By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
The worst-kept secret in Baton Rouge is finally official: Matt Canada is out as LSU offensive coordinator.
LSU announced the two mutually agreed to part company LSU will pay him $1.7 million in buyout money, according to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.
“I want to thank Matt for his contribution here at LSU and wish him and his family the best,” Orgeron said in a statement. “We have mutually agreed to part ways and go in a different direction offensively but are always grateful for the time and effort Matt made here at LSU.”
BREAKING: #LSU and OC Matt Canada have reached a mutual settlement to separate.
He will be paid $1.7M of the $3.3M his contract called forhttps://t.co/sNhNRlj0CF
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) January 6, 2018
Rumblings of a rift between Orgeron and Canada have permeated around the program since Orgeron admitted to ordering changes to the offense before the 24-21 loss to Troy in September.
Canada himself shed some light on the disconnect that’s grown between him and his boss since then during an interview prior to the Citrus Bowl. He seemed to affirm Orgeron’s prior admission that he meddled in the offense by ordering Canada to take out the shifts and motions that’re hallmarks of his scheme. LSU was shutout in the first half before re-instituting the shifts after halftime in a comeback effort that came up three points short.
The coordinator said he felt he has been allowed to run the offense as he liked but didn’t respond — effectively a non-verbal no comment — when a reporter asked if that had been the case all season.
“We went into the game, we had a plan,” Canada said of the Troy loss. “We felt like we wanted to settle things down a little bit, line up and block. Our lack of execution had nothing to do with that. We didn’t execute well.
“We had some young guys in there and we turned the ball over. We’re proud of our (lack of) turnovers (this season). We had four of the eight in that game. That falls on me. We turned the ball over four times. It’s hard to win games when you turn the ball over four times.”
The now-famous meeting between LSU AD Joe Alleva, Orgeron and his two coordinators followed with the stated goal of “getting on the same page,” as Orgeron put it. LSU closed winning six of its final seven games to land a spot in the Citrus Bowl.
As for the rift with Orgeron, Canada didn’t say much to dispel the notion that’s been widely perceived around the program for months.
“Coach O and I have the same goal. We just want to win,” he said when asked directly about their relationship. “That’s our relationship. We just want to win.”
Now that relationship is no more. LSU will begin a search for a new OC, Orgeron said.
“We will identify a coach with a wealth of experience who is totally committed to the vision of the program and has the drive to do whatever it takes to see it through,” said Orgeron.
“We have a lot of talent coming up on offense. We want to put our players in the best possible position to succeed which means improving our vertical passing game and developing our quarterbacks and wide receivers to be at their absolute best.”
I’m not criticizing what others have said or do I disagree with much that they feel. I fell many of us were for the Orgeron hire and probably content, to a point, with what had been accomplished until now. It seems to me that Canada cannot be judged fairly having only served in his position as OC for one season. If we are to judge what he’s accomplished, what he’s accomplished has been accomplished with a quarterback who is a heck of a nice guy but not considered one of the top SEC quarterbacks. Having said that, we haven’t had someone at that level for many, many, years. I hope Orgeron can find s “top” OC but if he does find another one, will his wanting to get involved in directing the offense cause us to revisit this same scenario down the road. I know this, Orgeron is not an OC and if he ends up taking over that position then maybe it is intended by someone in “power” that his fate be controlled by LSU backers and fans. Maybe he was never meant to be the one to hold that position. With no disrespect to him, as good as he is at the job he does, his qualifications can’t compare with Sabin, U. Meyers, K. Smart, J. Sweeney, Jimbo Fisher, Dan Mullen or Gus Malzahn. With respect to Coach Orgeron, he hasn’t been in a head coaching position for enough years to be judged and certainly not long enough at LSU to be evaluated, much like Canada. He could hire a very good OC and everyone will forget the discourse we are having yet, not many people feel we are making a good start.