BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU has hired Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada away from the Panthers in hopes he can make the Tigers’ run-heavy offense more dynamic and productive against some of the nation’s better defenses.
Canada’s unit at Pitt enjoyed a prolific season, averaging 42.3 points and 447.5 yards for Pitt, which went 8-4 this season and next meets Northwestern in the Pinstripe Bowl in Dec. 28, and Canada is expected to remain with the Panthers through that game.
Canada’s offenses have been defined by balance, creativity and misdirection. Of Pitt’s 5,370 total net yards of offense this season, 2,757 have come on the ground and 2,613 through the air.
The hiring of Canada marks the first significant staff addition made by LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who took over on an interim basis after Les Miles was fired in late September and received the job on a permanent basis after going 5-2.
Orgeron also has retained defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, whose unit allowed just 15.4 points per game.
“We have a real opportunity under coach Orgeron to propel LSU football to another level,” Canada said in a statement released by LSU. “The chance to put together a high-powered offense with the athletic ability available at LSU and the leadership of Coach ‘O’ is incredibly exciting. I’ve long-respected Coach Orgeron’s ability to recruit, lead and motivate. What he did as head coach at LSU under difficult circumstances was really impressive.
“We’re going to develop quarterbacks, score points and bring some excitement to the offense here at LSU,” Canda added.
Canada, who turned 45 next month, takes over for Steve Ensminger, who’d moved up from tight ends coach on an interim basis after former coordinator Cam Cameron was fired on the same day Miles was.
Miles was fired after several seasons in which his quarterbacks, with the exception of Zach Mettenberger, largely struggled to produce consistently. The lack of a passing game has been exposed most during what is now a six-game losing streak against Alabama. While LSU’s defense kept the game close, the Tigers were shut out by the Crimson Tide, 10-0, this season.
This season, LSU has averaged 238 yards rushing and only 188 passing.
A two-decade veteran of college coaching, Canada also has held offensive coordinator positions with Indiana, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin and North Carolina State.