By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. — LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada met with the media Friday at the Citrus Bowl for the first time since before the season opener. Here’s what Canada said amid reports that there’s an impending split between him and LSU once the Tigers finish playing Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl on Monday.
Q: What was your first season at LSU like?
A: We started off well against BYU and then we had a few games we didn’t win, which was frustrating for everybody. Then where we came from, winning six of the last seven, I’m really proud of our players. I think they took the situation, stuck together, and as a team they played extremely well. Coach O talks about One Team, One Heartbeat. We had eight turnovers, which was No. 1 in the nation. We had balance, we talked about being balanced.
Q: How did the offense improve from that Troy game on?
A: I think they just kept working. We found a way to win. That’s the reason you go to a place like this, you want to win. We just found a way to win. 17-16 in Florida, the statistics aren’t flashy and don’t look great, but we had three true freshmen playing and we found a way to run the football in The Swamp and win. I think every game is different. That’s what is funny about our sport, especially on offense. We won the Ole Miss game without our wide receivers catching a pass. Every game is different, and I think our kids bought into being unselfish and finding a way to win.”
Q: Do you want to be here next year?
A: I’d love to be here next year.
Q: Have you talked to anybody about your future?
A: No, I haven’t. Right now it’s about the bowl game. I’m working hard. I’ve, we as an offensive staff have set up a game plan. We’re playing a tremendous defense and a tremendous defensive coordinator. That’s all we’re focusing on right now, trying to get to 10 wins.
Q: Has it been difficult to keep your players focused the past few days?
A: No, not at all. Our players are good with our focus on winning 10 games. Our players and I have a really good situation going. We’ve all stuck together and I don’t think there’s any issue at all.
Q: Looking ahead to next year, what’re you excited about? What do you see progressing?
A: This offense has untapped potential. The players that’re here and players recruited here to come here are going to add and fill in any voids that might be there for this team. The offense will just explode. I think it’s going to be a great situation.
Q: Did you pursue head coaching opportunities?
A: You don’t apply for head coaching jobs. People call you. If people want to talk to you about being a head coach, they call you.
Q: Do you feel like you ran the offense the way you wanted to this season?
Q: All season?
Q: Can you tell us how your offense was different against Troy?
A: We went into the game, we had a plan. 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 turnovers. 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 story about that is the tremendous job our players did coming back after everybody probably threw them for dead to the world, and they came back and won six out of seven games. It’s a great credit to our players for sticking together.
Q: In this business, is it important for you to get along with your boss?
A: Coach O and I have the same goal. We just want to win.
Q: What is your relationship like with him?
A: That’s our relationship. We just want to win.
Q: Do you have any immediate plans after the bowl?
A: Just go to work. Life, you just look around and you don’t know what’s going to happen at any point anytime. So I’m going to go to work. I think we’re going to have a couple of days off, so I’m going to spend some time with my children. Then we’ll get to work. Get on the road recruiting and do the things that we do.