BATON ROUGE, La. -- When Tyrann Mathieu arrived in the LSU indoor facility for the Tigers' Media Day on Tuesday, he was followed for some 60 yards yards down the field by a gaggle of camera and recorder-toting men trailing him down the right hashmark of the indoor football field like a punt coverage team that had lost containment.
When the junior cornberback/punt return found his seat -- complete with an LSU backdrop set up just for him -- a member of the camera-and-mike gang had one pressing question for him.
"You miss us?"
LSU's Heisman Trophy finalist from a season ago had been put under wraps for the first five days of August camp. He has not been made available to the media at either SEC media days -- where he surely would have been a center of attention -- or at post-practice player interview gatherings.
The player with the loudest hair in the SEC -- his blonde fade/faux hawk has become a signature -- and one of the most active and, at times, quotable, Twitter accounts in college football had been effectively silenced since late July.
He was in good form in his return to the spotlight. Mathieu joked about his Twitter antics, embraced another chase at the Heisman Trophy and addressed criticism of his coverage skills that made him bristle in Twitter rants.
"The only reason I got a Twitter [account] is because of Morris [Claiborne]," said Mathieu, referring to his former teammate who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys. "That seems like a bad idea now."
Mathieu was joking. He said he has fun with Twitter, but, "I have to watch what I say, be less direct."
Asked if another Heisman candidacy is on his mind, he said, "Absolutely. It's on every player's mind who plays big-time college football." Asked about the media criticism of his coverage skills, he said with a smile, "I'd like to say I'm a pretty good cover guy."
He then added a part that's one part honest and one part a bit coached up.
"There's always something to work on in your game," He said. "I don't think anyone's perfect. But covering those guys, both inside and outside, is something I work on every day."
Bolden draws attention: At most team media days, the starting quarterback draws a throng of reporters asking questions about the upcoming season. That expectation doubles for a team ranked No. 1 -- especially for a team counting on improved quarterback play to reach its lofty aspirations.
But this is LSU, and starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger is old news.
Of course, Mettenberger handled plenty of publicity all his own, but it was nothing compared to the crush of cameras and recorders surrounding Penn State transfer Rob Bolden on Tuesday afternoon.
"It really is a dream come true. I never really even dreamed that I'd have a chance to come here after being up there," Bolden said in his first media availability since transferring. "Obviously I was looking to leave, and LSU popped right into the script. It was just like a movie."
The last-minute nature of Bolden's departure from Happy Valley, coupled with the Tigers' struggles at quarterback the past few seasons, combined to create a storm of intrigue around LSU's newest player.
For his part, Bolden said he embraces the new situation.
"A brand new start is exactly what I need," he said. "Being here with brand new people, new food, new weather -- everything. It's all great, and I'm just taking it in."
Bolden is no stranger to attention. Under Joe Paterno, he became the first true freshman to start a season opener in 100 years. But with the amount of work ahead of him and the small amount of time before the season starts, it doesn't seem likely the Orchard Lake, Mich., native will be contributing any time soon.
"He's got a long way to go. We've thrown in a bunch of stuff at the veterans -- as much as they can swallow … so we're not slowing down," said offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa. "Right now he's swimming … We've got to have him learn our system and get comfortable with the things we do, and then we'll branch out and decide what the package for a certain guy would be."
Said Bolden: "I've got a playbook ahead of me. Just being here for a few days and being throw out to the wolves -- that's how I'm learning right now."
Staying put: One train of thought is Bolden could start as a senior in the 2013 season if Mettenberger, also a junior, has a big season and leaves LSU early for the NFL.
Mettenberger seemed to shoot that idea down Tuesday.
"Probably not," he said when asked if he would entertain that idea. "I enjoy being a college student. I'm not ready to be a full-fledged adult."