We’re currently in the midst of SEC Media Days, and what do you know, we have a Maryland connection! Folks, we don’t get those too often.
Ed Orgeron kind of crushing Matt Canada during this news conference. "It's tough when you make a mistake." Canada had strong offenses at Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin and other spots. Might not be him, O.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) July 16, 2018
Ed Orgeron on switching offensive coordinators one year in: 'It's tough when you make a mistake, but it's even tougher not to admit you made a mistake.'— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) July 16, 2018
Matt Canada was LSU’s offensive coordinator last season, and now he’s at Maryland, a development few would have predicted at this point a year ago.
Some quick things:
Ed Orgeron is right in saying it was a mistake. He and Canada sure as hell didn’t work out.
By all accounts, Canada was viewed as a home-run hire at LSU for Orgeron, who had just gotten his interim tag removed and was looking for a splash:
The staff retrenched, preparing for a battle to land Matt Canada, the offseason’s hottest coordinator candidate. With defensive coordinator Dave Aranda locked into a $1.8 million annual deal, Orgeron, with Alleva’s blessing, wanted an equally notable — and compensated — OC.
”The day we got him here, we knew Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee was all after him. That’s not all of them. These schools were just dying to get him. So we had to move. And the guy was wanted, so we had to make the right offer,” Orgeron says.
Canada signed a $1.5 million annual deal, putting LSU at $3.3 million in coordinator pay. The moves fortify the Tigers with arguably the best coordinator duo in the game, a statement to those critical of O’s acumen as a CEO. If either gets a head coaching or NFL gig, bring on the next bidding war.
Canada was coming off a nomination for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant in college football. He was going to fix LSU’s offense.
The short story: the offense did not get fixed, with Orgeron and Canada butting heads behind the scenes.
Who made the mistake, though?
It’s probably fair to place blame on both sides here, buuuuut:
LSU’s coach hired an offensive coordinator who excelled with pre-snap motions and shifts, then told that same coordinator to cut them out before a game midseason. LSU lost that game to Troy, a very good Sun Belt team, at home. Then, after altering the playbook, Orgeron publicly criticized his coordinator’s play-calling. Several reports indicated the relationship did not recover after that.
For Canada, reports out of Baton Rouge shared similarities to those that emerged in the Wisconsin State Journal after Bret Bielema didn’t take Canada with him when departing Wisconsin for Arkansas. Both situations involved Canada disagreeing with coaches who wouldn’t give him full control of the offense. However, with the success he’s had when given full control, it’s easy to see why he wouldn’t settle for less than that.
It’s a mistake that enabled Maryland to get a big name in a situation where it usually wouldn’t.
Canada was the highest-paid OC in college football at a traditional power last season. That’s sure not the kind of coordinator Maryland is usually able to get. The Terps usually have to bet on up-and-comers (like Walt Bell, the man Canada replaces) or journeymen (like Mike Locksley, who came over after his tenure as New Mexico head coach ended poorly).
It’s true that Canada is somewhat of a journeyman himself. LSU was the fourth stop in his career that only lasted one year, and it seems within the realm of possibility that Maryland becomes No. 5. That’s still a risk the Terps would gladly take, I’m sure.
Maryland football opens its season against Texas on Sept. 2 at FedexField.
That really can’t come soon enough.