Football Introduces Cameron as Offensive Coordinator

LSU head coach Les Miles (left) with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron
LSU head coach Les Miles (left) with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron
Steve Franz
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE - Cam Cameron, whose career includes head coaching positions at the NFL and collegiate levels, has been tabbed as LSU's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, head coach Les Miles announced on Friday.

Cameron, who has coached some of the NFL's top offensive players including Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, joins the Tigers staff after serving as the offensive coordinator for the past five years with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Miles also announced on Friday that Greg Studrawa will return to his role as offensive line coach and that Steve Kragthorpe will take an administrative job on the football staff. Studrawa has spent the past two seasons serving in a dual capacity as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, while Kragthorpe coached the LSU's quarterbacks for the past two years.

A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Cameron has 29 years of coaching experience to his credit, 15 at the college level and 14 in the NFL. Six of his 29 years in coaching have come as a head coach as he served five years as a head coach at Indiana from 1997-2001 and then followed that with one season as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2007.

Miles and Cameron served together on the Michigan coaching staff for seven years from 1987-93. Miles coached the offensive line for the Wolverines during that span, while Cameron coached quarterbacks and wide receivers. 

Most recently, Cameron helped develop Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco into one of the best at his position in the NFL. Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP after leading the Ravens to a 34-31 win over San Francisco in the Super Bowl. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons, all of which came under Cameron's watch. 

Prior to his five years in Baltimore, Cameron served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2007 going 1-15 in his only season as a NFL head coach.

Cameron had tremendous success as the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers from 2002-06, helping the franchise to the playoffs twice, going 14-2 record in 2006 and 12-4 mark in 2004.

In 2006, Cameron's play-calling helped the Chargers lead the NFL in scoring with 492 points and Tomlinson was named the NFL's MVP by the Associated Press after setting a franchise record with 1,815 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns. Six members of the Charger offensive unit were named to the Pro Bowl that year.

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Brees got his first NFL start under Cameron as he spent four of his first five years in the league with the new LSU offensive coordinator. Cameron was named the NFL Offensive Assistant Coach of the Year by in 2004 as Brees was selected to the Pro Bowl along with being picked the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year.

In four years under Cameron, Brees threw for more than 12,000 yards and 79 touchdowns, while Tomlinson rushed for more than 1,300 yards each season.

As head coach at Indiana from 1997-2001, Cameron helped create quarterback Antwaan Randle El into one of the most dynamic players in college football history. Randle El became the first player in NCAA Division I history to pass for 40 career touchdowns and rush for 40 career TDs. He finished fifth on the NCAA all-time total yardage list with 11,364 yards (7,469 passing, 3,895 rushing) and was sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior in 2001.

Cameron's five-year record with the Hoosiers was 18-37 with his best season coming in 2001 when Indiana won four of its last five games and posted a 5-6 mark with wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State. 

A 1983 graduate of Indiana with a degree in business, Cameron broke into coaching in 1984 serving as a graduate assistant under legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler. After two years as a graduate assistant with the Wolverines, Cameron was elevated to wide receivers coach in 1986. He held that role for four years before adding quarterbacks to his list of responsibilities in 1990. Cameron served on the Michigan staff through 1993 when he moved to the NFL as the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins.

As a collegiate player, Cameron played both football and basketball at Indiana. He appeared in 22 football games as a quarterback and in 30 games for the basketball team. Cameron earned two letters as a quarterback for the Hoosiers, playing for Lee Corso in 1982 and Sam Wyche in 1983, before a knee injury cut his senior season short. He also played basketball for Bobby Knight, earning a pair of letters in 1981-82 and 1982-83. Cameron was a member of Indiana's 1983 Big Ten Championship Team in basketball.


Les Miles Opening Statement...
"I think this is a very key hire and a great day for LSU football. I think there is an opportunity to add a very fine football coach and a quality man to our staff. They style of experience that Cam Cameron brings is of someone who has been a head coach in college and in the NFL. He's called plays, really for a career. He has a great background. Not many times you can say that one guy played basketball for Bobby Knight and coached with Bo Schemblecher. I think he will bring a lot to the table. Personally, I enjoy that fact that he and I have a lifetime relationship. One that started at Michigan, where we shared an office, and continues to stay as our families are intertwined. I think that he comes in to do and add to us and builds on what we have accomplished.

