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LSU Football 2012: Les Miles Must Get Backup Stephen Rivers Ready to Play

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers sits on the ground after being tackled during the game against the North Texas Mean Green at Tiger Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterSeptember 2, 2012

After a 41-14 victory over North Texas, Les Miles and his LSU Bayou Bengals have one big area to work on: getting their backup quarterbacks ready for action. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger took a big shot against the Mean Green and backup Stephen Rivers had to step in for a series. For a second, the Tigers' world was in disarray.

While everyone was looking for LSU's big debut with the high-powered Zach Mettenberger offense, they neglected to look at the backup plan for Louisiana State. Stephen Rivers, little brother of Philip Rivers, is the No. 2; and judging from the play-calling, the coaches are not ready to give him the reins. Job one for the LSU staff should be getting its next quarterback ready to play.

If the first weekend of college football has taught us anything, it is that backups can be forced into action at any moment. With the new helmet rule it can be for just a play, or with an injury, it can be for a series, a half or more. The next man has to be ready to play, and for LSU, Rivers has still not gained the coaches' confidence.

LSU has to prep for Washington, part of that prep should be getting Rivers, and third quarterback Rob Bolden, involved in the preparation. They have to know about blitz packages, proper adjustments and they have to be viable options in the passing game. The backup coming in and simply handing off play after play is simply asking for an eight-man front.

Les Miles has a team capable of winning a title. After a year of running a two-quarterback system, the coach needs to make sure he at least has a second quarterback ready to run the show.

Unlike Jordan Jefferson, Zach Mettenberger is not going to escape the pocket and make something happen. A hit like tonight, from an SEC defender, could send the strong-armed quarterback out for more than a series; and the Bayou Bengals need to be prepared for the worst.

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