On the surface, Matt Canada made perfect sense for LSU a year ago.
Canada helped make the Pitt offense one of the most innovative in the country in 2016 in his only season with the Panthers. That success — it’s fair to say Nate Peterman isn’t drafted so highly by the Bills without Matt Canada — made him a desirable name.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron, about to embark on his first season as LSU’s head coach, needed an impact hire at offensive coordinator. Canada was the obvious candidate, so the school hired him in December.
Things did not go as well as anticipated as Orgeron and Canada appeared to mesh together as well as random Auburn and Alabama fans forced to cooperate in an escape room on the day of the Iron Bowl. LSU and Canada have officially parted ways after just one season together.
As part of his separation agreement with the school, Canada gets a payment of $1.7 million and the two parties agreed to a non-disparagement clause.
Canada may also not “interfere” with some of LSU’s business. From the Baton Rouge Advocate:
– Interfere in any way with the activities of LSU’s football team or athletics department and shall not discourage the staff or current members of the football team from cooperating in the transition to a new offensive coordinator or from performing their duties to the best of their abilities.
– Interfere with or discourage student-athletes who have signed national letters of intent to enroll at LSU.
LSU’s offense averaged 5.9 yards per play in 2017, down from the 6.6 yards per play the Tigers averaged in 2016. Yeah, LSU’s offense was not the explosive and shifty one Tigers fans expected. Perhaps that had to do with the friction between Orgeron and Canada.
Wednesday, the school announced that Steve Ensminger would take over as the offensive coordinator in 2018. A longtime LSU assistant, Ensminger was the team’s offensive coordinator for the final third of the 2016 season after offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired with coach Les Miles in September.
Yes, LSU bailed on Canada after a single season to go back to the coordinator Canada replaced. It’s a little weird. Familiarity is a hell of a drug.
With the departure of running back Derrius Guice to the NFL, the LSU offense needs to replace his 1,375 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Danny Etling and leading wide receiver D.J. Chark were seniors in 2017 too. LSU has to find impact players across the board. Asking for Ensminger’s offense to find a middle ground between his offense in 2016 and Canada’s in 2017 is a reasonable best-case scenario.
Will that be good enough for LSU fans as the Tigers suddenly find themselves in a more crowded SEC West? We’ll find out. LSU fans are becoming more and more familiar with three and four-loss seasons. And we’re pretty sure those seasons are far more of a downer than an upper.
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