The myth of Zach Mettenberger’s Georgia career

Can we please stop with this stuff already?

If Mettenberger can live up to the promise he showed when he was neck-and-neck with Aaron Murray in spring practice as a freshman at Georgia…

I hate to pick on Year2 here, because he’s just repeating a line others have uttered before, but that’s not how things played out in Athens.

Mettenberger went through two spring practices at Georgia.  As a true freshman, he defined the term “raw”.  He looked better as a redshirt freshman, wowing the crowd at G-Day.  But some of that has to be colored by him throwing against a second-string defense that was just starting to learn the ropes under Grantham.

Looking back, it seems that this whole story was first tossed out on a national level by Stewart Mandel, who claimed he received his information from some well-placed sources:

What began as a quarterback derby in Athens has devolved into a quarterback panic. Redshirt freshman Murray, ranked only behind USC’s Barkley and Texas’ Garrett Gilbert in’s 2009 quarterback rankings, will take over the reins this fall just as Georgia fans always imagined. But the Tampa native didn’t exactly wow observers this spring. In fact, classmate Zach Mettenberger finished spring on even footing, if not slightly ahead of Murray.

Mandel wrote that on May 4th.  The problem is that Mark Richt told a very different story two weeks earlier.

After briefly hesitating, Richt answered the inevitable question of whether Murray would have been No. 1  even if a third quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, had not been kicked off the team on Sunday. The answer, Richt said, is yes.

“I’m not out to hurt anybody worse than they may have been hurt to this point,” Richt said, “but Aaron would have been the No. 1 quarterback.”

Maybe some of this is a quibble over semantics, but there are many who cling to a romantic picture of Mettenberger having moved ahead of Murray before being unceremoniously booted from the program by Richt.  It never happened, according to the head coach.  And nobody with any familiarity with the situation has ever stepped forward to contradict Richt’s account of things.

Things have worked out for Mettenberger.  He’s landed at a place where he’s seen as having a better shot at an SEC title and a run at a national title than Murray.  That’s fine.  There’s just no need to make him out to be more than he was.  (Not that I should expect Uncle Verne to pass on the story, right?)


Filed under Georgia Football

72 responses to “The myth of Zach Mettenberger’s Georgia career

  1. Bevo

    Nothing better than a little historical revision when it suits a college football storyline. Let the ignorance begin!

  2. charlottedawg

    Hey if Murray shows in a head to head match up that he’s the better QB, I could care less what preseason meme these guys float out there.

    • The Lone Stranger

      I really would love an LSU rematch. Think of the vindication — not only for the bedraggled Dawg-D, but also for Murray after his 2nd-half-to-forget, and for the receivers after their 1st-half-to-forget. It is time the hurt is put back on LSU ala 2004/2008.

      • charlottedawg

        My dream season is 14-0 beating LSU AND Bama, one for the SEC, the other for the BCS. It would be so vindicating on so many levels. Not saying that outcome is likely for a million reason but if I could write a season, well…

  3. Silver Creek Dawg

    I had this exact argument with Petros Papadakis of Fox Sports Radio. He was extolling the virtues of ZM and how UGA had a real QB quandry. I called in to his show and set his sorry ass straight. At least he admitted he was basing his opinion on the spring game and wasn’t aware AM had thoroughly outplayed him in practice.

  4. NateG

    In all fairness Senator, Mett is HUGE in Montana…

  5. Macallanlover

    Good post Senator. I remember my fear that CMR had let his heart get in the way of judgement when he took an employee’s son that had played HS football at a small school with little competition. I was wrong as ZM went on to perform well at the Elite 11 camp and developed well in his 15 months at UGA. I recall the overreaction from fans based on a sliver of tape as AM made one bad decision and ZM zinged a couple of passes to surprise/impress everyone. Not unexpectedly the internet QB geniuses blew this out of proportion with way too much chatter.

    The credentials for QB development possessed by CMR and Bobo are unchallengeable, particularly by media members. Richt did not waiver in his assessment that Spring, and he never threw anyone under the bus. Typically classy, and vintage Richt. I am sure no one is happier for Zach’s success than he is. We can all wish him well at football, and life, except for the day he lines up against us in Atlanta in early December.

    • Scorpion Jones, III

      Well said, Mac, and it could be interesting to see how the story plays out, but then, of course, Zach has to keep his job.

  6. timphd

    Haven’t you boys heard? Aaron Murray is barely holding off Hutson Mason these days. I read that on the intertubes so it must be true.

