Zach Mettenberger Will Be LSU's Key Piece in 2013

By Matt Virnig


Zach Mettenberger, LSU Football
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that when the LSU Tigers take that field on Aug. 31 against TCU at Jerry’s Palace, all eyes will be on Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the revamped LSU offense.

Mettenberger comes into the 2013 season determined to put last season in the back burner after having a solid, yet inconsistent at times, 2012 season for the Bayou Bengals.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the former Georgia Bulldog quarterback when he arrived in Baton Rouge after transferring from Butler Community College in 2011. However, with all the hype came very little results for Mettenberger and the LSU offense last season.

Mettenberger, a fifth-year senior, passed for 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first year as a starter in Baton Rouge. He showed some signs of stardom against the nation’s top defense in Alabama and Mississippi State, putting up almost 300 passing yards in the two contests. But he also had his trials at times, throwing two interceptions in a victory over Ole Miss on the road in Oxford and throwing for 11-of-29 in a victory against Texas A&M in College Station. And not to mention that less than superb game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson on New Year’s Eve when he threw for 16-23, 120 yards, one touchdown and an inexcusable six sacks to the turf.

However, with this new season and new veteran offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in town brings LSU fans added hope up that the once highly-coveted Georgia high school legend and Tigers can break out in Mettenbergers’ final collegiate season in 2013.

After spending the last five seasons as the offensive playcaller with the reigning NFL champion Baltimore Ravens, Cameron reunites with his longtime friend Les Miles, and his mission will be to develop the talented but inconsistent Mettenberger in his quarterback-driven pro-style attack.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterback understands that everything on the offensive side of the ball will be riding on his shoulders. With LSU losing a school-record nine players, including eight on defense, in the 2013 draft, the Tigers offense might be relied upon going into games against defending champs Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida this season.

There’s no doubt after all the reconstruction on defense that LSU must witness this season, the only player that can explode onto the national scene for the Tigers is none other than Mettenberger.

He looks to be a vocal leader that’s more matured and better equipped in an offense that better suits him as a pocket passer.

For LSU to become successful moving the ball, Mettenberger must make better decisions on the field. Too many times last season, Mettenberger was exposed in the pocket under duress either by coughing up the ball, taking a sack or throwing interceptions to defenders.

Just by watching him last season, the senior has talent that hasn’t been tapped into. The job for offensive guru Cameron is getting Mettenberger more comfortable and confident in the pocket by getting the running backs, fullbacks and tight ends integrated in the LSU passing game and establish a vertical threat to showcase his quarterback’s lively arm like he did with Joe Flacco in Baltimore. But most importantly, Cameron must tutor Mettenberger to make better decisions and protect the football when the pocket collapses or where to go when the coverage is tight on receivers.

Because there might not be a more elite quarterback with more upside in college football than Mettenberger when he is making good decisions in the pocket, and if Mettenberger wants to be drafted in high in this upcoming NFL Draft, then it will be based on his performance this season wearing the purple and yellow.


Matt Virnig is a SEC Writer for, Follow him on Twitter @MatthewVirnig, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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