Newly hired offensive coordinator Matt Canada talked with Pack Pride recently and in this Q&A, discussed his early thoughts on the Wolfpack offense, what fans can expect to see and the kind of quarterback he likes to recruit.
I know you haven't had a chance to watch them in person yet but what are your early thoughts on the talent you'll have on offense this year?
Well, I think we've got good talent. You're looking at a team that was able to win some games, that's won a lot of games really. They've won 7 or 8 games every year here. So, obviously there's good talent.
We're going to find what they do best and give them a clean slate. I think that's important. We've got some play makers that have made some plays. The quarterback position is one that's obviously up in the air and we'll have to go through the spring to see how it's going to play itself out.
You talk about the last two quarterbacks that played here were pretty good players. We hope to find a way to help those guys play as well as they can play.
What will be your focus during spring ball?
They've got to learn the terminology and where to go but our focus will be finding our best players, finding that two-deep of who can play receiver.
Who can stretch the field? Who's more of an underneath guy? Who's a go up and get it tight end? Who can block? Who can catch? Who can go get a short-yardage gain when you need one? So it's going to be to find what each guy does well.
So, we're going to teach them our system. They're going to learn our terminology. As a coach we've got to find out what guys do well.
At least in the beginning, will you have to build your offensive system around the players you have?
Our system is what it is. But this offense, we've been doing it for a long time. At Northern Illinois in 2003 we had Michael Turner. We went to Indiana and our talent pool was different. Our players were receivers and quarterbacks, so we threw the ball.
I went to Wisconsin last year and Montee Ball won the Doak Walker award so it's the same offense, the terminology is the same we just focus on different pieces to the puzzle to find who the players are.
It'll always be the same system but the focal points will change.
Would you call this a spread offense?
No, I don't think it's a spread. We're going to run the ball downhill. We're going to be under center a little bit. We're going to be in the pistol a little bit. We'll be in what looks like a spread a little bit. We're going to try to mix it up. We'll go no huddle and try to speed it up at times when we thinks that suits us.
But we want to run the football. How many times we run it isn't important but we want to be efficient and we've got to score points. That's what our offense does- it scores points.
What kind of quarterback will you recruit for your offense?
The ideal quarterback is, you'd like a real mobile guy who's a great thrower and is really smart. Sometimes you can't get that all together so it's probably a generic answer.
But a good quarterback is a winner. He's a student of the game. He can complete a pass on third and five when everybody in the stadium knows you have to throw it.
Now, can he run too? That would be great but those first things, that's what you have to be able to do to be good and then we hope the guy can make a play with his feet. There's people out there that people consider a drop-back quarterback but he can get a first down with his legs. So that's something you want to have.
You want to be able to move whether it's scrambling or whatever and that's important to us. So we want to get the best we can get and we'll structure around them.
What are your thoughts on the new recruiting rules being proposed?
Truthfully, we're going to play by whatever rules are out there.
I think we're opening up a huge can of worms and I think it's talking about young men's lives and their families and the amount of contact we can have in that point and time. I'm certainly not in any position to make any decisions about it but there's a lot of talk that people are still evaluating.
Coach Doeren and some of the other coaches in the nation are talking about it and I'm hopeful they'll make some changes. But we'll compete within the rules but I really, we're in the business of making men better men but I don't see how we're doing that with what's been laid out at this point.