Dave Doeren knew he was going to need a new quarterback next season. N.C. State will need a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, too.
Doeren made the decision to replace offensive coordinator Matt Canada after a disappointing 7-6 season finished with a 51-28 loss to Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl. Offensive line Mike Uremovich also informed Doeren he would be leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois.
Doeren said after the bowl loss he would go through an evaluation process of the entire program. He repeated that on Sunday and the move to replace Canada, who was his quarterbacks coach and play-caller for the past three years, was part of that process.
“Every year I go through everything from A to Z,” Doeren said. “I’m still in the middle of that process.”
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Doeren did not go into detail about what went into the decision with Canada. Canada had worked for Doeren at Northern Illinois in 2011 and Uremovich the following season. When Doeren was hired by N.C. State before the 2013 season, he hired both and they worked for him for Doeren’s first three seasons at N.C. State.
N.C. State’s offense had its share of success under Canada. The Wolfpack ranked No. 31 in the country in rushing offense this season and averaged more than 200 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons. Prior to last season, N.C. State hadn’t averaged 200 rushing yards per game since 1992.
Uremovich, in particular, was instrumental in N.C. State’s improvement on the offensive line. Senior tackle Joe Thuney was the program’s first All-ACC blocker this past season since 2003.
Under Canada’s direction, N.C. State’s offense averaged 33.2 points per game, which was third most in the ACC this season behind a pair of top 10 teams in Clemson and North Carolina. But the Wolfpack offense sputtered in some of its biggest games and Canada had a tendency to underutilize his best players.
N.C. State was held to 13 points in critical ACC losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech early in October when running back Matt Dayes was still healthy.
Sophomore running back Jaylen Samuels ran for two touchdowns in the bowl loss but only had three carries in the game. Samuels, who led the team with 16 touchdowns, was on the field for only 31 snaps in the 20-13 loss to Louisville on Oct. 3. He finished that game with five catches for 75 yards, and a touchdown, but no rushing attempts.
Canada received a new three-year contract last January after Tennessee had interest in hiring him for the same position. Canada’s base salary was $560,000 last season and is due the same amount over the next two years from N.C. State. If he takes another job, N.C. State would still owe him the difference in his salary.
Last month, Canada interviewed with East Carolina for its head-coaching position, which was eventually filled by Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery.
Next season, N.C. State could have as many as seven returning on offense but has to break in a new quarterback to replace departed senior Jacoby Brissett, the starter for the past two years.
Asked Sunday if there were any more staff changes forthcoming, Doeren said it was still too early in the process to tell.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio