LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 6:08 PM
Even though he was toiling in the NFL at the time, Cam Cameron claims to have watched every LSU football game over the last eight seasons.
He’s about to get a much more up close and personal view of the Tigers.
Head coach Les Miles finally made it official Friday, introducing Cameron as LSU’s new offensive coordinator with a mandate to take the Tigers’ often inconsistent offense to the next level.
“We’ve been pretty good,” Miles said. “That being said, good is not good enough. We want to be a great team. This program is designed to be a championship program. We want to be in that last (championship) game.
“I think this is a next-level opportunity for coach Cameron. He’s called plays, really, for his whole career.”
Cameron, a longtime friend of Miles dating back to their days on Bo Schembechler’s Michigan staffs, brings a sparkling resume minus two mediocre stints as a head coach —in college at Indiana (18-37) and one year atop the NFL Miami Dolphins (1-15).
He directed dynamic offenses with Drew Brees and later Philip Rivers with the San Diego Chargers from 2002-2006 and, most recently, despite being fired in midseason by the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, was often credited with developing quarterback Joe Flacco.
Miles texted his old friend as soon as he heard that he had been dismissed by the Ravens following the 13th game of the NFL season.
“It fell together just right,” Miles said. “How it came together...it benefited us.
“I wanted to bring in somebody that will make us better. I didn’t want to just bring in a guy.”
Cameron isn’t promising a quick fix for an offense that often struggled in recent years, particularly with the passing game.
“In this case we’ve got a great foundation we can build from,” Cameron said. “We want to build on what we’re doing, improve on what we’re doing.
“It’s a great system ... It’s my job to adapt and adjust and bring my experience, my expertise, and blend it in with what we’re doing.”
Cameron will take over the coordinator and play-calling duties from Greg Studrawa, who will remain on the staff in his former job solely as offensive line coach.
Steve Kragthorpe, who coached quarterbacks the last two years, will be moved to a as-yet unspecified administrative position within the football program.
Kragthorpe was hired to be offensive coordinator two years ago before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. But with the NCAA’s more liberalized recruiting rules about to take effect, he will likely have far more than a ceremonial role with the program.
With more staff members being allowed to actively recruit, for instance, Nick Saban at Alabama has already hired what would be similar to an NFL’s director of player personnel.
Cameron will be charged with making them more effective on offense.
“It may vary a little from year to year,” he said of his offensive philosophy. “We can adapt and adjust to what our best players can do best. We’ve got a lot of options there because, there is no doubt, we’ve got a lot of good players.”
Cameron will inherit a senior quarterback in Zach Mettenberger, who after a shaky start last year was fairly solid in his final games.
Cameron said he met with Mettenberger Thursday.
“The one thing I wanted to let him know was that I’m all ears at this point,” Cameron said. “I need to know what he knows.
“Figuring out what he likes most is one of the first things we’re doing. Then we’ll talk about why he likes them. I need to get some of the whys from him and, especially at this time in his career, do everything that he can do really well.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to challenge Zach. We are going to test his every limit and see all he can do. But I think you really need his input and feedback.”