Is there a quarterback ready to shine at Florida or LSU?

I wouldn’t exactly call this a blazing insight on my part, but this Bruce Feldman mailbag, which addressed Florida’s chances this season and this post at Capstone Report about LSU’s Zach Mettenberger got me wondering which school is likely to be happier with its quarterback production in 2012.

Here’s what Feldman defines as success for the Gators’ QB situation in 2012:

The Gators don’t need their quarterback to be Andrew Luck to win the division, but they need significant improvement over what they had there since Tim Tebow left town. They need their QB to avoid turning the ball over, and consistently find open receivers and make accurate throws on time. Both were around 47 percent on completions last year. That needs to improve at least 10 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, somebody doesn’t think Mettenberger’s is destined for success against the SEC’s tough defenses, and that maybe his head coach knew that last year.

I have no doubt that Mettenberger will be good; programs like LSU get good quarterbacks. But if he were better than what they had, wouldn’t he have made an appearance in New Orleans a few months ago? It is proposterous [sic] to think a team would hold anything…ANYTHING…back when the crystal football is on the line.

When Alabama played Texas for the first of their National Championships in the last three years, it was well-documented that if something happened to Alabama’s starting QB Greg McElroy, Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s next option was to burn the redshirt off of AJ McCarron and put him in the game. In game 13 of a 13-game season.

And yet, last January, with the walls of LSU’s season finale burning down around them, Mettenberger stood on the sidelines, without so much as a sweatbead gathering on his forehead throughout the game.

He has never faced a 3rd and 16 on the road. He has never had to take a snap after throwing a pick the last time he touched the ball. He has never been drilled by an SEC linebacker. And he has never faced the complexity of a Nick Saban defense…the kind of complexity that still has Jarrett Lee in a fog.

My feeling going into the season is that Mettenberger has more support surrounding him than either of the two prospective Florida quarterbacks.  LSU has a real running game, which is something the Gators have lacked.  LSU isn’t breaking in a new offensive coordinator, either, while Florida is on its third one in three seasons.  And as much as an Alabama fan might sniff at Mett’s prospects against a Saban defense, it’s worth noting that LSU and ‘Bama split their two games last season with the very quarterbacks he derides.  Florida, however, couldn’t win a game last year that Brantley didn’t start.

But I also think that means Miles has the luxury of playing it close to the vest with his new quarterback.  That’s something Muschamp probably doesn’t share.  So the risk/reward ratio is bigger at Florida.  If the Gators do strike it rich, they’re likely to get a lot more production, because they’ll need it more.

All three quarterbacks were highly rated coming out of high school and all three come into this season with little relevant experience.  It’ll be interesting to see if any of them are ready to blossom.  Or in Mettenberger’s case, whether that’s even needed.

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “Is there a quarterback ready to shine at Florida or LSU?

  1. Jim from Duluth

    I have a funny feeling that Bama blogger is glad Bama did not have to face the prospect of burning the redshirt of a frosh QB in a natonal title game back in 2009. Texas had to go to a true frosh in that game (who had played some during the season) and everyone saw how that worked out.

    Time will tell about that blogger’s analysis of Mett. I got the impression during the spring meetings that the Bama camp – at least media, bloggers, et al – think they did the same thing to LSU in the natonal title game that they did to us in the first half in Athens in 2008 .. cut the guts out of the program. We’re only just starting to recover from it. It will be interesting to see what happens with LSU in general, and Mett in particular.

    Jim

    • Go Dawgs!

      You’ve gotta love the Bammer intellect and ego. Alabama didn’t cut the guts out of Georgia in 2008. They exposed an overconfident and flawed team. And then the next season, the backup quarterback got exposed as unequal to the task of being a starter. After squandering our chances, it was time to rebuild in 2010 and 2011, and the 2012 model of the Georgia Bulldogs certainly looked stout until our knucklehead players started getting their asses booted off the team. None of that has anything to do with the University of Alabama.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    If you think it’s a good idea to have a rookie quarterback get his first touch in the national championship game with his team already in a deep hole against the Alabama defense… you’re an idiot, Mr. Capstone Report blogger. If it’s his theory that LSU should have *SKIPPED OVER* the backup quarterback who won a slew of games as a starter last season to get to the rookie who hadn’t taken a snap, then I simply can’t help him. Having a blog doesn’t make someone smart.

    • SCDawg

      Yeah, that didn’t make any sense at all. Jarrett Lee was next on the depth chart, not Mett, and there were multiple complaints about not putting Lee in after Jefferson went epic fail.

      Personally, I think Mett could be a Ryan Mallet style QB. Great arm, not very mobile, gunslinger type guy. With that O-line and the stable of running backs LSU has, he could be very good.

  3. charlottedawg

    Mett could be pretty good this year but for all the people who want to say he would’ve been better than Murray had he stayed, I think it’s telling that he was still the third best qb behind Jefferson and Lee, ok but certainly not spectacular quarterbacks and in my Georgia homer opinion certainly not as good as Murray.

