North Texas has a new offensive coordinator and his named is Mike Canales. MeanGreenSports.com had a chance to sit down with Mean Green head coach Todd Dodge and get his thoughts on Canales and the process of finding a new offensive coordinator.
MeanGreenSports: How did you come about finding Mike Canales?
Dodge: "After Todd Ford had let me know that he was pretty close to taking the job down at Round Rock, I started researching spread offenses and guys that were established coordinators within the spread offense. I looked through the top four or five I-AA teams in the country, the top five offenses to see how they were doing things."
"I have personally followed South Florida and what they do offensively for about the last three or four years. I have always liked to watch them (USF) and we are very similar, but they were also doing some stuff that weren't necessarily into at the time with formations."
"They put a premium on the quarterback being a dual-threat guy, Mike coached Matt Groethe for years at USF and he also coached B.J. Daniels, he came in and was the Big East Freshman of the Year."
"He was very interested right from the beginning, I been researching and knew a lot about South Florida. He was exactly what we were looking for in that he was very similar to us, but also being able to bring new ideas to the table."
MeanGreenSports: When you saw his resume, was the development of the QB position something that was important to you?
Dodge: "I was at a point where I looked at the first phase of hiring our new OC he was going to be a guy who was an established coordinator who was also going to coach our QB's. I was going to go out and seek that guy first, before I went anywhere else."
"Mike is a 24-year veteran, who played the position in college, but has worked under one of the greats in Norm Chow (UCLA OC). He coached Phillip Rivers at N.C. State, Groethe at USF, but my plans are for this hire to take over as the offensive coordinator but also lead our quarterbacks."
MeanGreenSports: When you called around and talked to different coaches about Canales, who did you talk to and what did they say?
Dodge: I talked to Norm Chow, they have a long background together when Mike was a GA under Norm at BYU. One of the things that jumped out about that everyone talked about was his loyalty and his relationships with his players all of those things that I'm not going to find out in a 24-hour interview with anyone."
"I spoke with Herm Edwards, who was the head coach at the NY Jets when Mike was his receivers coach. I was able to talk with Jim Leavitt about Mike and Tony Dungy called left a message with great things to say about Mike."
"I feel good about the hire because I feel like was able to go out and research exactly what I was looking for in a timely fashion and able to get someone of his quality."
MeanGreenSports: Pull the curtain back a little bit on the hiring process and take us through the three week process of finding a new OC?
Dodge: "It's been about three weeks and I did all kinds of research on different kinds of offenses throughout the country. I looked at the different kinds of experience that guys had and as we talked with different guys we found that Mike was absolutely the best fit."
"I decided as we went through the search that if I couldn't find what I was looking for, a guy who could come in and coach QB's and be the OC, I would have to go in another direction."
"I knew about Mike and was researching him before everything happened at South Florida. I did not call him until everything was completed at South Florida and I knew he was available."
"From the time that I first called him, to the interview, picking him up and dropping him off at the airport, to everything else, it took place in around 10 days."
MeanGreenSports: Who will call plays next year?
Dodge: "He (Mike) will be the play-caller. He's being hired as the coordinator and as I told Mike there are going to be some absolutes that he's already doing and I will simply turn into a guy who will be a resource for him on offense. He will coach the quarterbacks on an everyday basis and that's very important."
MeanGreenSports: What can he bring to this offense?
Dodge: "The background that he has, quarterbacks is virtually all that he has ever done. He's really a guy that has a background in the West Coast offense but in the last four or five years he's really gotten into the spread."
"It was very important that this guy and myself and the rest of the coaches can have a parternship in taking this offense and really enhance what we are doing already and take us to a new level."
Who's still the better QB? You or Him?
"Hahaha, we didn't compare notes about that"