Canada Talks Candidly About IU Offense

After spending the last two seasons as IU's passing game coordinator, Matt Canada takes over as the team's play caller as the offensive coordinator. Canada recently sat down with to talk about his new role, the passing of Terry Hoeppner, and the possibilities of this year's offense...

Bloomington, Ind. – Matt Canada is excited to be on call.

As in, calling plays. The Hoosiers' passing game coordinator for the last two seasons, Canada takes over as IU's offensive coordinator for new head coach Bill Lynch. He'll once again be located in the coaching box on game days, but now he'll be the man in charge of calling the plays for quarterback Kellen Lewis and the Hoosier offense.

While it's a new role for Canada at IU, he does have coordinating experience in his past. He served as the offensive coordinator at Butler in 1997 and then fulfilled the same role in 2003 at Northern Illinois, when he helped Coach Joe Novak's squad to a 10-2 record and a No. 13 national ranking.

Canada recently sat down with to talk about his new role, the passing of Terry Hoeppner, and the possibilities of this year's offense.

On what will be different with IU's offense this year with him in charge compared to Bill Lynch:

"We're all different. There's going to be something different here or there. But I think we've worked together really well as a staff, we've sat in there and made game plans and made decisions. Bill had the ultimate say, with coach hep being the guy that could come in at any time, and that's the same now with Bill probably being more involved.

"So I don't think there's any big change in philosophy. I think we've evolved as an offense and staff, and we know who we are now. As we look back and study the last games in the Big Ten, and as we started to produce the yardage and points that we think are necessary to win Big Ten football games, we're comfortable with where we are. You are always going to have little tweaks, but no one is going to see any big, major change."

On what will be different this season without Coach Terry Hoeppner in charge:

"It's not going to be another football season, because he's not here. There are going to be different times for all of us when (his absence) pops up. In the same breath, we owe it to him, to this program, and to this university to continue to play good football, and to continue to build the program that he laid the foundation for…but by no means will it be a normal year. It will never be normal again."

On some of his best memories about Hoeppner:

"There's a whole bunch. He's a great guy and a lot of fun to be around. He's a great football coach, but just a great person. That's been mentioned a lot, and it's true. The family was what was ultimately important to him. That's the one thing, the way he took care of his family.

"The line football is what I do, not what I am is very true in his case, and it's something we all learned from and try to emulate. It's what you want to do – you want to be a good person, a good husband, a good father, and a good coach. Sometimes the balance is a challenge. Hep always put it in perspective – we'll do our job, but once we do our job, we'll go be with our family."

On the job that Bill Lynch has done throughout Hoeppner's illness and since taking over:

"He's been awesome. He's done a tremendous job in a very tough situation. We are all very fortunate he's been here and been a steady force throughout this process, going back 18 months ago to now. He's been great for our staff, great for our players. That's why he has the reputation he has around the state and the country in the football world, why they respect him so much.

"I'm very excited he's here and going to be our head coach. He's going to do what's best for these kids and this program and ultimately going to be a really good situation for everyone involved."

On the sort of jump he expects to see from quarterback Kellen Lewis this fall:

"Kellen is a really talented guy. He had a really good spring., he's focused on being a good quarterback and working at his football.

"The sky is the limit for Kellen. He's very smart on the field, very athletic, throws it well, and I expect him to have a really good year. He's proven he can play. He got it going last year and played really well in some big games and I think he'll continue to do that."

On the strength of the offense:

"The strength of our offense is still our receivers, the depth we have there, the talent we have out there. We just have to get them the ball and let them go play. That's what we're focused on doing. When teams try to take that away I think our ability to run the ball will be much, much improved."

On who will provide the leadership on this year's team:

"We have a bunch of great kids, and I think at different times, different ones will step up. Josiah Sears is a very good leader and does that. I think Kellen, being the quarterback, some of that does fall to him. He's got to take that role and I think he did in the spring.

"I think we have guys at each position, in each room, who will step up and do a good job. Finding that ultimate one or two leaders, I don't know if that has to happen."

On the maturation of James Hardy:

"James has grown up as a person. He'd be the first to tell you that. He's an unbelievable talent who can make plays, and he did that as a freshman. But I think he's seen the big picture and understands how important he is to the football team and understands how much responsibility there is to be a great player to lead.

"We've been really pleased with him. He's definitely grown up and is doing the things we want him to do on and off the field. We've been really pleased with James and his work ethic and the things he's done."

On whether IU will stick with a rotation at tailback or settle on one primary ball carrier:

"(IU Running Backs) Coach (Gerald) Brown has the best feel for his kids. Competition is a great thing at any position. Keeping those guys fresh and moving, if a guy gets hot and gets going, Coach Brown will keep him in there and keep him going.

"But if you look at Marcus and then (Demetrius) McCray and Josiah (Sears), you have three guys who can really play, who all bring something different. They all have something really positive to bring to our football team. I think those kids will all be there based on situation and gameplan, who's hot, who's going, I think that's where Coach Brown will continue to play the guys when we need them."

On the excitement of being back to calling plays again:

"I feel very fortunate for this opportunity but also feel it's a group effort, and has been, and will continue to be. We have a good staff, good guys, and most importantly good players who are going to go out, work hard, get better, and we're looking forward to the season." Top Stories