was third most in the ACC this season.

But N.C. State’s offense also sputtered in some of its biggest games and Canada had a tendency to forget about his best players. The Wolfpack was held to 13 points in critical ACC losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech early in October when running back Matt Dayes was still healthy.

Sophomore running back Jaylen Samuels ran for two touchdowns in the bowl loss but only had three carries in the game. Samuels, who led the team with 16 touchdowns, was on the field for only 31 snaps in the 20-13 loss to Louisville on Oct. 3. He finished that game with five catches for 75 yards, and a touchdown, but had no rushing attempts.

Canada previously worked with N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois. Canada received a new three-year contract last January after Tennessee had interest in hiring him for the same position. Canada’s base salary was $560,000 for the 2015 season and was scheduled to increase to $615,000 on July 1.

Last month, Canada interviewed with East Carolina for their head-coaching position, which was eventually filled by Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery.

Next season, N.C. State could have as many as seven starters returning from this year’s offense but has to break in a new quarterback and replace three senior linemen.

I never thought Canada was that bad of an offensive coordinator…but, I think that Doeren needs to make wholesale changes to the staff and I welcome any moves that are designed to fix what our problems. I’d label our offense as ‘inconsistent’ as there would be games, or even stretches of the schedule, where the offense was grossly inconsistent. There were just way too many times that the offense didn’t feel like it was flowing at all and that we were trying to force fit puzzle pieces that weren’t meant for each other.

Additionally, there is no arguing that Jacoby Brissett did no improve over last year, and our pass game went backwards. Of course, the weak wide receiving corp and offensive line have impacts on this, but you can’t ignore Brissett’s role in the weak passing game.

I’m elevating this quote from choppack from our message forums:

As someone who has been baffled many times with Canada, I find his release very perplexing if hux is allowed to stay. So what you want about Canada, but he has shown signs of genius. He has shown he can do his part in engineering upsets…the same can’t be said about hux thus far in his tenure in Raleigh.

Of course, hux may be fired tomorrow. If that happens, what does it say about the head coach that he has to fire BOTH coordinators that he had hired 3 years into his tenure.

So, where might NC State turn for the replacement? One thing is for certain – there will be a lot of talk about State changing offenses and implementing something like the spread to serve to ‘level’ the playing field and not have to be so reliant on the importance of recruiting a bevy of top rated offensive lineman. Our brothers over at the Red & White Podcast have shared some interesting thoughts:

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Home Forums Matt Canada out as Offensive Coordinator

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    Thanks botb – I looked at our o and d like my golf game. Some days, my long game was crap, but my short game was good, other days, my long game was stellar and my short game crap, some days both were crap. Rarely, were both stellar.

    Prime – regarding “analytics”. I agree. However, in sports, you have to leave a good deal to the ” gut”. Obviously, the perfect hire for NC state in 2012 was a coach who had demonstrated the ability to take a program in a similar (or worse) situation to a higher level. Of course, that POV probably prevents you from hiring an assistant who may have “it” like a Dabo Sweeney.

    And it can result in you hiring a coach like Sendek. Altht, in our current situation I would take the sendekesque results (of moving the ball ahead in first 3 seasons.)

    You have to hope your leadership can make quality decisions. How has demonstrated that in the past, but she seems to burn a lot of bridges in her wake. As a state fan, I don’t give a tinker’s damn about that, (we probably need that) but this type of person can’t afford to be we wrong much at all because of the bridges they burn


    Hmmm… I’m of two bi-polar thoughts on this one:

    -> Pro:
    This was a bad hire to start with. If you’ve followed Canada’s previous stops you know that he is one of the reasons (along with the AD) that Bielema is down at Arkansas. He was also so bad that the OL coach got fired about four games through the season as the fall guy (presumably because he was cheaper) and I believe that he may have gotten his play calling duties yanked as well. So, anyone doing a background check during the hiring process should have turned up enough red flags not to hire this guy.

    Then there were the much discussed issues:
    – QB development or lack thereof
    – Not utilizing talent properly
    – Sherriffs and that wildcat garbage (he’s done okay at UConn)
    – Predictability of the snap based on the jet sweep motion timing.
    – Being so multiple in formation (but with only 1-2 plays out of certain alignments and motions) that the pre snap formation and motion basically telegraphed the play.
    – Forcing balance in a way that reminded me of MOC. We may have lost by two TDs, but we were super balanced! Ugh…
    – Lack of halftime adjustments on offense. When we played anyone good they adjusted at halftime and seemingly completely shut us down.
    – Lack of urgency in the play calling when down multiple scores.
    – Lack of killer instinct when up multiple scores.
    So, for all these reasons this is probably a good move for the program.

