Is Russell Shepard being hidden?
LSU’s freshman has Tigers fans’ mouths watering, but didn’t play in the opener at Washington. He played handful of snaps last week against Vanderbilt showing how good he can be and how young he is.
Operating in the Wildcat on LSU’s eighth offensive play, Shepard ran around left end for 13 yards. On the next play he caught an eight-yard pass from Jordan Jefferson, then immediately fumbled. Later, Shepard ran for eight yards on the option keeper.
“We’ve have to get him some more touches and some more experience,” Les Miles said. “The second time with the ball in his hands, he coughs it up. He didn’t understand how important it is to get the yards and go down. Going down is OK as long as you have the ball.”
Shepard has been compared to everyone from Tim Tebow to Percy Harvin. Miles still hasn’t been clear on how his prize eventually will be used. There is still time to tinker against Louisiana-Lafayette this week before the SEC schedule starts against Mississippi State.
So is Shepard being hidden? More like getting used to hot water. LSU ran only 48 plays against Washington so there were few opportunities for him to get in. Against Vandy, he had three touches for 29 yards which was a tease for those who can't wait for more.
“According to people I’ve talked to, his (off-field) abilities are Tebow-esque … On the field what he can do is similar to Percy Harvin,” said CBS network analyst Tim Brando.
CBS game day analyst Gary Danielson said it would be a mistake to throw Shepard in at quarterback for any legnth of time: “If Russell Shepard is the leader of this team, they are not going to be a good football team. If Florida would have hung it on Tebow, Florida would not have been good the first year either.”
CBS’ Spencer Tillman added this: “His talent is literally off the charts. This kid is more gifted than Vince Young was at this point in time.”
Shepard has some of those Tebow qualities, agreeing to a magazine cover shoot in high school but not without teammates. After committing to LSU in June 2008, he then began recruiting other players for the Tigers. One was five-star safety Craig Loston, a cousin.
This is probably not the week to be raising Terrelle Pryor’s name but Shepard has been compared favorably to Ohio State’s quarterback.
“I admire the way Tim Tebow handles himself off the field,” Shepard told the New Orleans Times Picayune . “I took a liking to that. He says, ‘God bless you,’ after every interview. He’s amazing … I want to be known like that.”
You can read more about Shepard here .• USC might have the best quarterback situation in the country if Matt Barkley doesn’t go on Saturday. It still has its most experienced quarterback on the bench. If Aaron Corp starts for USC against Washington, that puts the forgotten Mitch Mustain a tweaked ankle away from being under center. Mustain might the most talented No. 3 quarterback in the country. He was 8-0 as a freshman starter at Arkansas in 2006. Don't forget that Corp won the job coming out of spring.
• Loved this anecdote from the Michigan press box. Announcing Central Michigan’s upset win over Michigan State, the press box announcer at Michigan Stadium said, “No cheering in the press box, but we will make an exception right now.”
• Joe Paterno his team being ranked fifth in both polls: “Are we No. 5? I take the paper and go to the bathroom. I scan it. First, I see who died.”
• After two weeks, the Pac-10 has the best record (4-2) against the Big Six major conferences and Notre Dame. Not surprisingly, the Sun Belt has the worst mark (1-8). The MAC has played the most games against the major conferences, 14, and gone 2-12.
• If SMU beats Washington State this week it will be 3-0 for the first time since pre-death penalty days in 1984.
• Tulsa has allowed one defensive touchdown in its first two games. Get ready for that to change. The Golden Hurricane travel to Oklahoma.
• Just warning all those BCS lovers out there: Florida is 11th in the Sagarin Ratings. That’s not the worst of it. The Colley Matrix has Florida No. 35 and USC No. 13. Wes Colley’s top five – 1. Pittsburgh, 2. LSU, 3. Wisconsin, 4. Texas, 5. UCLA.
You shouldn’t have to be reminded that those are two of the six computer indexes used in the BCS standings.