ATLANTA -- LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Monday that he erred in hiring Matt Canada as offensive coordinator following the 2016 season and that current coordinator Steve Ensminger was the right choice all along.
Canada spent the 2017 season at LSU before mutually parting ways with the school. Orgeron promoted Ensminger, the team's tight ends coach, to coordinator as Canada's replacement.
Asked at SEC media day about making offensive coordinator changes following his first seasons as coach at both LSU and Ole Miss -- Orgeron fired Noel Mazzone at Ole Miss after the 2005 season -- Orgeron said, "It's tough when you make a mistake, but it's even tougher not to admit you made a mistake and it's just not a good fit. I had to do the best what I thought for the LSU program, and that's why I did it."
Canada came to LSU from Pitt, where his offense ranked 10th nationally in scoring (40.9) in 2016, and signed a three-year contract that paid him $1.5 million annually. Ensminger served as LSU's offensive coordinator for most of the 2016 season after Orgeron was elevated to interim head coach that September. Orgeron landed the permanent job in late November.
"Circumstances were different when I got the job," Orgeron said Monday. "I went out and tried to get the best coordinator. ... It didn't work. And all the while I was saying: 'You know what? Steve Ensminger is the guy, and if I have a chance, I'm going to hire him.'
"I have complete confidence in the direction that he's going to lead this offense. He and I are on the same page."
LSU struggled to a 3-2 start last season, including a home loss to Troy, after which Orgeron stepped in to "simplify" the shifts Canada often used with his scheme.
"This is Matt's offense," Orgeron said Oct. 2. "He runs it. He calls it. He scripts the plays. This is his offense."
In January, LSU announced that it had mutually parted ways with Canada, who reportedly received about $1.7 million of the $3.3 million left on his contract. Maryland soon hired Canada as its offensive coordinator.
Orgeron said Ensminger, who played quarterback for LSU, in the NFL and in the CFL, will run a spread offense with three wide receivers and sometimes as many as five, though the scheme will aim for an even split between run and pass plays.
"He runs more of the offense that I'm used to, an offense that we won championships with in the past," Orgeron said.
Orgeron wants to name a starter before the Sept. 2 opener against Miami in Arlington, Texas. He said he is open to playing two quarterbacks if one doesn't separate from the pack.
"I want this to be a clear-cut decision," Orgeron said.