Georgia Bulldogs QB Race Is Down To Two Following Arrest Of Zach Mettenberger

Kimberley NashSenior Writer IMarch 8, 2010

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 28:  Backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I am sure you have heard about Georgia quarterback, Zach Mettenberger's recent arrest on alcohol-related charges. If not, here are the details as reported by Chris Low of ESPN:

"Mettenberger, a redshirt freshman, was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction and two counts of possession of false identification. The incident occurred at a local bar in Remerton, Ga., which is just outside Valdosta. Mettenberger was transported to the Lowndes County Jail. He posted bond and was released."

Mettenberger was considered one of three candidates for the starting quarterback job come September. At the very least, he was likely to be second on the depth chart and was all but guaranteed a shot at some considerable reps in the team opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. That all changes now following this infraction. 

The Georgia Athletic Association (GAA) policy, according to Georgia Bulldog beat writer David Hale , mandates at least a one-game suspension for all alcohol-related charges. However, that doesn't mean that coach Mark Richt and coach Mike Bobo won't inact their own punishment on the young signal-caller.

Since this is Mettenberger's first known infraction, I don't foresee him getting anything more than the one game, but, that one game would have been critical to his development and a nice tune-up for the back-to-back matchups with South Carolina and Arkansas in weeks two and three. 

Coach Bobo has already stated that he is not against using multiple quarterback's in a game and, it would make sense, in light of what has happened that they now have just as much of a need to evaluate Hutson Mason as they did Zach Mettenberger.

That said, how will this change the approach of the coaches in spring practice? Will Hutson Mason suddenly find himself taking more snaps or will the Dawgs remain comfortable with Logan Gray as Murray's backup? 

I know what some of you are thinking, it's just one game, what need is there for a depth chart reshuffle? Metts will serve his time and jump back into the swing of things, right? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a critical juncture for the Georgia program and coach Richt is trying to get his team moving in the right direction. He's not willing to let one issue become the seeds of more issues later. 

He can't be pleased that one of his potential starters is out making bad decisions before he's taken a meaningful snap.  If nothing else, it shows a flaw in Mettenberger's judgment as an individual that he was so careless.What's the biggest component to the success of a quarterback? His decision-making.

The University of Georgia is on spring break this week and, presumably, the coaches had some dialogue with their players about behaving themselves and staying out of the spotlight. What does it say to Mike Bobo about Mettenberger's maturity level that he was willing to go out and place himself in this situation despite the risks? Despite the likely warnings given? It shows a lack of good decision-making.

If Mettenberger is not yet ready to handle himself in the capacity of a competing quarterback, how will he handle the pressures of actually standing under center and being responsible for the execution of an offense? It's all related—believe it or not. 

Georgia has tried to tighten up the reigns on its players after 2008 yielded so many off the field infractions by players. In keeping with that ideology, Mark Richt is trying to set a tone for the season that shows that Georgia is back and ready to make a statement in the SEC East:

“It’s also a good time to prove to the coaches: Should you be in the lineup, should you be playing?” he (Richt) said. “Who is proving they’re going to be game ready?” (As reported by the AJC's Jeff Schultz, March 4, 2010)

One thing is definitely for certain, we will not see Metts in the first game of the season. A three-horse race is down to two, for now, and the lesson that the young quarterback has to learn could cost him his spot on the depth chart.