LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 11:23 PM
Hold the balloons and confetti.
Cam Cameron, the latest offensive guru to try to spice up LSU’s attack, wants to make one thing clear: he’s not an offensive “guru.”
In fact, he hates the term with a passion.
“That’s why a lot of teams struggle,” he said. “They’ve got guys trying to make ‘their’ mark within a team. I’m here for one reason — to help put together the best offense for our team.”
So if someone is looking for the Cameron “stamp” on the LSU offense this season, it might be a moving target.
“We’re going to play team offense,” Cameron said. “That could change from week to week, that could change during a game. Yeah, we want to be aggressive (but) we’re going to be smart-aggressive. We’re going to play in unison with our special teams and our defense. If you look at teams that win championships, that’s what they do. They play team football.
“There are some offenses out there that throw up ridiculous numbers. Maybe that will be us, maybe it won’t be. But it’s not our No. 1 goal. Our goal is to be the winningest offense, not necessarily the highest scoring or (the one with) the most yards.”
Cameron is not, he said, simply bringing the NFL offense he used last year with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens did what the Ravens did best. So will LSU.
“We’re still working our way through our scheme,” Cameron said. “We have some things planned. There is a lot of good stuff (already) in this offense.”
But it obviously needs more, particularly if the Tigers’ offense has to carry more of the load for a rebuilt defense this season. Last year LSU finished in the middle of the pack of the Southeastern Conference in most offensive categories — eighth in scoring, 10th in total offense, 11th in pass offense.
They were even a pedestrian sixth in the bread-and-butter running game.
Head coach Les Miles, though often accused of being too conservative, has said on many occasions he’d like more balance, i.e., more passing yards to go with the running game.
But Cameron said he didn’t come in with a clear mandate to “fix this” or “change that” when took over as offensive coordinator in February.
He had talked to every player within 21⁄2 days of taking the job. He and the rest of the staff analyzed every play from last fall. Cameron personally has watched every game film from Miles’ eight years as LSU’s head coach. Everybody has had input. Cameron isn’t waving a magic wand.
But, by all accounts, it will be a different, possibly noticeable even to the untrained eye.
LSU practices mostly behind closed doors so it’s hard to say what the Cameron offense is going to look like.
Players have talked of a much faster tempo. Running backs say they’re no longer neglected in the passing game. Same for tight ends. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger says he’s much more comfortable.
“We just try to build the things that most fit our players,” said Cameron, “Obviously there is a great foundation here offensively, especially the running game and (pass) protection scheme.”
That foundation, Cameron said, won’t change. LSU’s offense may change, but the Tigers’ personality won’t.
If one thing impressed him in analyzing LSU in the past, he said, it was how physical the Tigers are.
“Its a physical game,” he said. “It’s the personality of our head coach. It reflects the kind of players we bring here. We bring physical kids here — kids with athletic ability and speed. I just love the physical nature.
“Under no scenario will we compromise that. Whether it is pass or run, even if we throw it every down, we’re not going to compromise the physical nature of what we do. It’s LSU football.”
LSU will have some elements of the trendy spread offenses and won’t be afraid to go no-huddle at times (as it did a few times last year).
But Mettenberger will still mostly line up under center and the Tigers will be one of the few teams still running fullbacks.
“Most people don’t see that now,” Cameron said. “The first time anybody is going to see this is when they play us. And we think that’s going to be a huge advantage for us.”
“The bottom line is we need to ask our players to do what they do best and develop the talents that they bring to the table,” Cameron said. “We have guys that can run, we have guys that can throw. We have guys that can catch. And we tell our guys if you don’t have a football in your hands you are a blocker. Everyone has to be a blocker.
“We are still evolving to see the things that we do best. I think we do a lot of things well. We want to do things on Saturday night that we do best and throw out the stuff that we aren’t able to do at the level that we want. That is why we are still evolving.”