Photo courtesy of UWBadgers.com.
After weeks of speculation, the Badgers have their new offensive coordinator. Head coach Bret Bielema named Matt Canada as Wisconsin's next offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tuesday, according to a press release. Canada, 39, spent a year at Northern Illinois in the same role, and spent the previous seven years at Indiana, his alma mater.
"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a release. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players."
In one year at NIU with former Badgers coach Dave Doeren, Canada's offense ranked in the top 12 in the country in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish finished ninth in the country in total offense, averaging 328.2 yards per game in 2011.
"I'm truly excited for the opportunity to come to Wisconsin," Canada said via press release. "It's a program that I've followed closely for a number of years. I've always been impressed with their tradition, especially offensively with their style of play, and I can't wait to be a part of that."
In taking the Badgers' offensive coordinator job, Canada has big shoes to fill. He replaces Paul Chryst, who guided the Badgers to several record-breaking offenses in his tenure at Wisconsin before accepting the head coaching position at Pittsburgh. Canada's challenge will be to try and keep the Badgers at a high level of offensive production, all while trying to replace several key offensive contributors; most notably quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Nick Toon, and center Peter Konz.
It will be interesting to see what changes Canada makes to the Badgers' offense, as most of his previous coordinating experience has come in a spread system. However, unlike other rumored candidates, it appears as though Canada is willing to switch to coaching a pro-style offense.
In the past, Canada has coached Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner, former Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell, and Baltimore Ravens receiver James Hardy. He previously coached Wisconsin's running backs coach Thomas Hammock when he was a player at NIU.
After Canada's hire, the Badgers are now looking to hire a linebackers coach, a tight ends coach, and an offensive line coach to fill out their 2012 coaching staff.