LSU soaks up Media Day

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

BATON ROUGE (AP) – The two most publicized LSU football players sat in opposite corners of LSU’s Indoor Practice Facility during Media Day interviews Tuesday afternoon.

On one end sat the famed “Honey Badger” – Tyrann Mathieu, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore defensive back last season but who hasn’t been available for interviews nine months.

On the other end sat junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who has been the most frequently interviewed Tiger in recent months even though he has yet to start a game.

The players most closely tied to LSU’s prospects this season were the most popular targets for reporters, though Mathieu received more consistent attention – because no one knows when he might be available again – than Mettenberger, who has been consistently available and figures to continue to be.

Less than 15 minutes into the interview session, as waves of reporters continued to approach Mathieu, Mettenberger was sitting all by himself in a rare break from media scrutiny for LSU’s new starting quarterback.

When asked if he ever imagined he’d find himself all alone in this setting, Mettenberger cracked, “I hoped,” before turning thoughtful.

“I feel like sometimes I get a little too much attention for a guy who hasn’t even started a game in his career,” Mettenberger said. “I think this team needs more attention than just one man.”

Which leads back to Mathieu, who would have done a whole team’s worth of interviews by now if coach Les Miles hadn’t limited access.

“I think lot of guys on this team deserve the spotlight,” Mathieu said. “I don’t have to have it all the time. I’m fine with that.”

Local and national reporters have been rebuffed in attempts to interview Mathieu during the summer before Miles lifted the ban at least for Media Day, at which all players and coaches are traditionally available for the dozens of statewide reporters who descend on LSU’s campus to preview the upcoming season.

When asked why he hadn’t been available in so long, Mathieu said, “I’m not sure. I just go with what coach wants to do. I agree with him. I think he’s doing a great job. I respect whatever coach decides.”

Mathieu was comfortable, as he usually is with reporters, and smiled a lot, but he mostly offered brief, innocuous comments that bore little resemblance to the barrage of spirited tweets he often offers to the world.

He said being on Twitter is “pretty fun,” but “I have to watch what I say and not be so direct with it.”

Mettenberger has no such concern because he doesn’t have a Twitter account.

Mettenberger was one of three players that Miles chose to represent LSU at the Southeastern Conference Media Days last month; Mathieu wasn’t.

The Tigers are naturally eager to focus on the season opener against North Texas on Sept. 1 in Tiger Stadium and spend less time – preferably none – answering questions about the 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game after the No. 1-ranked Tigers had put together a school-record 13-0 regular season last year.