Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pro Football Talk: Michigan After Cam Cameron?

Well, if you can't get the coach of the potential NCAA Champion Louisiana State Tigers, Les Miles, and you can't pry Greg Schiano away from Rutgers and the potential future of Penn State's head coaching gig, and Kirk Ferentz decides to stay at Iowa, why not go to the world of the NFL? Great idea actually. Talk of Sean Payton, a successful, innovative, young offensive mind was a giant step in the right direction. Word of whom the Wolverines may be targeting now? Well, not so much.

According to, the Wolverines, instead of Les Miles, coach of the potential National Champions in college football, they are focusing on another former assistant coach, but one whose season, well, has not quite gone as well as LSU's. The coach's record? A mere 0-13. Yes, 0-13, and most likely 0-16, the first coach to ever lead his team to such a milestone. That coach? Former Michigan assistant Cam Cameron.

With Saints coach Sean Payton not interested in becoming the next head coach at the University of Michigan, there's talk in league circles that Athletic Director Bill Martin wants to pursue Dolphins coach Cam Cameron, if Cameron is fired.

Per one league insider, Martin believes that Cameron's 0-13 (and counting) performance in his first year as an NFL head coach is an aberration.

Cameron was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1984 through 1993, and he was the head coach at Indiana. The program is looking for an offensive guru to lead the team after the retirement of Lloyd Carr.

Thankfully, the website reports that Cameron would prefer to stay in the NFL and that alumni (like myself -- I will have two degrees from here in less than three weeks time, when do I get some pull?) aren't likely to warm to a candidate who has been an abysimal failure in his first NFL season. He wasn't much better as a head coach at Indiana, his alma matter, where he went 18-37.

Cameron's best work has come as an offensive coordinator and assistant. At Michigan, (1983-1993) he helped develop a ton of top talent, including Jim Harbaugh and Desmond Howard. In the NFL, he found success as offensive coordinator in Washington and most recently in San Diego, where he helped turn Drew Brees and some guy named LaDainian Tomlinson (who had a great profile on 60 minutes tonight -- Seems like a genuinely good guy and guy the NFL should be showcasing for both his on and off field behavior, which are both exemplary) into Pro Bowl players.

While Cameron may be an offensive genius, if he's proven anything over the past two decades, it's that he's not head coach material. He failed at Indiana. He failed at Miami. To be fair, Indiana is hard to win at, and the Dolphins were a disaster well before Cameron arrived on the scene, and injuries to both quarterback Trent Green and running back Ronnie Brown haven't helped. But, I'm just not convinced Cameron has what it takes to be a successful head coach. Rutgers is not an easy place to win either, but Greg Schiano found a way. Brian Kelly, who isn't even a candidate for the Michigan job because apparently he rubbed some people the wrong way at some point (probably by winning at a school, Central Michigan, where current assistant Mike DeBord was a complete failure), won at both Central Michigan and Grand Valley State, not football hotbeds before he came around. Good coaches can win at run-down programs and can win without five-star recruits. Cameron couldn't.

Is Cam Cameron a brilliant coordinator? Absolutely. But can he run an entire program? I'm just not sold. 0-13 takes a special kind of ineptitude, one the Detroit Lions never reached. Is that really who we want taking over Michigan at this crucial moment? Especially somebody who prefers to stay in the NFL, but can't because he's not head coach material, and somebody who likely would jump back to the NFL at the first opportunity? And somebody who failed at their first college head coaching job? Bill Martin needs to think long and hard about that.

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Big Al said...

As an alumnus, this coaching search has got to be killing you. I never thought it'd get to the point where Cam Cameron, who is on the verge of setting an NFL record for losses in a single season, could be considered a viable candidate.

I agree with you, as I never got the fascination over Cam Cameron. As a head coach, to this point of his career, he's been an abject failure.

ramosa said...

recommendation #1 for bill martin: open your wallet.

recommendation #2 for bill martin: don't waste your time meeting with a bunch of lame hires (e.g., english, debord, hoke, cameron) when you should be spending your time looking for a great hire.

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