"That is not take anything away from the very positive contributions that Greg Studrawa had in the last two years as offensive coordinator. But he returns to the line where he will give us the same strength and experience with what we've done in the past. Steve Kragthorpe, we are adjusting his responsibilities. He is still going to give us every opportunity at an administrative task. He has great experience with football. I think with the new rules that are changing in college allowing for differing style of responsibilities by administrative personal, he is a guy that can be invaluable to us as we look forward. This is a move where we are adding and not subtracting. We are thrilled."

On the personal relationship between Coach Miles and Cam Cameron...
"It is interesting. Somebody asked if we have gone over that. No we haven't gone over that or a bunch of stuff. What ends up happening when you talk football and personal life over years, you understand what is a common philosophy and a common theme. What a great experience two young coaches had at Michigan. Following Bo Schemblecher around and listening to everything that he said. Be a part of a team effort, do our part and end up being part of a time at Michigan where we won five straight championships. Shared or won. It is an amazing thing how well you know somebody, but did not talk about it. You just grew in a like position. I was all smiles because I realized what Cam Cameron will do for us."

On bringing in Cam Cameron...
"I wanted to bring in somebody that was going to make us better. I just didn't want to bring in a guy. I certainly knew that when Cam became available, that there was an outside chance that he might be available to us. I sent him a text immediately, which would not be uncommon anyway because of our relationship. It fell together exactly right. How it came together benefitted us. He's made a real commitment to be here. He is not a short term thinker. He is a guy that gives vision to an amount of time."

On the new position for Steve Kragthorpe...
"First of all, Steve is in an administrative role, a non-coaching role and an off of the field position.  He is going to be able to share our offense with expertise with Cam. He turns over some of those  responsibilities. It is also with new rules on the horizon; it appears that there is an opportunity for him to expand into some of those spots. It would be a little in front of me to tell you that I know exactly those rules. They are up to interpretations. We just had a head coaches meeting in Birmingham. It is obvious in the room that there is a lot of indecision. What they have done, the NCAA has not only change rules but they have changed the way college football can be done. How this interpretation will affect us, it is nice to have a guy like Steve Kragthorpe. A guy who has had head coaching experience, who has run major college programs and who could be in a position to help us administratively."

On whether Coach Cameron will be on the field or in the booth...
"I think certainly that would be up to Cam. I think that for us he might do better for us with vision from the box, but that is something that Cam will have last word on. I don't think it makes a great deal of difference."

On the offensive improvements...
"I guess there are some strengths that we have and I think Cam spoke to personnel abilities. In other words, what a quarterback does and what a tailback does. There will be an ability for him to change and restructure. I think there is a need to serve the guy in our team that knows our offense. The disruption in our thinking is not something that we are looking to do. We want to use Cam's concepts as it is appropriate and how it fits what we have done in the past. I guess what I am saying is that we have some inherent strengths. Reviewing our personal and being more efficient can rapidly make a difference offensively."

On the state of the program...
"We've been pretty good. Minus a minute and a half in two games, we finish out maybe a team that played in the conference championship game and maybe a team that played in the national championship. With that being said, good is not good enough. We want to be a great team. We opened a meeting yesterday to the team, and I pointed to a championship ring. The last time there was a conference champion besides last Dec. was us. This program is designed for championships. We want to be in the last game. There was a lot of great time coming up in college football. Certainly a national opportunity to see a national championship next year, but then in two years with the tournament, I think there is an open eye to wanting to play our best football then. I think this is a next level opportunity for Coach Cameron to help us. Every year starts brand new. We just spent an hour and a half on what will be our coaches' workouts. Our team has to come to life, develop leadership and take some of the steps that other great teams around here have taken. The process is a long one, but yes without missing steps and without skipping to the end of the year, this move is designed to put us in line with a championship."


Opening Statement...
"First, I just want to say I'm honored to be a part of LSU football, and Louisiana State University. It has been a special time these last few weeks. My wife is here in town with me. We are excited to be here. The first time that comes to mind is getting to know our players. I had the chance yesterday to be a part of a team meeting. In the next three or four days I will have the chance to meet every one of these guys. A few of the offensive guys came through this morning. I'm really excited to get to know our players and I know this offensive staff. I'm really looking forward to working with these guys. I came down in the spring a few years ago. I had the chance to watch spring practice. I had a chance to bring my family to a National Championship game a few years ago. I can tell you one thing, I've see every LSU Football game for the last eight years. I can't tell you how honored and thrilled I am to be a part of this program. It's one of if not the greatest football program in this country. I'm glad to be a part of it and looking forward to do my part, and getting my family down here. Les (Miles); thanks for bringing me here. I also want to say thanks to Joe (Alleva). Joe had a huge part in this. I know other people get involved anytime someone hired from the outside. I know a lot of effort went in to getting this done. I'm greatly appreciative of that and my family is as well. I just want to thank you for doing that. We had a recruiting meeting this morning and we are off and running."

