I'm a man of science.
I've told you this on more than one occasion. I believe in logic. I believe in understanding. I believe there's a lot you can explain. I'm probably one of the more patient people when it comes to the grand scheme of athletics.
And I'm at a loss to explain Matt Canada.
I mean, obviously there was a reason he was hired. I'm not going to say that he shouldn't have been. That's hindsight. That's sucker talk. I'm talking about looking forward.
And you know what? All the rage that's palpable toward the esteemed Mr. Canada? It's kind of justifiable. He had me angry enough to swear. And I don't like to swear here. That's for places such as shipyards and twitter.
Not to say that he's had the resources of Paul Chryst. The offensive line of this year's edition has no depth and is injury prone. Danny O'Brien won the starting job, and that sounds more inexplicable every week. And the place kicking? Oh the place kicking! But Canada has done things that have me wash my hands of him.
I mean, look at the Penn State game. It's an absolute microcosm. We'll start with the first quarter.
1) The Melvin Gordon touchdown.
On the fourth play from scrimmage the Badgers struck with a neat bit of passing. Curt Phillips faked to James White and used Gerald Hodges attacking to run a shovel pass to have Melvin Gordon cruise untouched for a 57-yard touchdown. You used misdirection, you used the attacking nature of the Penn State defense, and you got to the perimeter with Gordon.
Big play. Great play. And the major reason why Canada isn't worth defending.
For one? There were very few attacks on Penn State's perimeter after the second touchdown. For two? Who stops using the guy who got to the corner? Matt Canada, that's who.
I'm not saying that the Badgers need to force the issue and give Gordon all sorts of touches. But the fact that Gordon didn't get another look until the Badgers final drive of regulation? Ridiculous. Criminal. But then again, Canada's not creative enough to get him more touches.
I mean, really. Guess how many touches Gordon has? 53. You have a guy who's run up 10.8 yards-per-play. And you can't even manage to get the ball in his hands five times a game. And you know what happens when the threat of Gordon is off the table?
The Badgers lose. He only got a carry against Ohio State, he only returned a kick against Michigan State and Oregon State, and he disappeared for a long length of time during Nebraska, part one.
2) Punt To Win! Til You Die! Til The Light Fades From Your Eyes!
Penn State took over from a Drew Meyer punt with 1:23 to go in the first quarter. The Badgers would not end a drive with anything other than a punt until five minutes to go in the fourth. Now, I grant you, there were a couple of clutch drops by Kenzel Doe and Jared Abbrederis. But this is one of the more frustrating things. This makes you believe you're seeing something that Canada can't.
I mean, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right? Matt's got an offensive style of running into a brick wall and hoping the wall tumbles. And there are holes in it. You can go around it. you can go over it. But no, Canada has to go through it.
Badgers Punting (2007-2012) via cfbstats.com
|Season||Punts||Punts Per Game||Ranking|
Knowing how to adjust is a key. Knowing when something's not working is integral. I mean, 2008 was the bellwether for dystopian nightmare offenses. And Canada's got a chance to break 90 punts for the season.
And yet it got worse.
3) And out!
Halftime adjustments matter. You look at what works, and you look at what doesn't, and you find out what doesn't. And you know what's been happening in the third quarter in recent weeks? The other teams defense gets so good that they shut the Badgers offense down. Three downs and punt.
In the Penn State game it happened thrice. Michigan State it happened twice. Ohio State also forced one. Add in Oregon State and Nebraska? And you've had 10 punts after three downs in just the third quarters. You've had an offense that's been outcoached by teams of similar talent levels. I mean, the third quarter is not the time to go into a shell.
And yet Canada does.
The amazing thing? It's not impossible for the Badgers to make the Rose Bowl. I mean, the Badgers went toe-to-toe with the Cornhuskers at their place. And if the good Matt Canada (because there is a good Matt Canada, we've seen flashes of him showing up) doesn't refuse to give in to what the defense forces and finds a way to be creative? It goes a long way to healing this simmering cauldron of rage.
If he doesn't? A return to Madison for 2013 isn't out of the question. (The outside circumstances have been mentioned.) But as I put up over 900 words in regards to why there is a Matt Canada problem? I'm not going to feel any pang of regret for the Badgers if Canada's not calling plays next year.