  7. I anxiously await to hear Uncle Verne for CBS in the last drive of the SEC Championship mention “Zach Mettenberger, once the starter at Georgia, now has the chance to prevent Georgia from winning a SEC championship if he can lead the Tigers in this drive”. Oh by the way Beano Cook and Ivan Maisel think that “Mark Rick” is still on the “semi-hot seat”.

    • The Lone Stranger

      I anxiously await the sight of Uncle Verne’s back as he heads out the press box door for good.

  8. Chi-town Dawg

    I blame Bobo for all of this confusion and revisionist history🙂

    • Puffdawg

      Not sure if you meant it this way but the funny thing here is the “I blame Bobo” meme actually fits. If Bobo hadn’t coached up Mett as well as he did, this revisionist history never would’ve been possible.

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Now that the season is upon us we won’t have to speculate who is better. I personally believe AM is the better QB, but ZM has all the tools, perhaps with the exception of scrambling ability. It’s been a long wait, but I’ll be very interested to see how ZM performs.

    • stoopnagle

      Yes, but LSU’s schedule is so much tougher. Georgia doesn’t play Bama or Arkansas!


      • Macallanlover

        We sent Zach to represent us, we play a tough schedule vicariously through him. Now, the full-fledged idiots (listening cock fans) can shut up and learn to play…not just mouth off.

  10. Darrron Rovelll

    Throw in the fact that the ZM meme closely resembles the Cam Newton meme from a couple of years ago, it is a story/column that can write itself.

    • Dog in Fla

      I can’t stop from having it write itself:

      I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
      I threw a laptop in Gainesville just to watch it fly
      I slapped a girl’s ass in Remerton just to watch it shake

    • Except people forget, he was on the roster last year. And he was unable to beat out Jefferson or Lee. Why they think he’s made these huge strides in a year is beyond me. The man wasn’t good enough then, why is he better now?

      • Sanford222view

        Ding! Ding! Ding!

      • X-Dawg

        This. I’ve been stating this to anyone who would listen and all I get for a reply is the sound of crickets.

      • The truth at last! Mett is not the second coming of Cam Newton. He is a back-up QB that has finally got his chance to start. Zero wins at LSU and he is better than AM?…..not a chance.

        • Todd

          My question to all of it is this, What did Richt stand to gain by saying anything other than what he said?
          Mett, may be a bust. I don’t care because Murray is our guy. I have to wonder (just like Bobby Herbert) why Les didn’t pull Jefferson in the MNC. That decision in itself is questionable. LSU was winning and at some point a call had to be made “to dance with the one that brung you”. Also, what did Auburn have that was even remotely close to a good QB?

  11. Joe

    Well, let them say that then. That narrative simply puts to rest the other narrative about CMR being osft on discipline.

    This story shows that CMR has guts when it comes to discipline. Imagine getting rid of your starting QB, with his mom in the athletic department, etc.?

    That’s the real story then, how he kept to his princip0les despite how amazingly awesome ZM was/is!!

  12. This touches on a nerve for me to hear pundits laud LSU because they are confident that they will be better at QB because UGA kicked off their superstar in waiting. Great post. They list him as the answer to LSU’s troubles and the kid hasn’t even taken a snap against an SEC team.

    It also is a backhanded discarding of AM and all he has accomplished so far.

  13. Apparantly, Les Miles wasn’t greatly impressed with ZM at the end of last season. With the MNC on the line and a QB that looked for all the world to be surrendered to ‘Bama’s defense……Mett stood unused on the sideline.
    This with the national championship going down the drain like used bath bath water. If he was as good as AM, I believe he would have played that second half. (Yes this is a rehash of a subject coverd in GTP a while back, but it is very much telling. I just hope we get to see an AM ZM matchup this year.)

  14. Irwin R Fletcher


  15. Cojones

    We have no idea how good Mett is now. Old comparisons suck. While my bet’s on Murray, it’s because of his SEC experience, not in a one-on-one comparison. Some will say that Mett’s learning curve has grown to closely match because he practices vs a good SEC D, just like Murray. If the analogy of our inexperienced RBs is good when compared to the D competition they are against at UGA, then what’s good for the goose comparisons are good for the gander.

    I hope we play Bama because I don’t want to hear this Pome d’ Rue anymore.

  16. A feel-good for a lot huge Murray supporters, to be sure. But, let’s be honest…what coach is going to say, a couple months before his RS Frosh takes the field, “Yeah, Mettenberger was gonna be our guy, but we’ll go with what we have left and hope he can get it done.”

    • How ’bout “no comment”?

    • The Lone Stranger

      Ben, are you gonna be busting down the playcalling in that blow-by-blow manner again this season? It was always an informative Dawgs-Eye view of the action for those of us who are less nuanced in the down-and-distance philosophies and fundamental makeup of pigskin strategy.

