The 52-year-old, who called the Ravens’ offensive plays for five seasons before he was fired by head coach John Harbaugh a day after the team’s Dec. 9 loss to the Washington Redskins, was announced today as LSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, reuniting him with his longtime friend, Tigers coach Les Miles.
Cameron and Miles worked together for seven years on the University of Michigan coaching staff, prompting a question about whether he has any concerns working with a close friend. Cameron and Harbaugh also had a tight relationship when Cameron was hired in 2008 to lead the Ravens’ offense.
“The past five years with John Harbaugh, I would not trade for anything in the world,” Cameron told reporters at his introductory news conference today in Baton Rouge. “We’re still great friends to this day. When you love somebody, it’s easy to just look at each other in the eye and know that we love each other unconditionally. We understand how things in football, or just things in general can play out, but it is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with people you care about. There’s no downside to it in my mind because the relationship still always trumps anything. For me, my family, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Cameron, who has politely declined a couple of interview requests from The Baltimore Sun since his firing, wasn’t asked any other specific questions about his time with the Ravens during the news conference.
On Dec. 10, Cameron was replaced by quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, a move often cited as one of the driving forces behind the Ravens’ playoff run that culminated with a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3 in Super Bowl XLVII. Joe Flacco, who was never completely on the same page as Cameron, threw 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the playoffs and was named the most valuable player of the Super Bowl.
Now, Cameron will be given the keys to the Tigers’ offense after Miles decided that Greg Studrawa, who had been the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach the past two seasons, will focus solely on coaching the offensive linemen. Miles acknowledged that he texted Cameron immediately after he became available.
“It’s a great day for LSU football,” Miles said. “It’s an opportunity to add a very good football coach and a quality man to our staff. He and I have a life-time relationship, one that started at Michigan where we shared an office. He comes in to add to us, to build on what we’ve accomplished. We’re thrilled.”
Cameron, who still lives in Baltimore but said that he’s in the process of having his family join him in Louisiana, said he was “honored” to join the coaching staff of the Southeastern Conference football power.
“I came down a few years ago, had a 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 seen every LSU football game for the last eight years,” Cameron said. “I can’t tell you how honored I am and how thrilled I am to be here and to be a part of this program. It’s one of - if not the greatest - football programs in this country. I’m glad to be a part of it, looking forward to doing my part.”
Cameron hasn’t coached in college since a five-year stint as the head coach at Indiana University, which ended following the 2001 season. Harbaugh was on his staff as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator in 1997.
“How can you not be in love with the direction the college game is going?,” Cameron asked. “I marvel at what’s being done in college football. What a great game. The game is getting better and better. It’s a little interesting to watch the National Football League now really evolve more and more from the college game. I think that’ a neat thing. I don’t see how many major issues there. … I think the bottom line is, whatever level we are, we’re teachers. My dad was a football coach and he taught me at an early age that you have to be able to teach no matter what level it is. We’re just fortunate to be able to coach at the highest level. I think coaching is coaching.”