  4. Macallanlover

    I think Feldman is seriously off the mark regarding what was happening in the BCS game on LSU’s sideline. None of us know the inside scoop but their was obviously major trauma within the LSU team that contributed to Miles not pulling JJ in a game he was either “medicated”, or determined to take a dive. The issue isn’t why he didn’t put Mett into the game, it was why he did not insert Lee who was very qualified to replace a dazed JJ.

    I am not saying Mett was qualified to step in as the 2nd option (probably not for a game of that stature given his limited experience), but Lee certainly was. Miles not pulling the QB by the 2nd Qtr,, or at least after halftime, is proof enough that the rumors of a split among the team and/or coaching group have legs. I think the CFB world was shocked some steps weren’t taken to give LSU a chance. I would have gone to Lee, then to Mett, if I were on the sideline but then Jefferson would not have been on my team after the fight sequence before the season began. Terrible waste of a special season for the Tigahs.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That whole quarterback scenario had a soap opera flavor to it.

      • Macallanlover

        It was very strange and I would love to know the dynamics behind the scenes; it truly was a soap opera. Usually Miles is pretty candid, the lid has been kept quiet on this situation.

  5. DawgPhan

    more concerned with our own QB and his decision making…

  6. Same issue everywhere when the QB tanks. Just saying.

  7. DA

    Feldman makes a good point. By the same token, Richt must have not had confidence in Murray’s future when Richt sat Murray and went with Joe cox, and even after Cox’s horrible start, Richt couldn’t pull Cox and go with Murray, Richt put off going with Murray until the last possible second. And then Murray went 6-7, so we see why Richt delayed.

    Mettenberger will do much better. He torched Murray at UGA, and then went 12-0 the next season after he transferred. He’s the QB Mark Richt most dreads facing, and thanks to a rejuvenated Florida, Richt won’t have to worry about playing for the SEC Championship in 2012.

    • Ummm… if Mett “torched” Murray while he was at Georgia, how come Richt didn’t pull Cox and go with Mett?

    • Silver Creek Dawg

      Mett may have torched AM in the spring game, but if you watched day after day of spring practice, AM clearly outplayed Mett and it wasn’t close. Petros Papadakis tried to make your same point on his radio show and I had to set him straight too.

      • Bubs

        I’m guessing this guy doesn’t know much about UGA football considering he is pretty obviously trolling for another team. UF, LSU, Bama, who knows? Also is the DA stands for “DumbAss” joke too easy? Doesn’t matter, I just made it anyway.

        Remember, in that 2009 year didn’t Murray have some tendonitis problems? He had to basically work out like he was rehabbing his arm for a while. I seem to remember hearing that back then and how he couldn’t even practice for a while because of it.

  8. I’m quietly confident that Mettenberger represents improvement over last year’s two-headed QB disaster, in nothing else other than he’ll be able to execute a lot of the basics that neither of last two’s could.

    As for why he didn’t play last year, is it seriously hard to believe that a JUCO transfer with a few months of experience wasn’t quite as ready to lead a team as two seniors with a combined 9 years of it?

  9. TJames

    [Post removed by admin.]

    This commenter has been banned for sockpuppetry, in case anyone’s interested.

    • Bubs

      Nice work, Senator.

    • Lamb Chop

      Senator Blutarsky! I’m having my attorney look into the wording of your announcement about this guy being banned for possible legal action as being defamatory. Calling this obvious fraud a “sock puppet” is an affront to all self respecting women and men of fabric everywhere.

  10. Todd

    Screw LSU and Bama. Who does Richt go with if Murray goes down? On another note Brice Ramnsey didn’t look awesome at the Opening. I know it is a flawed setting, but but he struggled with holding the ball to long.

    Mett will be a very good college QB. Or at least appear that way. He doesn’t have to be great. Just make the throws to keep the D honest. Murray will have the weight on his shoulders. History has shown that doesn’t work out so well for Georgia.

  11. Uglydawg

    It is a big mystery..why Les played the fiddle while Rome burned..While I never thought Mett was an option, leaving Jefferson in shouldn’t have been either. I can’t imagine the criticism Miles has had to endure over this. Good thing he’s not wired like our old buddy Jim Donnan.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    Whoever has the best DC will be the best QB – and that’s LSU (Stephens). FU hasn’t done much since Charlie Strong left. Having Strong on the team was far more important than TT.

    • JunkYard Dawg '00

      Great point. I’ve always expressed similar thoughts when it comes to Fla’s dominance over us in Meyer’s era. Strong could game plan against us as far back to when he was DC at USCe and he ran that stifling 4-6 defense on us (I think it was a 4-6). I was very happy to see him leave for Louisville.

      • Dog in Fla

        Wish he had left much earlier. Cutcliffe as OC at Tennessee and Monte Kiffin as DC at Tennessee were a couple of others I was glad to see leave the league.

    • JimmytheEnglishman

      whoever has the best defense has best QB? what about Arkansas–Wilson looks pretty good? tenn and bray anyone? what about Auburn the year before, thought Cam Newton looked decent?