Cam Cameron has had an athletic career filled with distinction. It began as a football/basketball player at Indiana, playing for Lee Corso on the gridiron and Bob Knight on the hardwood. After graduation, his coaching career began under Bo Schembechler at Michigan in 1984. In 1987, he gained an office mate by the name of Les Miles. The two were on staff together through 1993, and to say they’ve remained close is putting it lightly.
“I’ve seen every LSU game in the last eight years,” Cameron said at Friday’s introductory press conference, adding that he’s also observed the Tigers up close in situations ranging from spring practice to the BCS National Championship.
Cameron went on to serve as quarterbacks coach of the Washington Redskins, head coach at Indiana, offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, a one-season stint as head coach of the Miami Dolphins; he was most recently seen as the offensive coordinator let go by the Baltimore Ravens in December. The same Baltimore Ravens that won the Super Bowl earlier this month.
Did the dismissal by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh sour Cameron on the prospect of working with another close friend in Les Miles? Actually, it was exactly the opposite.
“We’re still great friends to this day,” Cameron said of his relationship with Harbaugh. “When you love somebody, it’s easy to look each other in the eye and know that we love each other unconditionally. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with somebody that you care about.”
Speaking of potentially awkward relationships, Cameron steps on to a staff where his predecessor Greg Studrawa will now transition back into solely coaching the Tigers’ offensive line, and the coach originally hired to coordinate the LSU offense, Steve Kragthorpe, will move into an off-the-field recruiting role.
“We’ve got great men,” Cameron explained. “They’re going to sharpen me just as I hope I sharpen them. I don’t have any concerns. I want these men to teach me how they’ve been so successful.”
Back in college football for the first time since 2001, Cameron will look to blend his expertise with a veteran staff and roster that has won a lot of games in Baton Rouge.
“We’ve got a great foundation that we can build from,” he said. “We want to build on what we’re doing. I need to know everything that Zach (Mettenberger) knows, that Stephen (Rivers) knows, I need to know everything that our guys know. It’s a great system. I’ts my job to adjust, to bring my expertise and adapt it to what we’re doing.”
Mettenberger, LSU’s fifth-year senior quarterback adjusting to his fifth coordinator in as many years, will be challenged by Cameron. “We’re going to test every limit he has,” he said.
After admiring the college game, and LSU in particular, from afar from a dozen years, Cameron will now dive right into the offensive revolution encompassing the game.
“How can you not be in love with the direction the college game is doing?” Cameron asked. “I marvel at what is done in college football.”
That doesn’t mean he’s going to get carried away, however. Cameron stressed that his offense is LSU’s offense. “It’s tough. It’s physical.”