    -> Cons:
    – Hiring this guy in the first place
    – Just extending the contract and giving him a raise in the last offseason. Surely DD went to bat for this guy 12 months ago and now he’s the #1 thing that needs to be changed?
    – How the heck does Yow spin this one? She approved/pushed through the raise/extension. Now she’s going to pay him a buyout?
    – That fluffer piece from the last couple of days that basically said all hope for next year was based on the offense. They put that out knowing they were about to fire him? The glaring omission of anything related to the defense in that article reinforced that Hux is a dead man walking, but this move makes that article baffling.
    – What caliber of OC is going to come into this situation if fully informed?

    So, overall probably the right move, but a lot of red flags. I was hoping we’d let him go to Tenn last year. I was also hoping ECU would have hired him. Alas neither ideal situation happened and now we owe him a buyout.

    I suspect we will promote from within and I suspect the guy is either the WR coach or Kitchings. The former was OC at Syracuse and left to come here in what was effectively a demotion. I felt when we made that hire that we were bringing in a second OC and hedging on Canada leaving. He was an uptempo spread guy at Syracuse and that’s what DD seemingly wants. There’s also seemingly been some bad blood with Syracuse over him and the fact that he’s not been doing play calling. I don’t quite know the ins and outs of that one. So, it looks like the WR coach, but if I were promoting from within, I’d probably go with Kitchings. He seems like the best coach we have on staff, the best recruiter (only position we really have developed any depth), and was the “running game coordinator” (whatever that means). Throw him a bone and keep him happy.

    The OL coach departing is probably a bigger deal. I actually thought the line played fairly well. There’s no way we could have run for that type of yardage given how telegraphed a lot of the runs were without having a good line. I also thought a lot of the time JB had good protection. He may not have utilized that time well, but it was there.


    Rye – the ol was the other area we were developing depth. Was Syracuse’s offense much when kitchings led it?


    We haven’t shown much analytical analysis of folks that we hire, including DD…. DD hired two coordinators that had just been fired and, further, neither had ever really done much in their careers.

    Not arguing the decision, but that simply is not true.


    I hate to see anyone lose their job, but that is what happens when you aren’t doing your job. Good choice, DD! And if he wants to do the same with Hux, I don’t think anyone would be upset. Just hope he finds the right guy to energize our offense.


    This was a bad hire to start with. If you’ve followed Canada’s previous stops you know that he is one of the reasons (along with the AD) that Bielema is down at Arkansas. He was also so bad that the OL coach got fired about four games through the season as the fall guy

    Now you all are just making stuff up. Nothing personal Rye, but geesh, this stuff has been getting more and more prevalent here.

    Canada’s last two stops were at Wisconsin and NIU, both of which ended in conference championships. Check out the offensive productivity on the teams OC’d by Canada. You’ll see impressive scoring.

    In spite of comments to the contrary on other threads, Wisconsin did not fire Canada, they desperately wanted him to stay. Canada’s unencumbered offense (Bielema finally let go the reigns of the play calling) had just put up 70 on Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game.

    The OL coach at Wisconsin in 2012 was an new hire (If I remember correctly, the previous one went with Chryst to Pitt). He was horrid. He brought a new philosophy and technique that simply didn’t fit Wisconsin’s style. Once he was let go, the offense picked up. It’s well documented and not disputed that Bielema held back the offense in 2012. Canada finally initiated a one-on-one with Bielema to open up the offense leading up to the Big 10 Championship game, a Badgers victory, 70-31, over Nebraska.

    Badgers football: Offense was power struggle for Matt Canada, Bret Bielema

    Bret Bielema, Matt Canada fought for control of Wisconsin’s offense


    Chop: The former Syracuse coach is the WR coach we hired last year. Kitchings is the RB coach.

    Foose: Sorry but I’m not making stuff up. Maybe the memory is a little fuzzy on the timing, but there was a LOT of friction between Canada and Bielema. Now I have no doubt that Bielema was a jerk, but the fact that there was a documented power struggle meant that both sides participated.

