Zach Mettenberger stepped on LSU’s campus looking for a second chance.
In 2013 he has the chance to lead the Tigers back to SEC glory, but it all starts with improving his game this spring.
After starting his career at Georgia, an arrest dropped him from the Bulldogs squad. Mettenberger then spent a season at Butler Community College before landing in Baton Rouge.
Returning to the SEC was a major step for this talented quarterback, but his first year as an outright starter was a major leap back from expectations. This spring he has to show a lot of growth if the Tigers want to return to championship level this fall.
This is the same quarterback that battled Aaron Murray for the starting job at Georgia four years ago. It is the same guy that was expected to be a dark-horse Heisman candidate heading into last season.
Instead, Mettenberger struggled in the first game against North Texas, and then hit a skid midseason that saw three straight games with less than 50 percent completions—the last contest completing just 37.9 percent.
It was a struggle at times to find consistency, and the expectations seemed to weigh heavily on the Bayou Bengals' starting signal-caller.
By seasons end Mettenberger was 207-of-352 for 2,609 passing yards. He also had 12 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. It was not a bad season, but it was a far cry from what was expected.
One stat that gets overlooked but impacted his game greatly was sacks. Mettenberger was brought down 32 times last year, and 15 of those came in the first six games.
LSU struggled to find consistency upfront offensively with injuries that plagued the offensive line early. The season finished with two freshmen playing consistently along the front.
Vadal Alexander finished the year as a starter and is one of the best linemen currently on roster.
Can Mettenberger challenge for a Heisman in 2013?
The offensive line issues should be fixed for Mettenberger, and that should lead to a strong spring for the rising senior.
This has to be a huge developmental spring for Mettenberger. He has a team that is loaded with talent and should challenge for the SEC this season. There were hiccups a year ago, but those issues should be gone.
Mettenberger is the key to LSU’s championship hopes. According to Scott Rabalais with the The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Mettenberger “would like to win an SEC title as a starter. The national championship of course is on his goal board as well, as is winning the Heisman Trophy.”
All of those things are achievable for Mettenberger at LSU with the road being paved this spring.