Friday, January 8, 2016

Pitt has a new offensive coordinator

Pat Narduzzi has found his new offensive coordinator, and it's Matt Canada. Canada, who is going to be 44 in a few weeks is considered one of the better coordinators in major college football. He was recently the coordinator at North Carolina State for three years, but parted ways with Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren within the past week.

At NC State, Canada's offense were successful despite injuries and a lack of elite talent. In fact, last season he led NC State to their fourth best offensive output in school history, and the average yard per play was second best in school history. This season NC State scored the third most points in the ACC. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett could barely get on the field at Florida but after he transferred to NC State, he flourished under Canada with two year totals of 5,268 yards, 43 TDs, 11 interceptions, and 899 yards.

Before NC State, Canada succeeded Paul Chryst as offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. In that one year Wisconsin won the Big 10 and went to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin started the season by averaging 276 yards and 16.3 points over the first three games. Canada admitted that in those games he tried to do things the Wisconsin way. Starting with the fourth game he tweaked things in his own style and in the next ten games the Badgers averaged 437.7 yards and 35.1 points per game. Head coach Bret Bielema was reportedly overruling some of Canada's play calls and after Canada complained, Bielema gave him free rein in the Big 10 championship game, which resulted in 70 points and 640 yards, including 539 on the ground.

Prior to Wisconsin, Canada was also the offensive coordinator at Indiana (his alma mater), Northern Illinois, and Butler. He signed a three year extension prior to this season when Tennessee tried to hire him away as an offensive coordinator. He was also mentioned as a possibility to be the head coach this season at East Carolina. It unknown why Canada was let go at NC State despite his success.

Here is the official press release that Pitt sent me. It has more details:

For IMMEDIATE Release                                                                                               
January 8, 2016                                                                                                              
   PITTSBURGH—Matt Canada, a 24-year coaching veteran who most recently orchestrated some of the most productive offenses in NC State history, has been named offensive coordinator at Pitt by Pat Narduzzi

   Under Canada’s direction, NC State averaged more than 30 points per game each of the past two seasons. In 2015, the Wolfpack scored 33.2 points per contest, the third highest average in school history. 

   Canada’s Pitt appointment marks a reunion with Narduzzi. The pair worked together at Northern Illinois from 2000-02.

   “I’ve known Matt and his family for a very long time and I feel very fortunate to bring him to Pittsburgh,” Narduzzi said. “Matt is an innovative offensive mind, excellent teacher of quarterback play and strong recruiter and evaluator. He is a great leader who will provide our team and staff with a real spark. Most importantly, Matt is a tremendously loyal person who will be a great fit for Pitt.”

   “I’m thrilled and honored to join Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt football program,” Canada said. “I have tremendous respect for Pat as a person and professional. He truly does things the right way. Pat is building something special at Pitt and I’m ready to hit the ground running and begin contributing to the effort.”

   Canada served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NC State from 2013-15. This past season, the Wolfpack produced 412.8 yards per game—the fifth highest average in school history—despite losing leading rusher Matt Dayes (108.1 yards per game) to injury for the final five games. NC State led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked 11thnationally in time of possession (33:03).

   In 2014 NC State racked up its highest rushing total since 1977 with 2,659 yards. The Wolfpack averaged 6.0 yards per offensive play, the second-highest mark in school annals. 

   NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett thrived as a dual threat under Canada’s watch the past two years. Brissett threw 43 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions over his junior and senior seasons, earning the team’s MVP award each year.

   In 2014 Brissett was one of just three Power 5 conference quarterbacks with at least 2,000 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, 20 passing TDs and five (or fewer) interceptions. The others were Oregon Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley.

   Prior to NC State, Canada was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin during the 2012 season. Led by All-America running back Montee Ball, the Badgers averaged 236.4 rushing yards per game to rank 13th nationally. Ball, who rushed for 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns, was named the recipient of the prestigious Doak Walker Award, annually presented to the nation’s top running back. 

   Canada’s offense exploded in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game, a 70-31 rout of Nebraska, to earn the Badgers a trip to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin had two 200-yard rushers for the first time in school history and piled up 539 yards on the ground and 640 total against the Cornhuskers.

   In 2011 Canada was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for a Northern Illinois team that averaged nearly 40 points per game en route to an 11-3 record and the Mid-American Conference championship. The Huskies finished in the nation’s top 12 in scoring (12th, 38.3 ppg.), total offense (11th, 476.0 avg.) and rushing offense (12th, 234.1 avg.). Quarterback Chandler Harnish averaged 328.2 yards in total offense to rank ninth in the country and was named the MAC’s Most Valuable Player.

   Canada actually had two stints at Northern Illinois, also serving on the Huskies staff from 1998-2003. He oversaw NIU’s running backs (1998-2000) and quarterbacks (2001-02) before elevating to offensive coordinator in 2003. 

