When Les Miles tabbed Cam Cameron as his new offensive coordinator following the 2012 season it was more of a reunion than an introduction. The pair have quite a history. They became familiar with one another back in the late 1980's when the two worked at Michigan as assistants under Bo Schemblecher. "It's amazing how well you know somebody, but did not talk about it. You just grew in a like position," Miles said of his time together with Cameron in Ann Arbor. The two shared an offi ce for some time and they accomplished pretty substantial goals. While the two were at Michigan together they helped lead the Wolverines to fi ve straight conference championships from 1988-1992.
"I wanted to bring in somebody that was going to make us better. I just didn't want to bring in a guy," Miles proclaimed just months after he saw the LSU offense fi nish 85th in the FBS in total offense. So, he texted Cameron knowing he was looking for a job. He had recently been fi red by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. "It fell together exactly right," said Miles. Now Cameron inherits an underachieving group led by a potential NFL caliber quarterback in Zach Mettenberger. Speaking of NFL talent Cameron is the one credited for developing both Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers into the stars they are today. But don't expect a complete revamping of the system that's helped win 85 games in 106 contests under Miles' watch. "It's a great system. I just want to build on it and challenge some guys to get better at some things. You have to move the football, score points and take care of the football. That's the approach we take." Mettenberger, by his own account, underperformed in his fi rst year behind center at LSU. "We are going to test every limit he as and see all he can do," Cameron said the day he was introduced as the offensive coordinator in Baton Rouge.
The pieces are there for Cameron to work with. In the spring, Cameron made it obvious he's implementing a much higher tempo offense than what's been used in year's past. "We will be doing what guys can do best; being tough, being physical and playing extremely fast. We have guys that can do that," he said. He also has the depth to do that. In a similar, yet more Miles-like, comment the ninth year head coach expressed his thoughts on offensive improvements, "There will be an ability for him to change and restructure. Reviewing our personnel and being more effi cient can rapidly make a difference offensively."
So who will hold the keys on game day when it comes to play calling? That's the ultimate question. Ultimately Miles will more than likely have the fi nal say as long as he is in Baton Rouge. He will also take the blame even if Cameron's calls don't work out. "The bottom line is we are in it together. Brothers fi ght like brothers sometimes. But we all know what is the most important thing - the team and the university," Cameron said. "I would be crazy not to work with Les as we are putting together game plans as the game is called. He has a natural feel for the game and that's a resource that I need personally."
Cam Cameron has been coaching since 1983 when he became a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan. Since then he's been both a head coach on both the NFL and collegiate level. His experience of the game and his willingness to work together with an old friend could prove to be valuable. The LSU offense doesn't need to be ranked No. 1 in the nation for the team to win championships. Their defense is consistently good enough. But when you recruit the top-notch talent that Les Miles does, fans are not looking to fi nish near the middle of the NCAA in offensive stats. And they're right, it shouldn't happen. Cameron had both spring and fall camps to implement any changes and learn his player's abilities. Anything but signifi cant improvement would be tough to digest for those who bleed Purple and Gold.