    Also, does it really make sense that a rogue OL coach wrecked the OL without the OC knowing it? The OC is working with the OL coach closely and blocking scheme has to be a part of that. The OL coach got it, but after that OL coaching change, Wisonsin went back to a power running style, rallied and turned it around.

    The bigger issue that year wasn’t wiith the OL. It was good enough for Ball to put up ridiculous numbers (in spite of control freak, conservative Bielema). It was with QB. They played 3 different ones with each seeing action in 7+ games. Hmmmm, spotty QB play and management sound familiar?

    That 70pt game was a bit of Fool’s Gold because they introduced the jet sweep stuff in that game, catching the other team off guard. Maybe that was the genius of Canada and Beilema giving him back some control, but Beilema left 3 days later. Alvarez coached the bowl game. Now Alvarez has a huge ego and maybe wanted one more rodeo, but it could also show you how much faith he had in Canada. Regardless Alvarez didn’t exactly lock him up after coaching with him prepping for the bowl….

    I have a close friend who is really into Wisconsin, (like at a lot of the games despite living in NC, is a message board junkie, etc.). He’s not the type who hates all the coordinators, or OCs, but he told me that when we hired Canada, it was a really bad move.

    Go back and search my posts and I’ve voiced consistent concerns about Canada. In contrast I actually thought Hux was a decent hire. I thought he might be a goner because changes have to be made and he’s an easy scapegoat, but I think our issues there are as much related to talent as scheme. We did far less with more on offense than on defense. Also, i can’t help but think that DD is much more involved on the defensive side of the ball, and thus the product there reflects as much (or more) on him as Hux.


    And now we have an exciting BB season to look forward too, with our dominating front line players. Unstoppable. Please excuse my fun! Looks to be a real long season, but things could change. We can only hope, and yes I got off subject. Sorry! Just needed to throw this in.


    I think we should all start following wrestling. Ranked #3 nationally, at least they are having success. Go Pack!


    Better get rid of Hux quick, who wants to be OC following one that got fired for putting up 33 ppg and still cdnt get quality wins. How much will he have to spot the D for a winning conf run?


    I’m not going to make much of Canada’s friction st Wiscy. Bielema is no saint and he got out of dodge. Canada’s supposed friction with Doeren does raise some eyebrows. But I will agree with the masses that his offense outperformed the defense. Hope to see some moves made on that side of the ball. We need a good solid defense to keep us in games as the talent differential seems to be widening.


    Thanks, ‘Foose, for setting some comments straight. Those with memories will recall that I told you guys that #1…Alvarez tried to snake DD a day after the hire, here.
    #2…He was pissed that Canada went with Doeren. Alvarez DID have plans for Canada!

    Our Line coach has left for a promotion, one that he was not getting at State. NIU pounced on it.


    I also think this is where solid AD leadership helps us tremendously as he won’t be on an island. He will have financial and all sorts of other support from the AD that will help enhance his chances of coming out of this better than before.

    You have more confidence in Yow than I do. Personally I do not want her hiring anyone else at NCSU. I question having her agent be the same agent for DD and Gott. I question the decision to spend $35M on Reynolds and a hall of fame for a school that hasn’t won anything in 30 years. I question giving extensions to both DD and Gott when their value has not shown it is needed or really warranted.


    Its simple really, in college football a good offense makes you competitive in every game. There is such a talent gap between teams that having a good or greats system on offense makes you competitive in almost every game you play. I also think offensive schemes are generally easier to pick up than defensives ones which is why freshman can make more of an impact on offense than defense. Either way this needed to happen, as our team lacked creativity on offense. I agree the defense needs to get better too, but at least something is being done instead of sitting pat.

    Rick, I agree the agent thing is a bit shady where Yow is concerned. Considering how far we have come under her leadership as an overall athletic program I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.


    thecowdog: Not sure if Foose “set me straight” regarding Canada. I’d agree with you that Alvarez made a run at DD and Canada, but that was seemingly after they were under contract. It was one of his many seemingly bizarre moves as AD.

    I don’t agree though that he loved Canada. He’d have already locked him up, or let him coach that bowl game. It doesn’t really matter though. Neither of us really know what Alvarez thought of Canada at the time, nor is it pertinent to what happened with Canada at NC State.

    I think we have differing opinions on whether he was a good hire initially. And really, those are opinions about something that happened 3 years ago, and our thoughts about it at the time. I think a search would suggest I raised concerns then, but it doesn’t really matter.

