Quick Hitters: Les Miles

During his first interview of the fall, Les Miles talked about injuries, scholarship numbers, and more. TigerSportsDigest.com was on hand and has the latest.

Football season has arrived on the bayou.

After players reported to the West Campus apartments on Wednesday, LSU head coach Les Miles addressed the media for the first time this fall.

TigerSportsDigest.com was on hand to bring you the day’s quick hitters as the Tigers turn their focus to two-a-days.

·          - Wide receiver Russell Shepard became the talk of the month of July after questions involving NCAA compliance were raised about the Houston native’s off-campus living arrangements. Originally scheduled to participate at SEC Media Days in late July, Shepard was pulled in the 11th hour and replaced by senior lineman T-Bob Hebert. On Wednesday, Miles said Shepard would “absolutely” be a part of the team’s first practice on Thursday.

·          - The 2011 signing class gained some additional clarity on Wednesday when Miles confirmed that St. James athlete Alonzo Lewis, who is projected as a safety for the Tigers, would be enrolling in a junior college instead of LSU. Mickey Johnson’s status is still in limbo. While he has yet to be cleared by the NCAA, Miles said that good news could come by the end of the month.

·          - LSU’s current scholarship total sits at 85, the maximum number of scholarship slots allowed by the NCAA. If Johnson arrived before the end of August, he would either grayshirt or a current member of the team would lose his scholarship.

·          - After sitting out in the spring with an injured knee, left guard Josh Dworaczyk won’t go full speed with the team on Thursday. Miles said that the staff would “guide him through the schedule.” Hebert will step into the open guard spot in the meantime. When asked about Hebert’s potential at winning a starting job, Miles responded, “I think it’s pretty good. How fortunate we are to have a guy who can play center or guard and understands the calls and intellectually plays football very well.”

·           - Josh Williford is the other lineman not expected to be with the team on Thursday. Williford, a Dothan, Ala. native, recently suffered the loss of two family members in a 48-hour window. Miles said the sophomore guard would be given as much time away as needed.

·           - With a handful of starters ready to shed green no-contact jerseys, the injury watch list is noticeably shorter than the spring. Defensive end Sam Montgomery will go live for the first time since a season-ending knee injury in the Tennessee game last fall. Safety Brandon Taylor, whose season was cut short because of an severe foot injury in the Alabama game, will also be back to full speed. “It went faster and cleaner than we thought. His foot has no remnants of an issue,” Miles said.

·           - Miles confirmed that Chris Davenport would suit up with the offensive line this fall, a decision that hasn’t been revisited since the staff switched him over from the defensive line last spring.

·          - When asked about the return game, Miles singled out a few names. Tyrann Mathieu, Rueben Randle, and Mo Claiborne were mentioned as punt returners, with Claiborne and Ron Brooks pegged as the starters on kickoffs. The lone freshman Miles mentioned was West Monroe’s Paul Turner. “I want to see what he’s got out there,” Miles said.

·          - Speedster Jakhari Gore was later mentioned as a potential candidate for special teams, and Miles hopes to work the Miami native into the running back shuffle beginning this season. “We see Jakhari in the backfield set more than anything,” Miles said.

·          - Jarvis Landry is the lone freshman injured during summer workouts. After surgery on a stress fracture in his foot, Landry is expected to miss at least two weeks. Miles capped his time away at three weeks, meaning Landry will return to the wide receiver group before the season opener against Oregon.

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