N.C. State Football

N.C. State names Canada offensive coordinator; Kitchings retained

Doeren adds Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator; Kitchings retained from O’Brien’s staff, will coach RBs

calexander@newsobserver.comDecember 16, 2012 

Football head shots taken at Memorial Stadium on 6/23/09_Mike Dickbernd

MIKE DICKBERND — Indiana University

Matt Canada only had a few minutes to talk Saturday before going to bowl practice.

“Rose Bowl practice,” Canada said. “It’s an exciting time for Wisconsin and for myself.”

Being in the Rose Bowl won’t be a first for the Badgers, but it will be for Canada, Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator. And he’ll then be headed to a new job, trying to build some new football excitement – at N.C. State.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren announced Saturday that he had hired Canada to join his staff. Canada also will coach the quarterbacks.

Doeren also said Desmond “Des” Kitchings would be retained as running backs coach. Kitchings also coached the tight ends under former Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” Canada said in an interview. “I know little about the (ACC) and will need to learn about the conference. But I know it’s a good program at N.C. State and a great university.”

Asked about his offensive philosophy, Canada quickly replied, “Try to score as many points as we can.”

Sounds simple enough. Canada, 40, says he’s adaptable and not wedded to any particular offense, especially in a transitional situation. He said he would come to N.C. State and match system and personnel as best he can.

“I want to see the talent there, see the strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “You then try to maximize the strengths.”

At Wisconsin this season, the biggest offensive strength was running back Montee Ball. Canada continued to give the ball to Ball and he responded with 1,730 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in earning All-America honors and the 2012 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back.

The Badgers, who face Stanford in the Rose Bowl, were 12th in the FBS in rushing (237.77 yards per game) and 50th in scoring (30.77 points). Also named first-team All-Big Ten were wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, left tackle Rick Wagner, center Travis Frederick and tight end Jacob Pederson.

Canada came to Wisconsin after a year at Northern Illinois as Doeren’s offensive coordinator. The Huskies were 11-3 in 2011 and finished in the top 12 nationally in scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense.

Canada had been an assistant at Northern Illinois under former coach Joe Novak from 1998 to 2003 before joining the staff at Indiana. He spent seven years at his college alma mater, coaching the quarterbacks and serving as IU’s offensive coordinator in the last four seasons.

Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis was named All-Big Ten and held the school record for career passing touchdowns. Lewis established single-season marks for passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2007, when IU scored a school-record 412 points.

“Matt Canada has one of the most creative offensive minds in the country,” Doeren said in a statement. “Matt has had to run his offense with different personnel and has been successful each time. He will make the transition much easier for me.

“He’s not only a tremendous quarterback coach who has developed quarterbacks into NFL players, but he has also developed the run game, as evidenced by Wisconsin’s success rushing the ball this season.”

Canada will be coming to a program at N.C. State that has been run by O’Brien the past six seasons. O’Brien was fired despite the Wolfpack’s 7-5 record and bid to the Music City Bowl, which says much about the expectations faced by the new staff.

“The only reason we want to play is to win,” Canada said. “That’s the reason we play.”

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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