   NIU’s 2003 team upset Alabama, Maryland and Iowa State in earning a No. 12 Associated Press ranking. Canada’s offense featured All-America running back Michael Turner, who averaged 137.3 rushing yards per game to rank second in the country.

   From 2004-10 Canada coached quarterbacks at Indiana. He was the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator his final four seasons (2007-10) after serving as passing game coordinator for two years (2005-06). The 2007 Hoosiers posted a school-record 412 points en route to the Insight Bowl, the program’s first postseason game in 14 years.

   Canada coached two of the most prolific quarterbacks in IU history in Ben Chappell and Kellen Lewis. The duo still ranks highly in various school passing categories. Chappell holds Indiana career records for completions (651) and completion percentage (.611), while ranking third in touchdown passes (45) and passing yards (7,251). Lewis holds the season record for touchdown passes (28) and ranks second with 48 career TD passes.

   Canada is a 1993 graduate of Indiana who began his coaching career as a Hoosiers student assistant (1992-93) and graduate assistant (1994-95). He earned his first full-time coaching appointment at Butler University, where he coached quarterbacks and wide receivers in 1996 and was the offensive coordinator in 1997.


  1. I assume you like this hire? Do you think recruits will look at this hire as a positive?

  2. Good to see another hire with experience and demonstrated success. Anybody with public knowledge of his salary while at NC State?

  3. One wonders why he was let go at NC State? May be that he was not happy there and continually was shopping for another job. Hope that is the case. One would think he and Narduzzi will get along with their past history. He seems to be good at developing quarterbacks as well as running backs. Hope he has James Conner at his disposal next season!

  4. Maybe NC State let Canada go because he was eyeing the Pitt job. Narduzzi and Canada have been good friends for a long time and Nard Dog wanted him last year but he couldn't make it happen. In an article I read from 2012/13, Canada talked about his daughter being a HS freshman, this would put her in line to graduate this summer. Perhaps last year he didnt want to uproot his family right before his daughter's senior year, but this time around, the timing is perfect. He was fired less than a week ago, so it makes sense...

  5. I like the hire! imagine that a coach that knows how to hire coordinators..

  6. It's great that Pitt finally has our OC in place in time to keep recruits from getting nervous before NLOI signing day.

    Speaking of recruiting, Doke: Do you happen to know which area of the country that Canada has his strongest ties?

    1. Most OCs recruit QBs and help with some of the bigger offensive recruits. I'm sure he'll do the same. At NC State he just recruited locally.

  7. Robert Washington looks more promising as he is coming directly from ncstate territory. Will also help in landing the next Gilbert.

    A lot of folks think we will have the upper hand against the middle of the state school because of the new DC. I would argue that we have the same situation as we have a new OC. Advantage anyone??

    1. The nits have TWO new coordinators. Plus a coach on the hotseat, one that their 5-star QB couldn't wait to get away from, a guy their previous DC reached deep into his own pocket to pay huge to secure his freedom.

      Advantage Pitt.

    2. I'd say advantage Pitt. Canada is a highly-respected and proven OC with extensive Power 5 experience, while Pryts hasn't been the main guy since 2010, and that experience came at Georgia Southern. Couple that with Franklin being mediocre to terrible head coach who also has a new OC, and the coaching advantage should be significantly in Pitt's favor.

    3. I meant Pry..sorry

  8. I don't think there is advantage.Mathews wanted to go to Penn State no matter what miles sanders same thing.and I think Hudson's going in the same direction.

  9. Is Canada going to throw a last ditched effort at miles sanders? Seems like sanders to msu is gaining traction, if he is waivering on psu why not try one last time? I think Washington comes down to us or tcu, but if he isn't ready to make up his mind this weekend why not take advantage of the psu uncertainty?

  10. Mind if I make a polite suggestion? And you don't need to post this.

    This website used to be my one and only source for Pitt recruiting and other goings on. But lately, your articles are becoming less and less frequent, so now I've found other sites. Whenever I check back, usually nothing new, and no new posts.

    I know you're a busy Tweeter ... VERY busy! But unless you somehow get paid to Tweet? be good for business to build this up and then lose all your market share.

    Take it as a compliment: In short, you have fans, and they (we...) miss you.

    1. I assumed that between Peak and what Vucovkan were doing that was enough info. I didn't want to bother people!! But I do have a giant signing day article that I'm writing.

    2. I guess we just feel like u r better than peak and vucovkan, even though they are both good.

  11. I agree also you are (were) my Pitt go-to - no BS! I check daily.

  12. Same here.. Please continue posting..

  13. Here!! I like your post best chris

  14. quit with the bromance and get back to Football