On the current state of the LSU Football Program...
"Anytime you come into a new program in this case you have a great foundation, and a great foundation that we can build from. We want to build on what we are doing. We want to improve on what we are doing. The first thing we are doing, I need to know everything that Zach (Mettenberger) knows. I need to know everything that Stephen (Rivers) knows. I need to know everything our guys know. I've seen a lot of games. It's a great system. I just want to build on it and challenge some guys to get better at some things. It is my job to adapt and adjust, and bring my experience and expertise and blend it in with what we are doing, in any level but especially the college level. We have freshmen coming in and maybe a junior-college player or two coming in. We have returning players that know certain things. We will build on what we're doing and we will 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 and then evolve and build as we go."

On transitioning back to college football...
"How can you not be in love with the direction the college game is going. I've been sitting from a different view for several years now.  I marvel what's being done in college football. What a great game. It is getting better and better. It is interesting to watch the National Football League evolve now from the college game. I think that's a neat thing. We have always felt like, Les and I as coaches, that we need to adapt. Whether you are pulling things from the NFL, or you're on the other end pulling things from college, it's football. The hash marks are different. There are slight differences in the rules but those are becoming more and more alike. I don't see any major issues there."

On the keys of returning to college football from the NFL...
"I think the bottom line is in whatever level we are, we're teachers. My dad was a football coach. He told me at an early age, you have to be able to teach in no matter what level that is; high school, college or National Football League. I remember him telling me this when I got my first Division-I job. He said that one thing I should not forget is some of the great coaches in football are in high school, or at the Division-II level, or the Division-III level. There are great coaches at every level. We are just fortunate to be able to coach at the highest level. I have been fortunate to coach some in the National Football League. I think coaching is coaching. I think the biggest part of that no matter how you try to match this together, is having a staff that can work together, and players that want to be taught and guys that can teach it. Our offense need to represent our program and not just our offense, and how it fits within our defense and special teams and all of the things Les has brought to this program. I think teaching is the most important thing."

On his offensive gameplan...
"It's the LSU Football style already. It's physical. It's tough. It is bringing in guys that are smart and know this game and understand that there are three phases to this game and it is not just offense. We are charged on offense with taking care of the football. LSU historically and under Les' guidance has been in the top five (in turnover margin). There is nobody winning games in this sport winning games turning the football over. Does that mean you play conservative? Absolutely not. You have to play smart aggressive football. It has to have a physical nature to it. That is the way we were raised. We are not apologizing for it. I was in an office with (Les Miles) with a few years. He's one of the toughest men around. I know what he brings to the table. I know the mindset this team has. I know our offense is going to carry that torch as well. I think, within that, what can our players do best. It may vary from year to year. If you quarterback is a two-dimensional guy, or just a thrower or a super bright guy; we can adapt to what our best players do best. I know that's what we've always done. We have a lot of options here. There is no doubt about it. We have a lot of good players. We will be doing what are guys can do best within those other things we talked about; being tough, being physical and playing extremely fast. We have guys that can do that."

On getting back into recruiting...
"I'm thrilled to be back in recruiting. When you look at what we do as coaches and teachers, it is a relationship business. It is a relationship proposition. To get the opportunity to get back in homes and having kids come in this weekend; obviously I am excited about recruiting. We had a recruiting meeting this morning. I mentioned this to Les. Our system of recruiting here is impressive. The kids that are chosen to come her and play and get an education is not happening by accident. I was in this building yesterday. I've seen the academic center. You talk about a group effort. The amount of people that I've seen in a short period of time that are involved in bringing these young men here; I've never seen anything like it. I meant it when I said it. I'm excited to be a part of it. I know just like anywhere else I can do my part and I am prepared to do that."

On working with Zach Mettenberger...
"I ran into Zach (Mettenberger) in the hall way yesterday. The one thing I wanted to let him know was I'm coming in all ears at this point. Guys that play at this level have had great high school careers and are in the fourth or fifth year. There are certain things you like to do. There are certain things you know you are really good at. Figuring out what he likes most is one the first things we are doing in this system. Then we'll talk about why he likes that. I need to get some of the whys from him, and especially at this time in his career, do everything that he can do well. With young guys it is a little bit different. You can develop some things and expose them to more things early on, and really try to expand what they can do. That doesn't mean we aren't going to challenge Zach. We are going to test every limit he has and see all he can do. We are just building on what we are doing. But I think you really need his input and feedback from him. That will be the first thing that we will do. There may be a case when you have five quarterbacks. Very seldom you will have five guys that can all do the same thing. I think you owe it to your offense to allow the quarterback to do the things he does best when he's in there. If the guys are completely different maybe it will look completely different to some degree. But the productivity still has to be the same. You have to move the football, score points and take care of the football. That's the approach we take."

