Canada emphasizes game management to young quarterbacks

One of the challenges new Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada faces is uncertainty at the quarterback position. Redshirt sophomore Joe Brennan will certainly be in the mix.

New Wisconsin quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada has only been on the job for a few months, but he's already settling in at his new headquarters.

"Every day you get to wake up and your office is at Camp Randall is an awesome day. I've made no bones about it, this is an unbelievable place and a place I wanted to be and a place I wanted to coach, so every day's been fun," Canada said after the Badgers' second spring practice Saturday.

Canada, who was hired Jan. 17 to replace Paul Chryst, was excited about finally getting to watch his offense practice after spending his first few months recruiting, watching film and getting to know everyone.

Despite his background in spread offenses, Canada has maintained since his hiring that he didn't plan on making major changes to the power rushing game Wisconsin has run since the Alvarez era. He echoed that sentiment once more Saturday while also acknowledging his players' willingness to adapt to the alterations he did make.

"I've been happy and excited about the way our kids have adapted to the nuances that we've added, but really it's the same game. It's our brand of football," Canada said.

One of the biggest challenges Canada faces this spring is dealing with an injured and inexperienced group of quarterbacks. With Jon Budmayr ruled out for spring with an nagging elbow injury and Curt Phillips limited as he recovers from his third ACL surgery, Canada is making due with redshirt sophomore Joe Brennan and redshirt freshman Joel Stave.

So far, Canada has emphasized avoiding turnovers and playing within one's own strengths when instructing the two youngsters.

"We've got to take care of the football. On championship football teams, the quarterback takes care of the ball. You don't have to throw for 6,000 yards. You don't have to run for 5,000 if you're that guy. What you have to do is manage the game and take care of the football. Our position will be a position of strength; we'll play well at quarterback," Canada said.

Brennan told reporters his goal is to win the starting job and that the extra time he's gotten with Canada are helping his development. He said even with the all of the coaching staff turnover in the offseason, he's as comfortable as he's ever been leading the Badgers' offense.

"(Canada) is a really smart coordinator. He has a lot of stuff to teach us as far as a quarterback coach," Brennan said. "In my mind, it's the players who really run the team. No matter who the coaches are they bring in, we're still going to play Wisconsin football."

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