In a tongue and cheek exchange with the media Tuesday morning, LSU head football coach Les Miles said he "would be forthcoming" concerning the playing status of junior wide receiver Russell Shepard.
Then, within the next breath Miles quipped, "Or I'll be honestly deceptive." Shepard's fate in a reported NCAA housing compliance issue is still undecided. In his most recent interview, Shepard communicated great uncertainty, saying he wasn't sure if he would play in the season opener against Oregon or not.
There's no doubt the 7th year head coach has gone into serious information control mode, closing practices to the media a week earlier than initially scheduled.
"We get to a point, quite frankly, where we don't want to elaborate on our condition, our health," Miles said. "Many times you guys come in with just one, general specific, which is to list the injuries. Well, that's not what I want."
Media members never see much of practice anyway. Typically, only "The Big Cat Drill" and maybe a few individual drills, but 7-on-7 work and scrimmages have been off limits since basically 1999 at LSU.
"Now, when I get everybody healthy, we'll open the doors (makes whistling sound), and we'll let you all back in, our good friends," Miles added.
No one in that room is held his breath. But, there was some good information shared at the gathering. Miles didn't hold back when praising true freshmen wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
"Those are guys who are going to play in games right away," Miles stated.
With juniors Reuben Randle and Shepard being the most veteran receivers of the bunch, Miles believes Landry and Beckham will play not only because of their talents, but also "out of necessity."
"They're competitive mentally and they're competitive physically. And, they have skills. They won't play like freshman. They'll play very competitively and physically. Look for big plays out of them," Miles explained.
The coach also shared that he's challenged junior center PJ Lonergan.
"This is what I told him today. I told him he's got a chance to be one of the best players on our team. And, he's got a chance to be a great center before he's done here. But, that would have to be something that he would want to do. But, when I correct him, I correct him with that in mind," said Miles.
When asked about the players hitting the mid-August wall, Miles said "we've discounted those things." The coach conceded many of the Tigers are likely a bit tired, beat up and their enthusiasm could be waning a tad. But, Miles said it's experiences like those that will make LSU better for last-second battles in the fourth quarter.
Copyright 2011 WAFB. All Rights Reserved.