On developing a college-level quarterback...
"Two things come to mind. I would say I learned from (Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees) as much as they learned from me. That's what makes these things so much fun. These kinds of quarterbacks can teach you so much especially when you are communicating with them at a high level. But I think it is simple. This is what we are charged with. It is our job to develop a guy to the best of our ability. You really can't get too far ahead of yourself in college. If you focus on becoming as good as you can be and doing the things to become the best player you can possibly be, all off a sudden they are All-Americans or heading to the Senior Bowl or winning championships in college. They get a chance in the National Football League. They work to become as good as they can be. Now they are in the Pro Bowl or they win a Super Bowl. Keeping it simple and focusing on being as good as you can be is the way. That's what you have control over and that's what we are charged with. That is what we will do. We like to see every kid that comes through the program, on offense especially, become as good as they can be. We will see where that takes us."

On working with a close-friend in Les Miles...
"I would say this. The past five years working with John Harbaugh, I would not trade for anything in the world. We are still great friends to this day. When you love somebody, it is easy to look each other in the eye and know that we love each other unconditionally. We understand how things in football and things in general can play out. But it is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with people you care about. There is no downside in my mind because the relationship trumps everything. For me and my family it doesn't get any better than this."

On offensive play-calling...
"We have absolutely discussed it. To me it has always been a team effort. It is why we win. The head coach has a vision. He has a vision on how the game needs to be won with all three phases in mind. I think you can get in trouble when one guys thinks his phase is paramount over everyone else. With our relationship and the way Les communicates, it will be very clear what our plan is. We will obviously adjust and adapt that plan as the game goes along. But I would be crazy to not 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. As an offensive coach you can get too dialed in on one certain thing that may not be in the best interest. But I know there will be communication. Whether it's four-down territory, or how the score or clock factors in. Those are all things that will be critical input. I'm looking forward to the way we are going to work together. That's what we talked about and that is what we will do. I think that is why we are going to be successful."

On having Coach Greg Studrawa's on the staff...
"I think it is a huge advantage for us and for me to have a guy who has been in my shoes and a guy that can bring expertise. (Studrawa) is a great football coach. I have known that for a long time. We will work together. That's the way it will be. I can lean on him in a variety of situations just like I can with Steve (Kragthorpe). I had several great conversations with Steve. I think you guys know the kind of man he is. He has been nothing but supportive. He and I will actually look at some tape this afternoon. It was his idea. It is a great staff. It is a great group of guys. I am looking forward to learning everything they know at this point, and just moving forward and getting better."

On his coaching philosophy throughout different tenures and coaching with Les Miles at Michigan...
"In all of those experiences, fundamentals, technique and or effort and execution have been the critical components. Those are going to outlive us all in this game. There is no doubt about it. I can't speak for Les about our time at Michigan, but I know how I see it. It was a great times for me as a young coach to grow and learn. When you can come to work and leave feeling good about yourself and feeling good about the people you are working with, and you are getting better at what you do, no amount of money can give you that. I was fortunate to have that time with Les and Coach (Bo) Schembechler. When you are a young college student you will do just about everything when you know he has your back and your are getting better, and having an opportunity to reach your goals. I turned 52 last week, but I don't see it any differently now then when I was 22. I am a better coach. After the recruiting meeting this morning I am a better recruiter than I was two hours ago. That excites me. I know from a coaching standpoint with this staff, I think I have a great view of how it is going to play out. We have great men. They are going to sharpen me just as much as I hope I can sharpen them. I am going to lean on these guys heavily. I can since some concern. I don't have any concern because I'm coming in with all ears. I want these men to teach me why they have been so successful so far, and how can I can help build from we are. That's where I'm at in this whole thing."

On his relationship with Les Miles...
"The bottom line is we are in it together. Brother fight like brothers sometimes. But we all know what is the most important thing - the team and the university. We all know how this thing goes. I'm just a part of that. I would just say in closing to have an opportunity to represent Louisiana State University and the football program is truly an honor. I want to thank all of you for today."




This Week in LSU Athletics - May 22-27
May. 22
Cannon on Goal-Line Stand vs. Ole Miss
May. 21
'The Tribute' - Celebrating LSU Athletics Graduates
May. 11