Last season, Dave Aranda instantly repaired LSU’s defense. This year, fans hope Matt Canada does the same with the Tigers offense.

In 2015, Louisiana State was third in the SEC versus the run but only 12th against the pass. Not only did the Bayou Bengals improve from third to second in rushing D for Aranda in 2016, but they shot all the way up to third in passing D, too.

But don’t get overly excited, as Aranda walked into a near-perfect situation. While LSU’s defense had underperformed the previous season, it was still loaded with 4- and 5-star bodies. Safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Tre’Davious White were ultimately first-round picks. Tackle Davon Godchaux and linebackers Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley were also drafted.

That doesn’t even include Arden Key, who may have been the best pure pass rusher in the SEC this past year as a sophomore.

Conversely, Canada inherits a unit that is borderline broken. Running the ball is rarely a problem, as the Tigers have been in the top half of the conference on the ground since 2010, but the aerial attack finished 12th, 11th and 14th the last three campaigns.

Expecting Canada to author the same sort of immediate turnaround that Aranda did might be wishful thinking down on the bayou. The fact of the matter is that it’s easier to install a new defense than implement a new offense, so a few weeks of spring ball and a few more in fall camp likely isn’t enough time to be all systems go.

According to former coach Rick Neuheisel, now a CBS Sports analyst, all the evidence you need is right there on the practice field.

“I think always, because there’s more moving parts, offenses take a little longer,” Neuheisel said Thursday via conference call. “Normally when you go into a spring practice and you’re looking at your two sides, the defense almost always starts ahead just because it takes a little longer to block them on offense, if you will.”

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Expecting Canada to author the same sort of immediate turnaround that Aranda did might be wishful thinking down on the bayou.

Like Aranda, who developed quite a reputation as a defensive coordinator in a previous Power 5 stop at Wisconsin, Canada has been a celebrated offensive coordinator for teams like Indiana, Wisconsin, N.C. State and Pittsburgh.

“Matt Canada had a fantastic season last year as the play caller for Pitt,” Neuheisel said. “They had a transfer quarterback in Nathan Peterman, who’d come from Tennessee. Peterman played really well. They mixed a little bit of the RPO world into traditional offense.”

The Panthers ran for 225.1 yards per game and threw for an additional 221.7, which is dictionary-definition balance. Peterman, who did nothing in a Volunteers uniform, fired 27 scoring passes on only 306 attempts to lead the ACC in touchdown percentage.

“They had the ability to run the ball,” Neuheisel said. “They put over 300 yards rushing against Penn State. They had the ability to throw the ball. They were in some shootouts, coming to mind the Oklahoma State game that didn’t end up in victory or the North Carolina game that didn’t end up in victory that certainly were pretty darn good showings of an offense’s philosophy.”

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Aranda had a stacked depth chart at his disposal right away, but that’s simply not the case for Canada. His quarterback, Danny Etling (above), is a transfer from Purdue and not exactly oozing with tools. The Tigers lose their top two wide receivers in Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural and top two tight ends in Colin Jeter and DeSean Smith off last year’s roster, as well.

“He’s going to LSU, where we know there’s lots of talent,” Neuheisel said. “Odell Beckham Jr. had 43 catches in his final year at LSU and turned out to be this monster superstar of the NFL. There’s going to be talent there, whether it’s D.J. Chark or whomever, for him to spread the ball around.”

"If he could put the pieces together, with the skill that exists and the value, I think it could be really, really fun to watch." -- CBS Sports analyst Rick Neuheisel

Luckily, Canada can lean on his ground assault. Louisiana State returns the league’s leading rusher from a season ago.

“He starts with a guy by the name of Derrius Guice,” Neuheisel said, “who I think we all admire and think is a really special player.”

Etling is his latest reclamation project. Canada transformed Peterman into a fifth-rounder, plus he developed Jacoby Brissett. A castoff from Florida, he was very productive for the Wolfpack and eventually went in Round 3.

“He also has an experienced signal caller in Etling,” Neuheisel said. “Hopefully Etling’s well. They called it minor back surgery. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as minor back surgery, but hopefully he’s 100 percent and he can play all year long unscathed.”

Obviously, the Bayou Bengals seldom have much trouble on the recruiting trail — aside from QB, maybe. The cupboard is hardly bare, despite the Pop Warner-level passing game we’ve been witness to lately. Even if the offense in Baton Rouge has been stuck in the mud, Canada will probably have more raw ability to work with than ever before.

“If he could put the pieces together, with the skill that exists and the value, I think it could be really, really fun to watch,” Neuheisel said.

Unfortunately for Canada, the sneak peek we got during the spring game in April didn’t leave us with a good first impression.

Yes, the pace seemed quicker. Sure, there were additional wideouts in formation. Absolutely, all the shifts and motion were a pleasant sight. Pre-snap, everything looked fantastic. Finally, LSU appeared to have a 21st century scheme.

But post-snap, Etling still struggled to complete passes. While lightning forced the last four minutes of the first half and the entire second half to be moved to the indoor practice facility, what fans saw at Tiger Stadium before Mother Nature announced her presence was far from encouraging. It was more sizzle than steak.

Last year, Aranda only needed to slap some paint on the walls. But this season, Canada is tearing it down to the studs.