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LSU shakes up offensive staff, hires Cam Cameron as coordinator

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The speculation that Cam Cameron would join Les Miles‘ coaching staff at LSU began quietly building two weekends ago and reached a rolling boil by the end of last week.

One week later, and after most of the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed on the contract, the speculation officially and finally came to fruition.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Miles introduced Cameron, his long-time friend and coaching contemporary, as his new offensive coordinator.  In addition to coordinator duties, Cameron will also serve as LSU’s quarterbacks coach.

Cameron’s coaching credentials are extensive.  Collegiately, Cameron spent 1997-2001 as Indiana’s head coach as well as a nine-year stint (1985-1993) as an offensive assistant (quarterbacks, wide receivers) at Michigan.  For seven of those seasons with the Wolverines, Miles was on the same Bo Schembechler-led coaching staff.

Especially of late, though, Cameron’s been more well-known for his coaching work at the NFL level.

The past two decades, he has served as the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins (1994-96); offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers (2002-06); head coach for the Miami Dolphins for a single one-win season in 2007; and the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

Following Week 14 of the 2012 NFL season, Cameron was dismissed by the Ravens.

Greg Studwara had spent the past two seasons as Miles’ coordinator, but will remain on staff and retain the title of offensive line coach that he’s held for the past six seasons.  Steve Kragthorpe, who was hired as coordinator in January of 2011 but was forced to give up those duties after being diagnosed with Parkinson‘s, will step aside as quarterbacks coach and move to an administrative position within the football program.

The fact that Miles decided to shake up his offensive coaching staff is far from surprising as such a move has been a long time coming — especially when viewed in the prism of a woeful passing “attack.”

The Tigers were 106th in passing in 2011 (152.5 yards per game) with the anemic combination of Jordan Jefferson/Jarrett Lee pulling the trigger, although that standing improved slightly to 92nd (200.5 ypg) with Zach Mettenberger under center in 2012.  Scoring, though, took a precipitous drop, going from 17th (35.7 points per game) in Studwara’s first season as coordinator to 58th (29.8 ppg).

Will Cameron be the man to pull the Tigers out of their offensive doldrums?  That’s a question without an answer at the moment, although Miles had no choice but to shake things up on that side of the ball.

Cal reportedly hires former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter to head defense

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 03: Head coach Tim DeRuyter of the Fresno State Bulldogs watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Fresno State 43-10.  (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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California will hire former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter to serve as its defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports out Monday.

DeRuyter, of course, was the Bulldogs’ head coach through mid-October, where he was let go after starting with a 1-7 record. Prior to that, he led Fresno State to the 2013 Mountain West championship and shares of the MW West Division crown in 2012 and ’14. (And then Derek Carr graduated.)

A longtime defensive coordinator, DeRuyter previously served in that same post at Ohio, Navy, Nevada, Air Force and Texas A&M.

Gorley writes DeRuyter will be asked to transition the Bears from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment, a task he’s successfully completed in the past. He would take over a defense that finished last season ranking 122nd in yards per play allowed and second-to-last in scoring.

 

Michigan football going to Rome this spring

ROME, ITALY - APRIL 06:  A view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum during the Way Of The Cross procession held by Pope Benedict XVI on Good Friday April 6, 2012 in Rome, Italy.  The traditional Catholic procession on Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Jesus Christ ahead of Sunday's Easter holiday. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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The NCAA is going to shut down the ability to take a football team off campus during spring break starting in August, so Jim Harbaugh is making sure his program gets one more trip squeezed in. This one is going to require a passport.

This April, Harbaugh is taking the Wolverines to Rome for a “week of education and spring drills.” This is a direct response to criticisms Michigan faced when moving spring football practices to Bradenton, Florida last spring, nestled right in ACC and SEC recruiting grounds. The practices at the home of AS Roma, an Italian soccer club. What’s different about this one is the trip will come at the end of the semester instead of over spring break. Harbaugh just found a loophole.

“We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience,” Harbaugh said in a released statement. “I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome.”

Last week, the NCAA’s Division 1 Council voted to ban off-campus trips over scheduled off days from the academic calendar. But because this trip is not taking place over a spring break, the trip can, in theory, be used every year.

Just think, if Michigan had just gone to Rome last year instead of Florida, perhaps the feathers from the ACC and SEC would not have been so ruffled.

Harbaugh in Rome. This should be fun to follow.

New MLS stadium in San Diego could have plenty of perks for San Diego State football

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: A general view of the San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs en route to Chiefs 37-27 win over the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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San Diego State is already locked in to continue playing games in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego through the 2020 season, which may be perfect timing. A move to build a brand new Major League Soccer stadium is projected to open its doors in 2020, and the plan is to have room for San Diego State to share the stadium as well.

As detailed by a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, FS Investors is an investment group that owns the rights to apply for a MLS franchise in San Diego. While still working out the finer details of their bid, but the company is reportedly planning to purchase the land containing Qualcomm Stadium, demolish the existing stadium and use that land to develop a new venue that could seat between 20,000 and 30,000 fans. At the same time, other land would be set aside in order to reserve for a potential NFL stadium in the event the city makes a bid to lure the National Football League back to the city after the Chargers packed up and left for Los Angeles.

The firm also hopes it can attract developers to add housing and commercial options that will target San Diego State students, and perhaps add to the environment around a soccer and college football stadium for a more enjoyable game day experience for both.

An application for an MLS franchise is due January 31 and the firm hopes to receive approval from City Council without having to rely on a public vote.

Report: USF working to extend lease with Raymond James Stadium

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  A general view during the fourth quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, every FBS program would have its own place to call home, but the reality is a number of schools must work out lease agreements to play home game sin NFL stadiums. USF is reportedly set to continue renting space in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the next six years.

According to a report from Tampa Bay Times, USF will not have to pay a rental fee and will just have to handle costs of operation on game day. In addition, USF will have to pay a ticket surcharge of eight percent off the sales of tickets, with a cap of $2.50 for each ticket sold. USF also has an opt-out clause if it desires.

Under the terms of the agreement between USF and the Tampa Sports Authority, USF must play at least six games in Raymond James Stadium each season. USF will play seven home games this upcoming season, including conference games against Cincinnati, Houston, Temple and Tulsa. Other home games will be played against Illinois, UMass and Stony Brook.

USF continues to evaluate long-term plans that could lead to the construction of an on-campus football facility, but for the next six years, it will call Raymond James Stadium home.