Miles tackles topics before Thursday's practice

Published: Aug. 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2011 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "Ladies, how are you guys?" LSU head football coach Les Miles said with a smile, as he addressed a gathering of female reporters to the right of the room, "I'm not sure that sounds exactly right."

A funny "Milesism" got Wednesday's press conference going, and away we went. The coach who is entering his seventh season in Baton Rouge seemed loose, happy and excited about his team beginning fall camp on Thursday.

Miles quickly addressed some roster issues, saying former St. James High School star Alonzo Lewis will likely be sent to a junior college of some kind. He also added that freshman defensive tackle Mickey Johnson from St Paul's of Covington is still fighting to get through the NCAA Clearinghouse. LSU sophomore guard Josh Williford is dealing with some tough personal issues, as two deaths have been suffered on his dad's side of the family in the last 48 hours. Miles says those deaths resulted from a car accident and a health issue.

Miles continues to be positive about the status of junior wide receiver Russell Shepard, saying he will be at practice Thursday and has been "going like heck". Shepard reportedly is dealing with an NCAA compliance issue due to a housing arrangement, but Miles has repeatedly downplayed the situation and given all indications he will be ready to play against Oregon in the season opener.

When asked who the leaders were on this year's LSU team, Miles quickly identified Ryan Baker, Brandon Taylor, Mo Claiborne, Eric Reid and Sam Montgomery on the defensive side of the ball. The coach then said the Tigers will look to Jordan Jefferson on the offensive side. Miles was also very positive concerning Taylor and Montgomery, concerning the injuries they are recovering from. Miles says Taylor "is ready to roll" and adds Montgomery "could've played in the spring."

Incoming freshman Jarvis Landry, a star wide receiver from Lutcher High School, will likely be out "a couple of weeks" with a foot injury.

Miles seemed much more cautiously guarded when speaking about senior offensive lineman Josh Dworacyzk and his knee. Dworacyzk had the knee scoped in the spring and Miles says LSU 'might have to guide him" through the August schedule. If it's any consolation, the Tigers are very deep and experienced on that O-line.

Another veteran from that group, senior T-Bob Hebert was praised. Members of the media and others have noticed Hebert is as big and strong as ever. He's reportedly around 308 solid pounds, up from 280 in the spring. "He's looking for his last year, to be his best year," says Miles, "He's bigger, faster and stronger. And we're fortunate to have someone like him who can play both center and guard."

Members of the Franklinton High School football team have told WAFB sports that their former star quarterback Terrence Magee, is also looking like a piece of iron. Magee reportedly has been in Baton Rouge all summer, working hard in the weight room with LSU strength coach Tommy Moffit. When asked about the WAFB "2010 Warrick Dunn Award Winner" for the top high school football area, Miles praised Magee, saying he resembled a veteran. Miles also quickly brought up Odell Beckham Jr. and Landry as other freshman who may contribute immediately.

The coach continued to preach that sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and junior wide receiver Reuben Randle will likely return punts. Miles also believes junior cornerback Mo Claiborne and senior cornerback Ron Brooks are currently the choices to return kickoffs.

Miles also expressed concern about the south Louisiana heat, saying "it seems to be even hotter than usual." Miles and his staff will monitor that heat closely as practice begins and will be very careful none of the players are too overwhelmed. The early practices will not involve contact, but instead an emphasis on the two-minute drill offensively. It's one of the many areas senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson hopes to improve in.

It was hard to tell if he was joking, or actually surprised, but when asked about playing Towson State at home in 2012 Miles responded with "Oh really? We're playing them?"  Miles was emphatic he's happy the Tigers will have eight home games next season, as opposed to only six this year. Local businesses and our economy will agree with the coach 100%.

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