As a quarterbacks coach at Michigan in 1993, Cam Cameron showed all his QBs the tape of a little-known high school QB from up the road in Flint. It was clear the QB was a good player, but nothing really jumped off the screen to the young Michigan QBs who were watching, and they began to wonder why Cameron was showing them the film. How could film of a high school QB serve as a learning tool or motivating factor for quarterbacks at the college level?
Cameron turned off the film and told the room that the QB on the screen was Jim Abbott. All of the QBs knew exactly who Abbott was, because just the week before he had pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees, and had become a star in MLB despite being born without his right hand. Abbott made playing QB (and pitching) look easy.
I was a true freshman QB in that meeting room, and to this day I remember the feeling I had when I watched that tape. I knew how hard it was to play QB, but to do it with only one hand was nothing short of amazing. Cameron had sensed that our group of QBs was struggling with the difficulty of playing the position at the collegiate level and was beginning to take the opportunity for granted. He had found the perfect way to get us back on track and motivate us to work even harder to realize our true potential as football players, just as Abbott had done.
Cameron is in his first year as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator with the LSU Tigers, and what he brings to Baton Rouge is what has been sorely missing so far under head coach Les Miles -- a QB teacher. Yes, this team still prides itself on toughness and elite-level defense, but in today's game, championship teams require a leader at the QB position and some explosive capabilities on offense. LSU has had some of the best defenses and special-teams units in the SEC for the last decade, and has regularly featured bruising rushing attacks and physical offensive lines. However, the Tigers have not had a QB to push the program to the next level -- a tier where only Alabama currently resides.
From his first day on campus in Baton Rouge, Cameron has challenged every limit QB Zach Mettenberger thought he had. The question for Mettenberger this offseason was whether he was willing to push his limits to become a high-level QB and ignite the Tigers' offensive potential. Over the first four weeks of the season, and heading into a critical conference game Saturday against Georgia, the answer seems to be yes.