There is a reason to root for Zach Mettenberger to succeed as LSU's starting quarterback, and it has nothing to do with liking LSU or that his last name is cool to say over and over again.
Mettenberger is a star in the making, playing for a team that hasn't seen many stars at the quarterback position over the past several years.
Traditionally known as one of the top college football programs in the nation, LSU fans expect greatness with this program. However, since that memorable 2007 season, which concluded with a 38-24 victory over Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game, fans have been beyond disappointed with the quarterback play in Baton Rouge, and rightfully so.
Both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee arrived in Baton Rouge with high hopes, and neither of them lived up to those expectations during their time at LSU. This past season, it would be hard to find anyone who would disagree with the fact that LSU would likely have won, or at least came close to winning, that BCS National Championship Game with a solid player at the quarterback position.
Now, however, with Jefferson and Lee both graduated, in comes Mettenberger, and in return, in comes new hope for both this team and the faithful fanbase.
LSU coach Les Miles has been vocal about the fact that he plans to air it out more this upcoming season with Mettenberger under center. For an experienced head coach who is known for his grind-it-out philosophy on offense, that goes to show how much confidence Miles has in Mettenberger.
So why does Miles have so much confidence in his first-year quarterback, and does he have what it takes to lead the Tigers to a BCS title?
For starters, Mettenberger has an exceptional arm and the ability to throw the ball deep with pinpoint accuracy. With a bevy of talented receivers on LSU's roster, including Russell Shepard and Odell Beckham, Jr., the Tigers certainly have the parts in place to put together quite a passing game, if the offensive play calling allows them to do so.
Another factor why Mettenberger has what it takes to keep the Tigers in the BCS title hunt is because he simply gets it. He knows LSU is traditionally known as a run-first team, and he understands how big of an advantage it is for him to have the best backfield in college football at his side, not to mention a defense that could feature up to five first-round draft picks in 2013. For the most part, fans should expect this kid to play within his limits, but knowing he has the ability to air it out successfully should make those fans feel awfully good about the Tigers' chances in 2012.
Jarrett Lee had the ability to succeed , but he lacked composure in big games. Jordan Jefferson had the confidence and composure, but he didn't have the skill set to air it out and successfully lead his team back whenever facing an uphill battle.
Mettenberger has yet to prove whether he has that composure to lead the Tigers to a BCS title, but the skill set is certainly there. Entering his first season as a starting college football quarterback, he has said all the right things and he has handled himself the right way, and until he takes his first snap as LSU's starting quarterback, that is all that Miles and the LSU coaching staff can ask of him.