Cam Cameron already has the first win of 2015 behind him.
At a hastily called news conference after Friday’s practice, LSU’s offensive coordinator talked openly and frankly about his recent diagnosis with prostate cancer and his determination to press ahead full speed with the season that starts only a week from now.
Paul Dietzel once said you can learn more character on the 2-yard line than anywhere else in life.
Cameron was the embodiment of that.
“Who called this press conference?” Cameron asked jokingly as he entered the LSU team room before a throng of reporters and cameramen.
His good spirits and strong voice clearly on display, Cameron stressed over and over again that he is healthy enough to handle the stresses and duties of his third season as LSU’s play caller.
“We’re good,” he said. “We’re ready to roll. All our goals are intact.”
Of course, for this day, football goals were secondary.
The importance is the hopeful knowledge that Cam Cameron — the father, husband and friend, not the football coach — is apparently successfully beating the Big C. Again.
This isn’t Cameron’s first time down this road. He was diagnosed with melanoma when he was 28 and an assistant coach at Michigan. He said Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, Les Miles’ mentor, saved his life, presumably by getting him to get his skin cancer checked out.
The experience left him a changed man and perhaps better prepared to deal with this latest scare.
“Obviously,” Cameron said, “I enjoy every day I’m here.”
Miles, who embraced Cameron as his longtime friend left the room, bound thank goodness for the film room and not the doctor’s office, said the idea behind the news conference was to keep any misinformation from getting out about Cameron’s condition.
Cameron said his diagnosis and treatment were weeks behind him, so the idea that some rumors would leak out was a growing possibility, even though LSU’s players were asked not to speak of it. That LSU kept the lid on Cameron’s health situation this long is remarkable, even for a program that keeps so many topics so well buttoned down.
“We’ve really respected the rights of Coach Cameron in every way,” Miles said.
Now that the news is out, speculation naturally turns to the football aspect of Cameron’s condition.
This isn’t LSU’s first time down this road. In remarkably similar circumstances, LSU went through this just before the 2011 season when Steve Kragthorpe had to relinquish his offensive coordinator duties because he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Miles did right by Kragthorpe by keeping him on the staff, where he currently serves as LSU’s football chief of staff, while offensive line coach Greg Studrawa called the plays that helped put the Tigers on the path for a trip to the BCS national championship game.
This situation, fortunately for LSU, will not be like that as long as Cameron can indeed continue his coaching duties as everyone said he will.
“This is much less disruptive in every way,” Miles said. “This is a guy who’s fully involved in what we’re doing day to day.”
And so they go on, as Cameron said, “100 percent locked, loaded and ready to go.”
As he left, someone jokingly asked him to comment on LSU’s quarterback situation.
Cameron chuckled to himself, either because he has the luxury of focusing his attention on that issue again or because he knows there are things in life that are so much more important.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.