Matt Canada remains LSU’s offensive coordinator, it appears, for at least one more day.
Canada returned to Baton Rouge on the team plane Tuesday, flying back from the Citrus Bowl site in somewhat expected news that makes no clearer the cloudy future of the first-year assistant and this program.
Canada, a 45-year-old Indiana native, is not expected to return as LSU’s offensive coordinator next season, but the school has made no announcement on his future and head coach Ed Orgeron has sidestepped questions along the way.
Meanwhile, Orgeron and staff returned to Baton Rouge on Tuesday following Monday's 21-17 loss to Notre Dame in Orlando, Florida, with a lengthy to-do list. Sure, the future of the offensive coordinator position and the potential staff shuffling that comes with it are on it. So are a slew of other priorities: re-recruiting draft-eligible juniors, creating recruiting plans to close out the 2018 signing class and welcoming a few new faces.
New offensive line coach James Cregg will join the program in the coming days, as Jeff Grimes leaves this weekend to join BYU as its offensive coordinator. As many as 10 signees are scheduled to arrive to begin classes next week, according to the school. Also, Orgeron is also planning to hire current analyst Greg McMahon as special teams coordinator, he’s previously stated, using the 10th assistant coaching spot the NCAA approved in the spring.
On the recruiting trail, LSU has four spots open in his 2018 class, and the staff will zero in on a group of players to pursue during the open-contact period, Jan. 12-Feb. 3. Orgeron suggested that at least one of those four spots will be filled by a highly touted receiver, likely Rummel's Jamarr Chase, a top-15 wideout nationally who’s from Metairie.
“Have to replace (receivers) DJ Chark and Russell Gage. (LSU signee) Terrace Marshall is the No. 1 receiver in the country,” Orgeron said. “We may get another big-time receiver coming up soon. We think we can replace those guys, but there will be some new faces on offense.”
Maybe the most important on the to-do list is re-recruiting juniors, an annual occurrence at this school. LSU has lost 25 underclassmen to the draft in the previous five cycles, a startling number for any program.
This year’s crop potentially features a half-dozen early exits. Coaches expect four to forgo their senior seasons: edge rusher Arden Key, running back Derrius Guice and cornerbacks Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson, though none of the players have made a public announcement. Many around the program feel right tackle Toby Weathersby is leaning to leave, and center Will Clapp has a decision to make as well.
“(Got to) put my recruiting hat on,” Orgeron said following Monday’s loss.
Re-recruiting the junior class is essential, and it is something that has produced mixed results in the past with players on the fence. For instance, the Tigers convinced one of two receivers last year to return for their senior year, nabbing DJ Chark and losing Malachi Dupre. Two years ago, cornerback Tre’Davious White and Kendell Beckwith stayed for a fourth season while coaches lost the battle to pro ball for tackle Jerald Hawkins.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Jan. 15.
Re-recruiting coaches is a possibility, too. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, the highest-paid assistant in college football, spurned a pursuit from Texas A&M over the weekend, but the Tigers may not be done fighting to keep the defensive guru.
ORLANDO, Fla. — The LSU Tigers appear to be stuck in some kind of nightmarish time loop when it comes to the Citrus Bowl and playing bowls aga…
The Green Bay Packers have an opening at coordinator after firing longtime defensive leader Dom Capers. It’s a familiar place for Aranda, the 41-year-old who just completed his second season directing LSU’s defense. Aranda spent three season coordinator the defense at Wisconsin in Madison, just 130 miles from Green Bay. While in Madison, Aranda took trips to study defense with Packers coaches and even interviewed for a job with the franchise after the 2014 season.
Aranda is set to make $1.85 million this year. NFL assistant coaching salaries are not released.
Aside from that to-do list is some ugly film to watch, full of crushing late-game mistakes defensively and missed opportunities offensively.
A season-long problem plagued the Tigers: red zone offense. They snapped 41 of their 75 plays in Notre Dame territory (55 percent), with 14 of them coming in the red zone and six unfolding at or inside the 3-yard line. They scored just 17 points, missing two field goals.
"We bogged down in the red zone," Orgeron said. "Something we’ve got to get better at. Got to watch the film and find out what’s going on. Just bogged down."
ORLANDO, Fla. — LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada exited the team locker room area Monday night and walked with family members away from t…