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Matt Canada’s out of a job. Time for Indiana football to try something a little nuts.

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Indiana’s paying below-market rate to Tom Allen as rivals turn on the money spigot. The offensive scheme needs an overhaul. An alum, native son, and former coach needs a landing spot. Hmm. Time for an outside-the-box idea.

Ohio State v Maryland Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

I’m sorry for what I said when I was, uh, [squints] was living in a 10-year period between 2007-2017.

Time for a quick mea culpa.

A long-held position of this blog is that Matt Canada was and is not a good offensive coordinator because we were situationally enraged by certain playcalls in 2008. Perhaps this was or was not reasonable. Perhaps it is a disgracefully bad take. Perhaps it was just an extreme commitment to doing a bit, representative of the disengaged blend of sardonicism and kayfabe in which this blog will reside until the sun swallows the earth whole.

This is 2018 now though, up is down, down is up, and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a MGoBlog forum poster. What if, instead, this blog is full of smooth-brained idiots, and former Indiana student assistant, offensive coordinator, New Pal native, and Eagle Pointe resident Matt Canada is, instead of bad, actually very fucking good?

That may be true, it may be hyperbolic, whatever. After a circuitous route over the past few seasons from firing at NC State to success at Pitt to a, uh, short high-paid stint at LSU, Matt Canada’s been one of the hotter names in college football again during the early part of the offseason for the non-bowling set. He was involved in the head coaching searches at Louisville and Maryland, and seemed primed to land some sort of a head job for 2019 after his admirable job keeping things on the rails after Jordan McNair’s death and DJ Durkin’s departure at Maryland.

But with Maryland’s hiring of Mike Locksley earlier today, that puts Canada officially out of a job. Most considered him the front-runner to drop the interim title and keep the job permanently, but he’ll now be looking elsewhere for employment next season.

His first call tomorrow should be from Tom Allen, Fred Glass, and Indiana.

Here’s why it would make sense for Indiana — and how Indiana might be able to make it make sense for the former IU quarterback and offensive coordinator.

Indiana’s offense will be young and uber-talented next season. But Mike DeBord’s scheme and philosophy don’t fit at Indiana — and his time should probably be up.

By all accounts, Mike DeBord is a good and decent man whose presence is at least in part responsible for the Indiana’s glut of very young offensive talent. (Thanks, Mike Hart!) Stevie Scott just ran for 1,000+ yards as a freshman. Mike Penix will be Indiana’s three-to-four year future at quarterback once he’s healthy. Reese Taylor, Ronnie Walker, Whop Philyor, so on, so forth. Indiana has far too much offensive talent to not improve next season — and be set up well for the future.

But all too often in 2018, Indiana’s offense was plodding. DeBord’s quick throw, short-of-the-sticks passing schemes did little to take the top off defenses and open up running lanes — especially in comparison to the Kevin Wilson-architected aerial attacks of the previous era in Bloomington.

Mike DeBord will be 63 next season, and it’ll be year three of the Tom Allen era. With the competitive landscape only improving after Jeff Brohm’s re-upping at Purdue, it’s time to make a change from DeBord.

Indiana isn’t going to let Tom Allen go to make room for Canada to run the program — and they shouldn’t. Just let them run the place together, pretty much.

Indiana’s last two 5-7 seasons have ended as disappointments, but it’s still far too early to pull the plug on the Tom Allen era at Indiana. He’s recruiting to Bloomington better than any coach ever before, Kevin Wilson left obvious holes in the roster that left Allen thin in critical spots the last two seasons, and it’s not like Indiana has backslid wildly. Despite an arguably less-talented roster, the difference between Wilson’s bowl bids in his final two seasons and Allen’s 5-win seasons is Jeff Brohm’s residency in West Lafayette.

Still, Tom Allen isn’t an offensive savant. He’s a career defensive position coach and coordinator

Want to stick to Allen, shore up the program around him, and bring back one of IU’s most successful alums in the coaching ranks? Enter Matt Canada as offensive coordinator and some sort of super-associate head coach. THE ORIGINAL MIKE DAVIS AND JOHN TRELOAR IDEA, BUT FOR FOOTBALL, IN 2019.

And how can you bait a guy who had some looks at power-five head coaching jobs but might have missed out for this cycle? Glad you asked!

Pay Matt Canada head coach money to come run Indiana’s offense and take on associate head coaching duties.

Here’s where we get a little nuts, but also where Indiana can demonstrate a major commitment to an investment in football.

After Jeff Brohm’s choice to stay at Purdue, Tom Allen’s now making somewhere between 2.5 to 3 times less than what the other state program is paying their football coach. For further context, Allen’s the only coach in the Big Ten that makes less than $2 million annually. Only one other current coach makes less than $3 million — and that’s Chris Ash at Rutgers with his 3-24 career Big Ten record. Let me repeat: Indiana’s football coach makes less than the football coach at Rutgers. And now $1 million less than the head coach at Kansas. That’s Very Bad and, you know, not Good.

Tom Allen’s earned more time, but he’s also not exactly earned a massive raise. Bringing him up at least to the $2 million range would be fair in line with the market. But it still should leave Indiana with plenty of cash to spare compared to the reportedly up to $5 to $6 million per year Purdue will pay Jeff Brohm — if they want to demonstrate a commitment to football.

Canada would be the perfect fit alongside Allen. He’s a Hoosier through and through with deep, deep ties to the state and Bloomington that are still current today. Just consider:

  • He’s from New Palestine and his entire family still lives there.
  • His closest friends still live right in Bloomington.
  • He’s coached at Indiana for four different head coaches: Mallory, DiNardo, Hoeppner, and Lynch.
  • He’s actually already worked for this athletic administration! Also fired by them too, so, uh, yeah!

If Canada doesn’t land a head job, the pull of home and some extra cash might be enough for a short, one-year stay as a mercenary to clean up the offense at his alma mater before picking up his own head job at worst.

So, open up the checkbooks and pay Matt Canada top dollar as an assistant to come home. Indiana isn’t the traditional type of program to pay a coordinator a million bucks or so, but when you aren’t paying your head coach market rate for a Power 5 job — you should be free to do so. Is the idea crazy? Yes. Would Canada ever entertain to a cheap program where it’s hard to win in 2018 when he might be a candidate at, like, Alabama? Perhaps not.

But it’s worth a phone call.