Mettenberger Aims to be “Game Manager”
By Matthew Osborne
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Unlike many other quarterbacks, LSU's Zach Mettenberger would have no problem being labeled as a "game manager".
In this era of college football, there is no question that quarterback is the most important position on the field.
For proof, just ask the LSU Tigers, who were arguably a quarterback away from winning their third BCS national championship in the past decade last season.
Although LSU ran through the regular season unscathed and reaching the national title game as the lone undefeated team in the nation, the Tigers finished the season ranked just 106th in the FBS in passing offense. With seniors Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson alternating turns as the starting quarterback, the LSU offense failed to find a consistent signal caller to lead the troops, leading to a lack of continuity on offense.
A quarterback controversy is not the cards for the 2012 season, however, as junior signal caller, and former Georgia Bulldog, Zach Mettenberger is set to take over the reins under center this fall.
Mettenberger served in the role of the third-string quarterback in LSU’s run to the title game last season, but says that he used his time on the sideline to better prepare himself for his opportunity this season.
“I learned a lot last year, and hopefully I can take some of the things I learned last year and use them this year,” Mettenberger said on Wednesday afternoon. “Definitely, being third string and knowing that you’re not going to get a lot of reps in practice and that you won’t play on Saturdays unless something happens, being the starter is something I’ve been looking forward to all of my life, and I’m just trying to give it my all every day.”
Poised to lead a team which ranked second in the nation in total defense last season, Mettenberger realizes that he will not be required to carry the load for the team this fall.
Although most quarterbacks tend to shy away from the term “game manager”, Mettenberger has no problem accepting that as his role for the upcoming season.
“I just need to go out and be a game manager. I need to make plays when they are presented to me and not force anything. If I do that, I’ll have a great year.”
Many fans aren’t sure what they should expect out of Mettenberger in 2012. While he was a highly-ranked prospect in the class of 2009, he attempted only 11 passes last season, with all of those coming against Northwestern State.
Mettenberger will be forced to win over the adulation of the LSU fan base, but he appears to have already won over many of his teammates.
“I have a lot of confidence and high expectations for Zach,” safety Eric Reid said. “His accuracy is great. He has great accuracy of the ball. It’s frustrating as a defensive back, but it’s great for our offense.”
One of Mettenberger’s primary targets this season, WR Odell Beckham, Jr., agrees with Reid’s assessment.
“You can just see it in his eyes. He’s ready,” said Beckham. “He has a phenomenal arm, and he’s going to lead us to a lot of victories. He’s got one of the strongest arms I’ve ever seen. We’ll be able to go four wide, five wide, and just throw the ball around.”
The term “game manager” is generally thought to be used for quarterbacks that lack elite-level talent.
In Mettenberger’s case, however, the label more adeptly refers to the supreme amount of talent which LSU has at their disposal.
Being called a “game manager” isn’t necessarily the highest praise you can bestow upon a quarterback, but if Mettenberger succeeds at being a quality game manager this fall, LSU will almost certainly be in the mix for the national title once again.