ESPN continued its offseason factory of articles this week and recently looked at some of the more difficult coordinator jobs in the ACC. Checking in all the way at No. 2 in the Coastal Division?
2. Matt Canada, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator. Canada inherits an offense that returns its starting quarterback, an experienced offensive line, a former ACC player of the year and last season’s top offensive rookie. So what’s the problem? Well, the Panthers lose Tyler Boyd, who was responsible for 43 percent of the Panthers’ receptions last season. Canada has the benefit of returning deep threat Dontez Ford, who averaged 19 yards per reception last season. If Chaney can find a rhythm rotating James Conner, who plans to return now that he finished cancer treatment earlier this year, and Qadree Ollison, it could open the passing game for QB Nate Peterman and Ford. As NC State’s coordinator last season, Canada’s offense rarely hit big plays. The Wolfpack were 52nd in completions of at least 10 yards, but head coach Dave Doeren might have limited Canada’s playbook.
ESPN obviously makes a valid point in that Canada has a tough job to try to replace wide receiver Tyler Boyd. Boyd's production will be missed to be sure and I'd add that he also has a difficult job in finding a backup quarterback among all of the Panthers' other quarterbacks not named Nathan Peterman with the loss of transfer Chad Voytik.
The point made in the article is well understood, but I'm not sure I'd rank Canada's job that high on the degree of difficulty list. For one thing, the game plan will be pretty simple - run the ball. Sure, they'll pass - even a lot on occasion. But there's no question that the team's strength is in its backfield.
In that backfield is also a reason that Pitt could help make up for the lack of star power lost with Boyd's exit. The Panthers return James Conner who was a pretty important part of the offense two years ago when he ran for 1,765 yards and set a school record for rushing touchdowns.
Pitt also returns one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country and returns last year's starter at quarterback in Nathan Peterman.
In other words, Canada has a difficult job to some degree, but he's also got quite a bit in his favor.