LSU Football: Who Will Be the Tigers' Quarterback Next Year?

Cane MathesonContributor IJanuary 28, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you hold your ear in the direction of Baton Rouge, you may still be able to hear the faint sound of applause from Tigers fans as they celebrate the departure of the incredibly-disappointing quarterback duo of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.

The combination did just enough to get fans excited each season, but then quickly found ways to take the wind out of Tigers fans’ sails time and time again.

This year brings new hope to the banks of the Mississippi river in the form of junior-college standout Zach Mettenberger.  Once giving Georgia fans a glimmer of hope, Mettenberger transferred to Butler County Community College where he dominated the JUCO ranks and found his way onto the LSU roster.

The 2011 LSU spring game gave fans a glimpse of the talent that he brings to the field, when he continued to find Tigers wide receiver Kadron Boone. This included a 60-yard bomb that demonstrated Mettenberger’s ability to throw the deep ball with accuracy and touch.

LSU head coach Les Miles has already vowed to throw the ball more in 2012 after a dismal offensive performance in the BCS National Championship game.

Offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe is known for his pass-first offense. It is the hope of every Tigers fan that they give Mettenberger opportunities to go downfield and compliment the LSU running game that is second to none.

Mettenberger was thought initially to have competition next season when the Tigers had a verbal commitment from the top high school quarterback in the nation, Gunner Kiel. However, the Indiana standout decided to stay closer to home and go to Notre Dame, leaving Mettenberger as the favorite for the starting job in 2012.

Behind him is the younger brother of San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers, Stephen.  Rivers is 6’6”, 215 lbs, has a strong arm and incredible accuracy. He seems to do his best work when he’s on the move or when plays break down.

Rivers’ biggest problem will be making an adjustment from the high school game to the elite defenses of the SEC.  He’ll have to make better decisions and not force throws downfield when they are not open.

Zach Mettenberger’s arrival into the LSU starting lineup will bring the Tigers to a new level of elite.  They have been a top team defensively, but their passing offense has been ranked in the bottom half of the FBS. 

Complementing their defense and running game with a capable passing game will make the Tigers the odds-on favorite to return to the BCS title game in 2012.