    The seemingly pertinent thing to Wisconsin is that the QB slot was a mess, and there was a personality issue between the OC and the head coach. When we look at the last few years, our QB spot has been a mess (outside of about 6-8 games by JB), we’ve not really brought along a replacement (which had led me to believe that the replacement must have been running the scout team), and now we’re hearing rumblings about friction between DD and Canada.

    What matters more is what we’ve seen over the last 3 years. Do you have disagreement with the list of gaps that I’d highlighted? Do you agree that we did less with more on offense, particularly in those winnable swing games?

    The program may or may not be better with Canada gone. A lot of that depends on who gets hired and how much the philosophy switches. I expect to see up tempo, spread, read option with a running QB. That’s seemingly what we’ve recruited to and would line up with what DD did at NIU. I’m willing to chance it though because something needed to happen. I think we’d seen the pros and cons of the Canada offense with this level of personnel in the ACC.

    For the record, I don’t think Hux is safe. To me the conversations are different and separate. They’re also influenced by talent level, the level of collaboration and input from the head coach in the prep and the product and how well DD feels he can work with that coordinator. DD may look in the mirror a bit more on that side of the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a more conventional 4-3 next year with more blitzing and a bit softer coverage behind regardless of who is calling the plays.


    You’re making yourself look a little foolish in trying to defend a statement that was not true. Canada did not get the OL coach fired. Canada is not why Beliema is at Arkansas. Beliema was Alvarez’s hand picked successor, and that was long before he left coaching. Budget expenditures, or lack there of, including the athletic dept NOT allowing Beliema to give assistants raises, including Canada, does have a lot to do with it.

    OC’s don’t hire OL coaches. There was no ‘rogue’ OL coach. Horrid does not mean rogue. The OL coach was Beliema’s mistake. He essentially admitted it. The OL coach taugh ‘his’ way. That is why he was hired.

    There’s different philosophies and methods in OL execution. The OL coach hired by Beliema tought it a certain way, a way that did not jive with a power running game. You hire a coach for his skill and methodologies. You don’t hire him only to tell him once he’s on board you want him to change his philosophy and coach a completely different way. You don’t hire Chip Kelly and tell him he must run a Chuck Knox offense.

    There was no ‘power struggle’. The HC is the HC. There was disagreement, and friction.

    I’m not arguing DD’s decision. It’s the rewriting of history that is a pet peeve.


    Our Line coach has left for a promotion, one that he was not getting at State. NIU pounced on it.

    Yep. Agreed. But from reading other posts, apparently, once again, I’m in the minority opinion. As I wrote in a previous post after the bowl game but before the staff shakeup, I like our former OL coach. I thought he did an excellent job, all things considered.


    As for the offense under Canada, overall, I had no complaints of the OC. Sure, certain things I did not agree with, but I’m just a butt in the stands and give coaches the benefit of the doubt when I can.

    I thought the rush game was excellent, especially considering the inconsistent passing game and lack of a threat at WR.

    The only games when, in my opinion, the offense was a major issue, was in the Louisville and VT games, and to a lesser extent, the bowl game. All three in wet weather in which Jacoby couldn’t hit the side of a barn. That killed the play calling options, let alone the execution. That’s to say nothing of the personnel issues and injuries affecting those games.

    All things considered (Thorton, Dayes, all the OL injuries and lineups, WR issues, etc), I think the OC did, at a minimum, a better than average job.

    But as for QB development, ‘personality issues’, philosophical differences, issues in coaches meetings, whatever, I have no comment as I have no direct knowledge. However, staff decisions are the prerogative of the HC. That’s why, even though I thought Canada did a good job, I have no complaints regarding the change.


    foose: No worries. Some things we’ll agree on, some we won’t. It really doesn’t matter on some of it.

    It’s sort of like TOB/PJ. I wanted PJ when we hired TOB and didn’t want any part of TOB. The entire time we had TOB, I always compared PJ’s results to his because those were our choices at the time. Once we were done with TOB, then the PJ thing kind of ended in my mind because that chapter was past. It’s the same with Canada. He’s gone now, and so be it. He did some things well, and some things poorly.

    I agree that I liked the emphasis on running. I hope we can continue with that. I believe offenses have to have be able to run in order to throw and that a defense needs an offense to be able to run the ball to protect the lead, rest them, and ultimately keep points off the board.

    I just hope our ability to run the ball didn’t walk out the door with the OL coach. I thought that was drastically improved, all things considered.

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