Tag:Zach Mettenberger
Posted on: March 4, 2011 2:07 pm

Les Miles keeping an open mind with his QBs

Posted by Tom Fornelli

LSU will begin its spring practice a week from today, and the position everyone will be looking at is the quarterback position where Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee and newcomer Zach Mettenberger will be competing for the starting job. As for which one has the edge, according to head coach Les Miles, none of them do. Which is why the mad scientist will retreat to his lab, mix some concoctions together, and see what he can blow up.

“We’re going to give (Lee and Mettenberger) the opportunity to do the things that they do and give Jordan Jefferson the opportunity to do the things that he does -- and make us better,” Miles said on Thursday.

“I don’t know that we’ll be in a two-quarterback system, but we’re going to let those guys that might naturally throw, throw, and we’re going to let those guys that might naturally have athletic ability and movement to do those things that they do. So, the competition will be a fair one.”

I think it's obvious that the obvious thrower Miles refers to is Mettenberger, and the natural athletic ability would belong to Jefferson. Because, let's be honest, if Jefferson's natural ability is to throw the football, then he sure had a funny way of showing it throughout most of 2010. That being said, Jefferson does have a bit of an edge over Mettenberger with his experience, as does Jarrett Lee.  It's just that most of the experience Jefferson and Lee have involves turning the ball over.

Still, if Jefferson can come into camp and perform the way he did against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, then I don't think he has much to worry about. Jefferson completed 10-of-19 passes for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns in LSU's win. He also ran for an additional 67 yards and another score. More importantly, he only turned the ball over once. If he can perform that way this spring, then the starting job should be his.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:36 pm

Starting QB position 'open' at LSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Since their team won the title in 2007, LSU fans have made a hobby of criticizing the Tigers' offense, quarterback and coordinators. After three years of falling behind Alabama and Auburn in the SEC West, many believe 2011 will be Les Miles ' best opportunity to return to the SEC Championship Game.  With such high expectations, a lot of the focus this spring will be on LSU's offense and new coordinator Steve Kragthorpe .

Kragthorpe was hired on Jan. 20 to replace oft-criticized offensive coordinator Gary Crowton . His biggest question to answer leading up to the 2011 season will be sorting out the depth chart at the quarterback position. Highly-touted junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger will be eligible to participate in spring drills and enter the 2011 season as a sophomore. The former Georgia commit will be competing for snaps alongside seniors Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee .  According to Kragthorpe, the position is open .

“The exciting thing about all three of them is they are very competitive,” Kragthorpe said. “They know, like all the players know, that every position is open.

“There are no incumbents.”

Asked if one quarterback or another might have talents that lend themselves better to his offense, Kragthorpe replied: “My favorite quarterback is the guy who leads the team down and scores touchdowns. His productivity and consistency levels have to be extremely high.

“A lot of times people don’t see the productivity of the quarterback. It may be a run check when we’re handing the ball to the running back and it may be a 20-yard touchdown run, but it’s because the quarterback chose the right running play out of the menu we gave him at the line of scrimmage.”
Despite incessant criticism from fans and occasional benchings, Jordan Jefferson finished the season as LSU's starter. He did leave a good lasting memory, tossing three touchdown passes and running for another in LSU's 41-24 victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Jarrett Lee never showed quite enough consistency to completely replace Jefferson at any time during the season, and Mettenberger has yet to prove anything at an FBS level.

So with a stable of question marks, it seems like opening the starting job to competition isn't just Kragthorpe's best move -- it is his only move.

Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 12:54 pm

Kragthorpe's hire a bad sign for Jefferson?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Jordan Jefferson has been a polarizing figure for LSU fans during his three year career in Baton Rouge.  The Tigers offense has ranked near the bottom of the conference for the last two seasons, both with Jefferson at least taking a good portion of the snaps.  In 2010, Jefferson found himself sitting series' out while Jarrett Lee took more snaps near the middle of the season.  But Jefferson did finish strong, particularly his four touchdown performance against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

But with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton run off to Maryland, head coach Les Miles has decided to bring in Steve Kragthorpe, formerly with Louisville and Tulsa.  Additionally, the Tigers will have touted junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger.  The former Georgia recruit will enter LSU with high expectations from a fan base that has become restless with an offense that has struggled and, some would say, cost them a shot at the SEC Championship.  

