Sunday, 29 January 2012 19:45

LSU's QB Mettenberger Has Great Potential

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lsu_tigersWith Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee moving on, the quarterback option will not be a popular part of the LSU playbook.

Zach Mettenberger, who has an NFL arm, Tigers fans will see LSU open up its offense. Everyone around Baton Rouge is excited about the potential of Metttenberger, who already has an NFL body (6-foot-5, 222 pounds, has arm strength, is a good decision-maker, can make tough throws and has good mechanics. He's not very mobile but he had a 25-yard run down to the 1 yard line in the Tigers' 52-3 victory over Ole Miss last season.

He does have a maturity issue, however.

Coach Les Miles and quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe are excited about the potential of Mettenberger and lets receiver prospects know about the new quarterback's skills when they are recruiting.

Mettenberger grew up on the Georgia campus and enrolled early in Athens as one of the top in the pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.. He redshirted as a freshman.

The following season, his career derailed after entering spring practice competing with Aaron Murray and Logan Gray for the starting job. He was arrested in March in a bar and was eventually dismissed from the Bulldogs' program. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.

He wanted to get his life and football career back on track and enrolled at Butler County Community College in Kansas for the 2010 season. He earned the starting job and threw for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns against just four interceptions in leading his team to a 11-1 record.

He was once again a highly sought prospect and he found a match with LSU with Jefferson and Lee entering their senior seasons. He enrolled in LSU last January.

Although Rueben Randle has passed up his senior season to enter the NFL draft, Russell Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. return at receiver and Kadron Boone is ready to emerge as a top receiver.

The running back depth returns and will be the envy of the nation, the offensive line will be strong again and the schedule is easier than last season's killer.

And, the Tigers defense again is deep in talent, physical and fast.

That defense, Metttenberger, easier schedule and running backs are the reasons the Tigers are a preseason No. 1 or 2 pick in the preseason polls.

Simply put, Mettenberger is surrounded with talent which makes his job a lot easier.

He saw action in only five games last season and only threw passes against Northwestern State, going 8-of-11 and passing for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Mettenberger will be a junior this season and will have two seasons remaining at LSU and he should be a first-round draft choice when his LSU career is over.

LSU fans are still talking about coach Les Miles play-calling in the Tigers' BCS championship game 21-0 loss to Alabama.

Former LSU tight end Deangelo Peterson was discussing the game plan for the media after a Senior Bowl practice in Mobile. Peterson said he can outrun the Tide linebackers and his quarterback should have taken advantage of that.

"The play-calling bothered the whole offense," said Peterson, who prepped at Desire Street Academy in New Orleans. "We felt like we had a good game plan that would work, that would help us do things, and I feel like the coaches didn't use the game plan. They were doing stuff that we never did all year.

"The game plan was to spread the ball out, get ball to me, get the ball to Rueben (Randle), let Russell (Shepard) run the ball every now and then, give the ball to our running backs. In that game, Russell played like two plays, Rueben had one ball. They went away from the game plan. If they had gone to the game plan and given the playmakers the ball, they would have done something with the ball."

Peterson, 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, is the No. 6 tight end in the nation among draft eligibles.

He has impressed Fox Sports' Charles Davis with his blocking and receiving skills this week.

"I actually saw him block someone who's probably in the top 10 of the draft," said Davis. "'I'm not going to use any names, but I thought he did a real nice job in some of the blocking drills. That's a big deal. He's got hands, he's got athletic ability to move and we'll see how that continues to progress."

Former Tigers guard Will Blackwell and strong safety Brandon Taylor were also in the Senior Bowl. National Football Post rates Taylor as the second-best strong safety in draft ratings and Blackwell get a 22nd rating among the guards.

Saints GM Mickey Loomis and his scouting staff were in Mobile this week grading and interviewing players

by Ed Staton

Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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