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Hobbs Column: Cameron puts spring in Tigers’ steps

Last Modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 10:27 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

As originally conceived, spring football was to be a chance for coaches and players alike to toil at their leisure, to let nature take over while molding a depth chart naturally without the deadline of a game this Saturday rushing things.

It worked for a while.

It worked until the Internet came along, later further complicated by Twitter and whatnot.

Now spring football isn’t much different than fall football — except there are noticeably no actual games that count — in that it can be all consuming to a fan base desperate for nuggets even if, in the long run, they don’t mean much.

The focus of this year’s LSU spring work, even as the Tigers mix and match to replace a defense gutted by NFL defections is, of course, on new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

While previewing the spring, head coach Les Miles went so far Wednesday as to declare that Cameron has already “done a great job” and “will have a great effect.”

There was a such a stir in the room — big news! — that Miles quickly cautioned that you “might not see the results tomorrow.”

“That might be a little early,” he warned.

He was fibbing again.

Lo and behold, if tomorrow didn’t come and, even though these workouts are held under Cold War-style, cloak-and-dagger secrecy, word quickly leaked out that the excited Tigers were running a brand-new offense.

Imagine what it might look like, as Miles had said, “in the back end of the spring” and (with what seemed to be a knowing wink) “see how we’re playing.”

The early buzz was that LSU may be joining the up-tempo crowd, buying into football as a chance to fast break to the end zone.

There were excited reports of Cameron sprinting to and fro at the very first workout, rushing everybody along, demanding quarterbacks to be quicker-quicker-quicker with the next play so they could go-go-go.

Perhaps in getting acquainted with his new team, Cameron noticed the snail’s space with which the Tigers managed to run six plays in the fourth quarter while hanging its defense out to dry in the Chick-fil-A meltdown.

At any rate, quarterback Zach Mettenberger let it slip afterward that it seems to be a bona fide “no-huddle” offense, officially joining the 21st century.

Could that dreaded “jumbo” package be gone forever?

If Miles was standing nearby with a butterfly net to prevent Cameron from implementing anything fun and exciting to the offense, it was not reported.

That’s a good thing, although Miles alleged interference with opening up the offense has never been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and I do believe he really does want at least a balanced offense that can be trusted under a variety of circumstances.

Miles, in fact, by all accounts was leaving Cameron alone to work with getting more of the skill positions bigger roles. You will probably hear optimistic explanations that it is what happens when a head coach has a trusted friend as his coordinator, one who stood watch in Miles’ wedding party.

Maybe they figure there will be more for everybody to do with this newfangled hurry-up offense.

Even Wednesday, before Miles and Cameron had shared a practice field yet, the LSU head coach seemed to be preaching to the choir (fans) when he said of Cameron’s passing game that, “He has tight ends that he wants to see get the ball, and running backs (too).”

That would certainly be a novel offensive approach by recent LSU standards.

“Cam will take our better players and devise those things that give them the opportunity to have touches,” he said. “In the NFL (where Cameron was offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens) that was the case.”

Miles has concentrated his hands-on work in sorting out the offensive line, his specialty.

Presumably they will be working on it all spring.

Stayed tuned.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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