CFS Daily Hot Reads: Sunday, March 10, 2013

CFS Daily Hot Reads: Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cam Cameron is excited to be reunited with his old friend Les Miles at LSU. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

Fired by the Ravens, Cam Cameron is excited about a reunion with old friend Les Miles at LSU. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

  • New LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron got his first opportunity to call plays as a high school sophomore. He learned at an early age the importance of spreading the ball around. “All my buddies were the running backs and wide receivers,” Cameron told Jim Kleinpeter of the Times-Picayune. “One thing I learned was you have to keep everybody involved, that’s the key to being a play-caller. Know who your best players are and make sure everybody has a role and feels a part of the game plan. As long as you do that you’ll get guys to play at a higher level.” Cameron’s two stints as a head coach didn’t go well – he was 18-37 in five seasons at Indiana, and 1-15 in one season with the Miami Dolphins – but his reputation as a play-caller and developer of quarterbacks is untarnished. Even at Indiana, Antwaan Randle El, a wide receiver he moved to quarterback, finished his career fifth on the NCAA’s all-time total offense list. “The Indiana job probably prepared me more for college football and the NFL than any other job,” he said. “Every week the talent is either equal or you are outmanned. It’ll challenge you. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything from a coaching perspective.” In the pros, Cameron helped make no-name quarterback Gus Frerotte a Pro Bowler with the Redskins, and he worked with Drew Brees four of his first five years in the league as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator. After Miami, Cameron went to the Ravens the same season as Joe Flacco. Flacco became the first quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons, and Cameron became the NFL’s winningest offensive coordinator over that span (58-28). This year, with the Ravens 9-4 after a loss to Washington, John Harbaugh felt the offense was under-performing, and fired him. It was a decision Harbaugh later called the “hardest thing I ever had to do,” and felt compelled to get Cameron a Super Bowl ring. Now it’s on to LSU and a reunion with Les Miles. The two became fast friends while at Michigan under Bo Schembechler, where they shared a windowless office for seven years. He will be charged with coaching up senior Zach Mettenberger, who showed flashes but struggled mightily at times last season. Miles is confident in Cameron’s ability to rev up the Tigers’ passing game. “He has an instinctive presence,” Miles said. “He always knows the right way to go.”
  • Marshall’s Doc Holliday has had a busy off-season. With last week’s departure of running backs coach JaJuan Seider to West Virginia, six Herd coaches have left the staff since the end of the disappointing 2012 season. In addition, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Chris Rippon was allowed to resign, and Anthony Midget, hired on Jan. 28, left 10 days later for Penn State. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill Legg is the only remaining member of Holliday’s original 2010 staff, and the Herd almost lost him. Legg interviewed for USC’s offensive coordinator opening last month. But the news for Holliday, who will enter his fourth season as a head coach, isn’t all bad. Legg didn’t get the USC job, and his offense was ranked ranked No. 1 in passing (365.1 yards per game) and No. 6 in total offense (534.25 yards) nationally in 2012. Also, the five hires Holliday has made all appear to be very strong. Veteran Chuck Heater will be defensive coordinator, and new linebackers coach Adam Fuller has a bright future. Alex Mirabal, who spent the last six seasons under new Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal at FIU, is considered a rising star, as is receivers coach Mike Furrey, who played eight seasons in the NFL. Holliday still must replace Seider, but at least on paper, it looks like he’s weathered the storm of departures surprisingly well.
  • Bronco Mendenhall has five new offensive coaches at BYU this spring, and Dick Harmon of the Deseret News tells us why wide receivers coach Guy Holliday might be the most intriguing of them all. At first glance, Holliday at BYU might look like a head-scratcher – he has no ties to BYU or the state of Utah. But he’s got a wide range of experience (Ivy League, historically black colleges, WAC and SEC), a proven track record (he’s put 20 receivers in the NFL) and strong ties to Texas (where the Cougars want to make recruiting in-roads). Just as important, his values line up with those of the school and Mendenhall. “Some people are anti-honor code,” Holliday told Harmon, “but I think the honor code is just asking people to do what is right and I don’t think that is a religious thing or something we should see as a negative. I just think in today’s society, we just have to get young people to do what is right.” Mendenhall hired Holliday to do two things: Uphold the goals and ideals of program and push the Cougar receivers beyond the limits of their talent. Holliday leans on his four coaching building blocks – effort, elevating talent, honesty and trust – to accomplish that. So far, he’s having a great time. “I think (what) I probably love the most is the camaraderie between coaches and players,” Holliday he said. “You don’t get that in corporate America and when I stopped playing, I missed those relationships. That’s why I got into coaching.”

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