Matt Canada didn't a waste any time contacting one of most important pieces to LSU's 2017 recruiting class.
Canada, introduced as the Tigers' next offensive coordinator Wednesday, quickly hopped on the phone with Myles Brennan, the four-star quarterback who reopened his recruitment last month but remains committed to LSU. And things went well, Brennan revealed on Twitter.
Had a great talk with Coach Canada, willl make visit in january to meet face to face #geauxtigers— Myles Brennan (@mylesbrennan12) December 15, 2016
"Sounds interesting," Myles' father, Owen, texted in a message to The Advocate earlier Wednesday about Canada's hire. "We need to discuss as a family and hopefully meet with the coaches and see where it leads."
The conversation between Brennan and Canada perhaps alleviated some of the uneasiness Brennan felt about the future of the Tigers offense. Brennan reopened his recruitment after news broke that LSU offered Alabama quarterback commitment Tua Tagovailoa, the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class.
The move appeared to be an indication of LSU coach Ed Orgeron desire to shift the Tigers to a spread offense run by Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Orgeron's top candidate for the coordinator gig. Coaches from Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Memphis, Vanderbilt and Cal all contacted Brennan, his father said.
In fact, Oklahoma State offered Brennan, the nation’s 10th-best pro-style quarterback, a scholarship just hours following LSU's offer to Tagovailoa.
"It’s obvious there’s a lot of changes taking place within the LSU football program and in light of that, I have to support my son’s decision to at least explore backup options at this time," Owen said last month.
But Kiffin took the Florida Atlantic head coaching job, and Orgeron turned his attention to Canada. Even Orgeron, who had flipped flopped on his preference for pro-style or dual-threat quarterbacks in the past, said his staff plans to pursue to quarterbacks who they've already recruited. That includes St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse, the eighth-ranked dual-threat QB who decommitted from LSU earlier this week.
“We’re going to continue to recruit the quarterbacks that we’ve been recruiting," Orgeron said. "We like the guys that we have and hopefully we can have them become Tigers.”
If Brennan and Narcisse do decide to reaffirm their commitments to LSU, Canada will keep it simple for them. But not too simple.
"If you keep it too simple, then you’re predictable and it can catch up to you," Danny O'Brien, a former quarterback under Canada at Wisconsin, said on ESPN 104.5 FM's After Further Review ealrier this week.
"I think he did a good job of balancing keeping the schemes and the reads simple for you to understand against multiple coverages without sacrificing the play being good against multiple looks that you’re going to get on game day."
LSU hired Canada as offensive coordinator on Wednesday, but maybe an even bigger role for the 44-year-old: quarterbacks coach.
That’s a sore spot for the Tigers.
LSU’s passing game has not cracked the top 100 nationally over the past three seasons — 101st this season, 106th in 2015 and 116th in 2014. Three different quarterbacks have started in those seasons: Anthony Jennings, in 2014, Brandon Harris, in 2015, and Danny Etling this year.
LSU currently has four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: Etling, Harris, redshirt freshman Justin McMillan and freshman Lindsey Scott.
Canada recruited Etling during his one year at Wisconsin in 2012, but LSU’s direction at quarterback is a bit hazy. On the day he was hired, Orgeron announced that he’d like to run a spread offense equipped with a dual-threat quarterback. The coach previously said he would recruit pro-style QBs.
Canada's work with quarterbacks is extensive.
At N.C. State, he molded former Florida quarterback Jacoby Brissett into one of the nation’s most efficient passers. Brissett threw 43 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions over his junior and senior seasons. Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman led the ACC in QB rating this year and had 26 touchdowns to six interceptions.
At Indiana, Canada coached two of the most prolific quarterbacks in IU history in Ben Chappell and Kellen Lewis. Chappell holds Indiana career records for completion percentage. Lewis holds the season record for touchdown passes and ranks second with 48 career TD passes.
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Canada does not shy away from running his quarterback. In four of his 11 seasons as an FBS coordinator, his quarterback has run for 500 yards or more. Chandler Harnish, in 2011 at Northern Illinois, ran for 1,379.
"Very easy-going, competitive and poised on game day," O'Brien said.
Matt Canada began in the coaching profession making $5,000 a year as an assistant at Butler and, for extra money, he hung banners for Budweise…
Matt Canada has served as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five teams and for a total of 11 seasons. Here’s how his starting quarterbacks have performed.