Perhaps the hottest topic during LSU's fall camp has been the status of wide receiver Russell Shepard, the Tigers' co-leading returner in receptions, who recently found himself at the center of a "compliance issue" related to his off-campus housing.
Having skipped SEC Media Days due to the incident, Shepard spoke to the media yesterday (including CBSSports.com RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau) for the first time regarding the issue. "I could be suspended for the first game or more games," he said. "I don't know. It's out of my hands."
But in what must be music to the ears of Tigers fans desperate for one of their most explosive playmakers to take the field against Oregon, Shepard's head coach was much, much more confident regarding Shepard's eligiblity. How confident? This confident:
"There have been communications that would make it appear that it's not very, very serious," Miles said. "He's fine. No, he won't have to sit out."So -- as far as Miles is concerned -- there you have it. Shepard's good to go.
But it's difficult to take Miles completely at his word when the player himself still seems unsure. "You never really know," Shepard said when asked if the issue could cost him the season. "I don't think it will ever get that big. But the NCAA's job is to protect athletes as well as universities. They're going to do the best possible thing for college football."
That's exactly the right thing for Shepard to say, considering it's the NCAA who's holding his 2011 campaign in the balance. But you have to forgive Miles and the Tiger faithful for hoping that this once, the organization does the best possible thing for LSU football.
Also in LSU RapidReports: Many LSU fans have wanted to see strong-armed JUCO transfer (and former Georgia quarterback) Zach Mettenberger take over for incumbent Jordan Jefferson, but to this point Mettenberger hasn't even beaten out Jarrett Lee for the backup's role. But Mettenberger, for his part, is fine with that.
"That's reasonable," he said. "I'm behind two guys who've been here four years. I'm just looking to learn as much as I can from two guys who've really put in some time in the SEC. They're both really good. Both won a lot of games, and now I'm trying to learn as much as I can from them."