By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. — Offensive coordinator Matt Canada made the trip to Orlando with LSU on Thursday night and will call plays against Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said.
Canada made the trip amid multiple reports that LSU and the first-year offensive coordinator are headed for a split following the bowl game. He was spotted walking through the hotel along with the rest of the team and staff.
Orgeron briefly addressed the media upon arriving at the hotel, though he didn’t share much more than the fairly obvious.
“This is about these young men, about us coming to play Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl, about us winning 10 games. That’s what our focus is on,” Orgeron told reporters upon arriving to the team hotel outside Sea World. “Matt right now is our offensive coordinator. He will call plays in the game. Our focus is on beating Notre Dame.”
The rift between Orgeron and his first-year play-caller dates back to the week of LSU’s loss to Troy. Orgeron admitted to telling Canada to scrap the motions and shifts that are hallmarks of his offense in the first half — during which LSU was held scoreless — before allowing him to run his offense in the second half.
A now-famous meeting between LSU AD Joe Alleva, Orgeron, Canada and defensive coordinator followed with the stated goal of “getting on the same page,” as Orgeron put it.
LSU won six of its next seven games to finish the regular season 9-3, but all signs still point to Monday being Canada’s final game at LSU.
Canada is presently in the first year of a three-year, $4.5-million contract. LSU would owe him $3 million if he’s fired without cause, though school administrators have reportedly been in contact with Canada’s representation regarding a settlement.
The Citrus Bowl has a coordinator and player press conference scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.