It’s possible there’s never been an introductory press conference for an offensive coordinator in history where the incoming hire could sense the room was nervous about his future.
“I know you guys have, obviously I can sense some concern,” new LSU coordinator Cam Cameron said toward the end of his first presser, addressing a room full of reporters. “I don’t have any concern because I’m coming in with all ears, and I want these men to teach me why they’ve been so successful so far and how can I help build from where we are.
“Maybe some of you agree or disagree with that, but that’s where I am with this whole thing.”
And just like that, the former Michigan man and longtime close friend of Les Miles did his best to assuage the fears of an entire fan base.
Cameron, who turned 52 last week and most recently served as offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, was announced Friday as Miles’ latest solution to jumpstart an offense which has suffered from problems of creativity and consistency since 2007.
He made it clear his job is not to come in and overhaul the offense, but rather to build on what’s already in place.
“Anytime you come into a new program, and in this case we’ve got a great foundation that we can build from, we want to build on what we’re doing and improve on what we’re doing,” explained Cameron. “The first thing is I need to know everything that Zach [Mettenberger] knows, everything that Stephen [Rivers] knows, everything that our guys know. Again I’ve seen a lot of games, and it’s a great system. Now I just want to build on it and challenge our guys to get better at some things. It’s my job to adapt and adjust and then bring my experience, my expertise and blend it with what we’re doing.
“We’ll build on what we’re doing and we’ll let it evolve. I think that’s the best thing in the short run so we can play well quickly and continue to play well.”
As Cameron mentioned he’s no stranger to LSU football, a program he indicated he’s followed very closely since his pal and colleague at Michigan for seven years took over in 2005.
“I can tell you one thing: I’ve seen every LSU football game for the last eight years, and I can’t tell you how honored I am and how thrilled I am to be here and be a part of this program,” Cameron continued. “It’s one of, if not the greatest, football programs in this country.”
When asked what he and Miles’ collective style is and how to best describe it, Cameron responded in a way that will sound familiar to Tiger fans.
“Play smart, aggressive football, and it’s got to have a physical nature to it. That’s the way we were raised, and we’re not apologizing for it,” said Cameron frankly. “Within that it’s what can our players do best, and it may vary a little bit from year to year. If you’ve got great running backs, and you don’t run the football? If your quarterback is a two-dimensional guy or just a thrower or a super-bright guy you can tweak things with, we’re going to adapt and adjust to what our best players can do best. We’ve got a lot of options here.”
LSU’s newest hire then spent time addressing the topic of play calling, an issue he said will be attacked jointly by himself and Miles.
“We’ve absolutely discussed it and, to me, it’s always been a team effort. I think that’s why we win,” Cameron explained. “The head coach has a vision, and he has a vision for how each game needs to be won with all three phases in mind. I think where you can get in trouble is when one guy thinks that his phase is paramount over everyone else. With our relationship and with the way Les communicates, it will be very clear what our plan is.
“I’d be crazy not to use and be working with Les as we put together the game plans and as the game is called. He has a natural feel for the game, and it’s a resource I need personally because you can as an offensive coach get a little too dialed in on one certain thing.”
Miles, who described his bond with Cameron as a “lifetime relationship” and even said “our families are intertwined,” added more on the hire and what it means for the rest of the staff.
“He [Cameron] comes in to add to us and build on what we’ve accomplished, and that’s not to take away from the very positive contribution that Greg Studrawa had as offensive coordinator,” explained Miles. “But he [Studrawa] returns to the line, where he will give us the same strength and the experience of what we’ve done in the past.
“Steve Kragthorpe, we’re adjusting his responsibilities. He’s still going to give us everything we need with an administrative past and great experience in football. I think with the new rules that are changing in college that allow for differing styles of responsibility for administrators, he’s a guy who can be invaluable to us as we go forward. This is a move where we’re adding and not subtracting.”
Putting a bow on the press conference, Miles said he’s not concerned with the possibility of Cameron bolting LSU in the near future to head back to the NFL, where Cameron has worked for the Chargers, Dolphins and Ravens since 2002.
“We’ve tied him to his desk, and he’s not going to be allowed to leave,” Miles began with a joke.
“You know what, he’s made a real commitment to be here. Knowing the guy, he’s not a short-term thinker. He’s a guy who gives vision to an amount of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’ll have opportunities. That’s a foregone conclusion that he will have annually opportunities. But again he’s made a decision to come here and live out a good piece of time for LSU.”