LSU announced Cam Cameron as its fourth offensive coordinator in as many years on Friday in a news conference at the University’s Athletic Administration Building.
Cameron, who agreed to a three-year deal with undisclosed terms, will try to improve what has been a relatively weak offense for the past few seasons.
“We’ve been pretty good,” said LSU coach Les Miles. “... With that being said, good is not good enough. We want to be a great team.”
Cameron brings 29 years of coaching experience to LSU, split between 15 years at the college level and 14 in the NFL. He also played football and basketball under Hall of Fame coaches Lee Corso and Bobby Knight, respectively, at his alma mater, Indiana University.
After spending the last 11 years in the NFL, Cameron said he is excited to return to the college level, and even more so to be at LSU.
“I have seen every LSU football game for the last eight years,” Cameron said. “I can’t tell you how honored and thrilled I am to be a part of this program.”
LSU fans are hoping Cameron is the piece of the puzzle the Tigers have been missing in their past few seasons.
The Tigers finished the 2012 season averaging 374.2 yards of total offense (No. 87 in the Football Bowl Subdivision, No. 10 in the Southeastern Conference) and 200.5 yards passing (No. 94 in the FBS, No. 11 in the SEC).
Rather than revamp LSU’s entire offensive scheme, Cameron plans to take an open-minded approach to allow him to build on what he considers “a great foundation.”
“I want these men to teach me why they have been so successful so far and how I can help build from where we are,” Cameron said.
Cameron has played a role in molding quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and, most recently, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
This experience has the Tigers hopeful that quarterback Zach Mettenberger might reach his full potential in his senior season with Cameron’s aid.
“Figuring out what [Mettenberger] likes most is one of the first things we are doing in this system,” Cameron said. “... We are going to test every limit he has and see all he can do. We are just building on what we are doing.”
Cameron replaces Greg Studrawa, who manned the post for the last two seasons after Steve Kragthorpe unexpectedly announced his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease four months after being hired for the position in January 2011.
Studrawa will return to his original spot on the staff as the offensive line coach, and quarterbacks coach Kragthorpe will move from quarterbacks coach to an off-field administrative role.
Miles immediately struck down the perception that Studrawa’s replacement could create tension within the staff. He said Studrawa himself suggested the move so he could focus completely on the offensive line.
“[Studrawa] said that maybe it would be best if somebody else called the plays,” Miles said.
Cameron and Miles have a history dating back to 1987 when they coached together at Michigan under legendary coach Bo Schembechler. They became close friends, and Cameron was a groomsman in Miles’ wedding in 1993.
Miles said as soon as he heard Cameron had been fired from his position as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator, it was an easy decision to target him as the next man to run LSU’s offense. Miles added that the two have been looking for the opportunity to work together for more than a decade.
“I sent [Cameron] a text immediately, which would not be uncommon anyway because of our relationship,” Miles said. “It fell together exactly right. How it came together benefited us.”
Both coaches brushed off the idea that working together could lead to a strain in the relationship and negative effects on the field.
Miles said disagreements within the staff are necessary for success because they lead to a more unified understanding of the program’s goals.
After almost 20 years coaching separate programs, both coaches are eager to get back in the trenches together.
“Going to war with a guy you’ve been in the foxhole with before, you feel comfortable with his calls and how he thinks,” Miles said. “I am looking forward to it very much.”