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LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada runs a system that fluctuates in tempo.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY TRAVIS SPRADLING

LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada doesn't mince words about running back Derrius Guice.

"Derrius Guice is awesome," the Tigers' first-year offensive coordinator said on "Off the Bench" with Jordy Culotta and T-Bob Hebert on Friday morning on 104.9 FM ESPN in Baton Rouge.

A Heisman Trophy candidate in what will almost certainly be his final season at LSU, Guice and his enthusiasm for all facets of the game impressed Canada early on.

"From Day 1 when I got here (Guice) wanted to know about protection. That's really a refreshing thing to see with a running back," Canada said. "His first question wasn't, 'How are you going to get me the ball?' He probably knew he was going to get the ball. But that wasn't what it was."

Canada has coached a bevy of talented running backs at previous stops -- Michael Turner (Northern Illinois), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), James White (Wisconsin) and Montee Ball (Wisconsin). But he thinks Guice's talents are unmatched.

"Skill set-wise, Derrius certainly is in a league all of his own compared to those guys, and there are two Doak Walker award winners there," Canada said. "I think Derrius' potential is off the charts. That doesn't have to do with the system. It has to do with him being a great player."

Canada also spoke highly of quarterback Danny Etling, who showed great leadership, he said, by going through all of spring practice with a bum back. Etling is about "90 percent" healthy, coach Ed Orgeron said earlier this week, after offseason surgery.

"What a great guy he is," Canada said of the quarterback, adding that Etling would undoubtedly be the starter if the Tigers played today.

Click here to listen to Canada's full interview, including his thoughts on wide receiver D.J. Chark, the depth behind Etling and the offensive line.

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