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Badger Bits: Oh, Canada?

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When the Badgers announced they had hired Matt Canada as their new offensive coordinator yesterday, my reaction was no doubt similar to that of many Badger fans: "Who the heck is that?"

Though I don't think anyone should be surprised Bret Bielema made an off-the-radar hire, the only thing I knew about the guy was that he shared a name with our neighbors to the north. After reading John's piece (linked above) and the UW press release on the hire, I was a bit more comfortable with the move. Canada directed one of the top offenses in the NCAA last season at Northern Illinois after coaching several prolific players at Indiana, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2007 to the conclusion of the 2010-2011 season. Still, first impressions can be deceiving, so I did some digging. I was curious about his stats when coaching against Big Ten defenses:

Indiana offense B1G rankings, 2007-2011
Scoring offense Total offense Pass offense Rush offense Red zone offense 3rd down offense
2007-2008 3rd 8th 4th 8th 6th 8th
2008-2009 10th 7th 9th 7th 11th 10th
2009-2010 9th 9th 4th 9th 10th t-7th
2010-2011 7th 7th 1st 11th 4th 6th

There are a few things we can take from this table. Although Canada was working with less talented players at Indiana than he will at Wisconsin, his numbers against Big Ten defenses aren't all that impressive. He never led an elite rushing attack, nor did he coach an offense that finished in the top half of the league in third down efficiency. His offenses were more successful passing the ball in a spread offense, which he also ran at Northern Illinois. I'm interested to see how he adapts his philosophy to suit Wisconsin's ground-and-pound tradition. It is comforting to see that his last year as coordinator at Indiana was his best.

What do you think, Badger fans? Are these numbers troubling, or do they not tell the whole story?

Football Links

NIU blogger Mike Breese wasn't a big fan of Canada.

It appears the Badgers have also hired a new linebackers coach.

Montee Ball is behind Matt Barkley and Denard Robinson in Heisman Pundit's pre-spring watch list. (via Dave Heller)

Wisconsin comes in at No. 17 in Sporting News' too-early preseason top 25. (via Dave Heller)

Hoops Links

The Badger hoops team has struggled, statistically speaking.

Three-point shooting, even at the Kohl Center, has been one particularly glaring weakness.

On the other hand, Mike Bruesewitz has been better.

Frank Kaminsky will be facing a familiar foe.

If you're going to the game, make sure to arrive early.