Following his final performance of the 2012 regular season, LSU QB Zach Mettenberger is showing signs of a much improved 2013 season. So good, in fact, that he'll be even better than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
How could the LSU junior end up being better than Johnny Football you ask? Here's how:
1. Mettenberger has consistently gotten better
In the first half of the season, Mettenberger played more of a game-manager role for LSU, taking care of the football while tossing a TD or two with a range of 18-to-26 passing attempts per game.
Then, as the Tigers began to throw the ball more, Mettenberger started coming into his own as his passing attempts began to increase in the range of 25-to-37 per game.
His performances started having an impact on his team's outcomes and he relished the moment.
Looking at his last four games, Mettenberger took on a bigger role at QB, throwing close to 300 yards in each of those games.
His best performance, statistically, came against Alabama and its top-ranked defense. Mettenberger threw for 298 yards and a TD against the Crimson Tide, finishing the game with a passer rating of 149.5.
The junior finished that outing with yet another impressive game against Mississippi State, throwing for 273 yards and two TDs. Mettenberger posted a 161.8 passer rating in that contest.
In a close win over Ole Miss, Mettenberger threw two INTs in one of his worst games this season. However, it was Mettenberger who led the game-winning drive that prevented an upset.
2. Manziel won't get better next season
With help from his head coach—Kevin Sumlin—and the spread offense, Manziel has enjoyed success he probably never even dreamed of at the start of the season.
The freshman has been equally dangerous with his arm and his legs in Sumlin's offense, passing for 3,047 yards and 21 TDs, while rushing for 1,114 yards and 17 TDs.
While it may seem likely that the sky is the limit for the young man, there's reason to believe he won't match his success in 2012. That reason is because he has a role as a system QB.
With the spread offense out in the open in the SEC, teams will begin preparing to defend the offense next season, especially considering the success that Manziel and Texas A&M have enjoyed in 2012.
Teams like Florida, LSU and Alabama aren't going to allow Manziel to chalk up over 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing like he did this season.
Now that Manziel is no secret, defenses will be better prepared for him when the 2013 season begins.
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