Medal of Honor Bowl
WHEN: Jan. 10, 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Johnson Hagood Stadium
When Cam Turner gazes across the field at the Medal of Honor Bowl on Jan. 10 at Johnson Hagood Stadium, he'll see a sideline stocked with Super Bowl winners and NFL Hall of Famers.
Head coach of the National Team is former Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey, who will also be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Working with the offensive line are Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure and Joe Jacoby, renowned as one of the Washington Redskins' "Hogs." Former NFL stars Ernie Mills and Charlie Brown will coach the receivers and running backs, and Hall of Fame defensive back Paul Krause will guide the secondary.
The 27-year-old Turner, meanwhile, will be working his first game as an offensive coordinator for coach Willie Jeffries' American Team. The former Citadel quarterback, now quarterbacks and receivers coach at Florida International, is well aware of the experience deficit he faces.
"It's exciting, but it's a challenge at the same time," said Turner, who played at The Citadel from 2006-09. "They have a lot of experience on their side, that's for sure. But it's a great opportunity for me to learn from guys like that."
With his coaching bloodlines, Turner seems destined for a head-coaching gig of his own one day. His uncle is Norv Turner, former head coach of NFL teams Washington, Oakland and San Diego, and currently offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. Cam Turner's father - and current boss - is Ron Turner, former head coach at San Jose State and Illinois and now the head coach at Florida International.
No wonder Cam Turner knew at an early age that he wanted to coach.
"From a young age, I was always out at practice all the time with my dad's teams," he said. "As a kid, you always have dreams of playing in the NFL and things like that. For me, coaching is the next best thing."
At The Citadel, Turner played quarterback and wide receiver for former coach Kevin Higgins. His claim to fame came in his junior year at Florida, when he both caught a touchdown pass and threw one against the Tim Tebow-led Gators.
After graduating from The Citadel, Turner worked on the Bulldogs' staff for one year, then went to work for the Minnesota Vikings, where he was assistant to former head coach Leslie Frazier. For the past two years, he's worked for his dad at Florida International in Miami.
"It's fun to work with my dad," he said. "Growing up, I was always in and out of his office. But now I get to work with him and really learn the ins and outs of everything. His offense was handed down from Bill Walsh and Don Coryell, so it's pretty neat working with him on a daily basis and learning that offense."
At the Medal of Honor Bowl, Turner will be coaching American Team quarterbacks Tyler Murphy of Boston College, Jake Waters of Kansas State, Terrance Broadway of Louisana Lafayette and Chris Bonner, an intriguing 6-7 prospect from Colorado State-Pueblo.
"You've got to keep it simple and basic," he said. "You only put in what you need and go from there."
Turner plans to do as much learning as he does teaching next week.
"It's an unbelievable experience being around guys like Coach Jeffries and Chan Gailey," he said. "Last year, I just tried to soak on everything I could from Coach Gailey, and they have so many great stories and so much to share."