BOCA RATON — Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell always has something to say about one of three things: hip-hop, his beloved Miami Hurricanes and football.
And the former 2 Live Crew star loves talking college football. When coaching veteran Lane Kiffin was named Florida Atlantic’s head football coach in Dec. 2016, Campbell was quick to tweet his allegiance to FAU. He quickly became friends with the Owls coach, and invited the team down to Liberty City’s Charles Hadley Park last August. Kiffin and FAU will hit the road again this year during spring camp for a second practice in Liberty City on April 7.
In an exclusive, lengthy phone interview with The Post, Campbell discussed the current state of college football in Florida, and he began with the Lane Train in Boca Raton.
Campbell on the rise of FAU: “From what I’ve seen, the future looks real good for this team. The culture, the coaches … obviously Lane changed the culture along with the coaches. The strength coach (Wilson Love), I just love him. I learn so much from him being a high school coach — I talk to him all the time. I call (Love) up and see how he pushes the kids to the maximum. Football, when it’s on that level, everybody is good — it’s just a matter of the individual who’s pushing them. Do they really want to (work hard) for that coach?
“Obviously, those guys who have been just getting beat down for years turned their season around in one year because they bought into the program and bought into everything else that the coaches preached (to) them.”
Campbell on the state of Florida football: “It’s great because the best part about it, I always say, is there’s so many more opportunities for these kids to be able to go to college. I tell people all over the country, I tell my friend Snoop Dogg, I tell my friends in Texas and get into arguments all the time with (Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who played high school in Georgia and spent 2007-08 with the Florida Gators) about who’s got the best football players. I always remind him that Florida has the best players because we got the best football. I mean, it’s football all over the place and (it’s) good football!”
Campbell on jumping on the FAU bandwagon: “I went when (former FAU coach Charlie) Partridge was coaching! I always liked going out (to FAU). I’ve been going to FAU games for probably the last six years, have a good time … I just feel like it’s the best atmosphere for football.”
Campbell on predicting FAU’s success: “Everyone jumped on me last year when I said FAU is gonna win its conference, FAU is gonna win its bowl game. FAU has the best coaching staff of all the teams in the state of Florida.”
Campbell on the Hurricanes’ biggest need entering 2018: “One thing about me is that I call a spade a spade. I looked at Miami’s staff and I always say — and I’ll say it right now — we need an offensive coordinator. I love Miami.”
Miami had the fifth-best scoring offense in the ACC (29.1 points per game) and seventh-best total offense (403.4 yards per game) in 2017 under second-year offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Miami averaged 34.3 points (6th) and 425.9 yards (8th) in 2016.
Campbell on former Florida State and current Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher: “I said Jimbo Fisher has lost a little bit of spunk and he lost some good guys off his staff. When you looked at Lane’s staff at the time with him and (former Owls offensive coordinator Kendal Briles) and (wide receivers coach and Miami Northwestern star Gary “Flea” Harrell), I mean he had some hot coaches over there. So to see (Kiffin) win like that, that was a no brainer (putting Kiffin over Fisher).”
Campbell on the importance of recruiting from Florida: “You can recruit the nation, but you’re in the backyard of that area. (FAU recruiting heavily in-state) is something that happened because (former FAU coach Carl Pelini, who was 5-15 in 20 games with the Owls before resigning in Oct. 2013 amid alleged drug use) was like, ‘OK, I ain’t getting no kids from Dade or Broward County. What he did, it was just a matter of time before he got sent out (of) the room.”
Campbell will continue to have plenty of takes on FAU and the Sunshine State’s other collegiate teams as the spring and summer go on. When FAU begins its spring camp on March 20, look for Campbell and Kiffin to talk shop both on the field and on Twitter.