Kragthorpe will likely open competition between Jefferson and Mettenberger, perhaps even choosing to use both.  Traditionally, Kragthorpe has been known to run a pro-style offense.  Glenn Guilbeau, of the Shreveport Times, suggests that this will be an advantage for Mettenberger - a drop back, pro style quarterback.  

Mettenberger is certainly a talented quarterback with a lot of potential, his 6-5 230 pound frame is comparable to Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.  But despite the advantages of his style matching Kragthorpe's system, Jefferson should have a fair shot at the starting job.  Jefferson may have thrown 10 interceptions and only 7 touchdowns in 2010, but he did lead the Tigers to an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl victory.  With all the talent returning, LSU will likely be a preseason favorite in the SEC.  There is no reason to jump the gun benching Jefferson, though if he starts throwing interceptions early Tiger fans will be calling for Mettenberger.  They won't do so quietly either, LSU fans don't know "quiet."
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:08 pm

Could Zach Mettenberger take LSU over the hump?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's an argument to be made -- and you don't even have to break a sweat to make it -- that no single position in the SEC has had a greater negative impact over the past two seasons than quarterback at LSU .

In 2009, under new defensive coordinator John Chavis , the Bayou Bengals finished a strong 26th in the country in total defense and allowed the third-fewest points in the SEC; unfortunately, Jordan Jefferson finished eighth in the league in passing yards per-game and took enough sacks to place LSU 103rd in that category, and LSU lost four games in which their opponents scored 13, 24, 25, and 19 points, respectively. Chavis's unit has been even better in 2010, finishing eighth in the FBS in total D and ninth in scoring defense . It's a good thing, too; with Jefferson and Jarrett Lee combining for a dead-last finish in the SEC in passing and a next-to-last finish in QB rating, the Tigers managed to win games with scoring totals of 20, 16, and 24 points. The Tigers also lost when they scored only 17 points against Auburn's eminently flammable defense. It's fair to say that with competent-to-good quarterbacking, LSU is looking at at least back-to-back BCS bowl appearances, possibly an SEC title one year or the other, maybe even another national title game berth.

Which is why that even amongst the coaching hiring-and-firing-and-retiring mania, the news this week that JUCO quarterback Zach Mettenberger has elected to play for Les Miles and Co. shouldn't fly under the radar. Mettenberger was a consensus four-star recruit coming out of Watkinsville, Ga., and proved his bona fides as one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in his class by battling Aaron Murray tooth-and-nail for first the Georgia backup quarterback's job in spring 2009 and then the starter's position this past spring. After being booted from the Bulldog roster (more on this in a moment), he landed at Butler County (Kan.) Community College and went 176-of-299 for 2,678 yards this fall with an impressive 32-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Mettenberger will arrive at LSU with more than a little baggage, earning his ticket out of Athens by pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery following an incident at a Remerton (Ga.) bar, as well as a host of other minor offenses. But time and a JUCO stint often heals all wounds in the SEC -- just ask Cam Newton -- and at 6'5", 250 pounds, with Mettenberger's pro-grade arm, he'll arrive at Baton Rouge with a real chance at winning the starting job as soon as next season. Mettenberger cited Miles's immediate interest as one reason he chose the Tigers over Alabama, Arkansas, and others; that LSU pursued him as fervently as they did should say something about confident they are in his potential to start from Day 1.

Even if Mettenberger has to wait one season for his turn, both Jefferson and Lee are seniors. He'll get his shot eventually, and that's reason enough for the SEC to worry; given Murray's stunning first year at Georgia, Mettenberger's huge year at Butler, and his recruiting profile, the odds are very good that Mettenberger will be a quality SEC starter, and pairing a quality SEC starter at QB with Chavis's defense (not to mention the wealth of talent across the rest of the offensive board) could easily put LSU back on top of the SEC West.

In short, LSU's biggest Achilles heel these past two seasons may have been healed. Given how good they've been anyway, Mettenberger's commitment could prove to be a turning point -- not only for the Tigers, but for the entire SEC West. And if you don't think one JUCO quarterback can have that kind of impact, we'd ask you to take it up with Mr. Newton.

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