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papz 04-19-2013 09:53 AM

Cameron shaping LSU offense with lessons from unlikely sources
 
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Associated Press story filed on Sept. 20, 1975 with the CARBONDALE, Ill., dateline explained the who, what, when, why and where. But it left out the truly magical moment. Dave Vandercook, a freshman kicker at Indiana State, lined up for a 55-yard field goal with a few seconds remaining and Southern Illinois leading by one. Vandercook missed. But Southern Illinois got flagged for jumping offsides. So Vandercook lined up again for a 50-yarder. He made it.

The 177 words of this dispatch the Chicago Tribune chose to run the next day explained the basics of the Sycamores' 23-21 win, including the fact that Vandercook's final kick cleared the crossbar by three feet. They did not, however, mention the Indiana State ball boy who caught Vandercook's game-winning field goal. That's where the story gets really interesting.

Beneath the goal posts that day in Carbondale was a high school freshman whose mother had recently married Indiana State coach Tom Harp. The kid was a pretty fair athlete himself, so good at quarterback that when he became a sophomore his coach at South Vigo High in Terre Haute, Ind., allowed him to call the plays himself. His name? Cam Cameron. Since that moment -- whether playing football for Lee Corso, playing hoops for Bobby Knight, coaching at Michigan and Indiana, becoming an uber-successful NFL offensive coordinator or getting fired in the midst of a Super Bowl run -- Cameron has spent nearly every moment chasing the high that surged through his body when he caught that ball and saw the Sycamores charge off their sideline to dogpile the freshman who had kicked it.

"I've never looked back," Cameron said this week. "And I've never worked a day in my life."

Cameron has gone to an office and drawn a paycheck, but he has never considered football work. To him, every game is one more opportunity to recreate what he felt that day in Carbondale. Cameron's newest opportunities will come at Tiger Stadium. After Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh fired Cameron in December in what he called "the hardest thing I've had to do as a coach," Cameron had a few options. Several NFL teams called. But so did old friend Les Miles, with whom Cameron shared an office when the men were assistants together under Bo Schembechler at Michigan. LSU offered a three-year, $3.4 million contract, which made the Tigers competitive with any NFL team. So Cameron, who hadn't coached in college since he was fired as alma mater Indiana's head coach in 2001, went back to campus with the goal of creating an LSU offense worthy of sharing the same sideline with the Tigers' vaunted defense.

To do this, Cameron will teach his players lessons collected from some unlikely sources. When he was a sophomore in high school, Cameron met a man who would help shape his play-calling philosophy. His name was Larry Bird.

Yes, that Larry Bird.


Read more: Cam Cameron shapes LSU offense with lessons from unlikely sources - College Football - Andy Staples - SI.com

SmashMouth 04-20-2013 01:24 PM

Re: Cameron shaping LSU offense with lessons from unlikely sources
 
Illinois and Ohio have spawn many real good coaches over the years.


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