    • Except there were rumors that if Murray doesn’t get dead arm early that fall, he could have beat out Cox by year’s end. And that Mettenberger while having a great cannon, couldn’t hit water floating in a boat, and wasn’t the best at decisions. The idea that Mettenberger was able to beat out Murray is based on little more than a glorified practice that saw Ronnie Powell average 150 yards per when he played in them.

      • tbia

        Yes a scrimmage where the quarterbacks are playing a game of touch football. ZM can not move, while that is a big part of Murray’s skill set. ZM makes David Greene look like a sprinter.

    • The Lone Stranger

      And a quick jog to your site indicates you’re back in business! Hell of an impressive singing performance too.

  17. stoopnagle

    He’s like SUPER HUDSON.

  18. paulwesterdawg

    I think Zach went about 3 for 20 in his first 2 scrimmages that first Spring. He was wretched. He started to pull it together the 2nd Spring and had a very nice GDay going against a baffled tomato can collective.

    BTW – in 7 years of blogging, I have NEVER gotten more negative and nasty info about a kid’s off the field persona than I have Zach. Not just from 1 person either. Really venomous stuff.

    Not your run of the mill “I’m jealous of the jock who took my girl” stuff either. Weird kid.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Well, the Bayou is big enough for all comers, really. Hell, look how much rope was played out for HoneyBadger.

    • fuelk2

      I saw him scrimmage that first spring and it was indeed dreadful. Granted, his targets were nothing but walk-ons, but I only saw him throw one route the whole day – a vertical. We’ll see if he’s gotten more polished now, but I’ll bet he’s not getting coached up the way he was his second spring here.

    • South FL Dawg

      You’re not the first one to say that……even one of his classmates in HS….it all probably played out true to form.

  19. JCB

    I am not saying what Mandel wrote re Mettenberger being tied or ahead of Murray was true, but how is Richt backing Murray after Mettenberger was kicked off the team proof of anything? “Please coach, throw your current QB1 under the bus in favor of the guy you kicked off the team”. There was no other response Richt could have given under the circumstances. I am highly dubious of Mandel’s “source(s)”, but throwing the Richt quote out there was weak.

    • Once more: there are plenty of ways Richt could have dodged answering that question – “no comment”, “no point in rehashing that”, etc. He’s certainly done more than his fair share of that with the media over the years. As it is, if you read his answer carefully, he was clearly reluctant to discuss that matter.

      By the way, let me say I’m amused by this coming from you. Aren’t you the guy who was braying loudly about Richt’s habit of reinstating key players?

  20. I have a feeling that Mett is going to have a lights out season this year for LSU. He might have beaten out Murray for the starting role eventually, but, like so many others, he couldn’t tow the behavioral line with this program, so we will never know.
    The real story here is going to come after a Mett led LSU team wins the SECCG and/or the NC game. Until then, it’s just mildly interesting conjecture.

  21. shane#1

    I wish Mett the best and if UGA meets LSU in the SECCG I hope he plays well but finds the Dawg D overpowering. I don’t want the WWL saying that the Dawgs played a weak schedule and won the SEC because their opponent had a weak QB. I would bet my first born that would be used to keep UGA out of the BCSCG. Even though my first born, the actress- singer- cocktail waitress- mall clerk- fashion designer has a real job now. Mett just had a few too many and showed his young ass to a goodlooking barmaid. Been there, done that, and worse. I was not arrested, just shown the door by a couple of big bouncers. Rather rudely, I might add.

    • Cojones

      Everyone knows that bouncers are missing the humor gene. It’s when they throw you back into the estabishment that you know you are in trouble.

  22. South FL Dawg

    Mett couldn’t even beat out Jefferson and the other guy at LSU, both of whom were ahead of him last year. Never mind what Richt said, just go with Les Miles. But people believe what they want to believe.

  23. Side question – Is Zach’s mom still working for the Athletic department?

    Sorry, buit Senator’s right. Zach has to do very little this year to power LSU’s success. Which is a good thing, because he couldn’t crack the lineup last year with two total fonk ups playing QB in front of him.

    I’m ready for Evil Richt again. Having tact just doesn’t pay off for him.

  24. fuelk2

    Also, based on that spring scrimmage, you know the one series of plays that everyone is basing this on, we likely have an unstoppable All-American TE ready to play this fall in Artie Lynch. I’m surprised he’s not getting more preseason pub based on this logic.

  25. Brandon

    Somebody should andy warhol up a picture of mettenberger in lsu colors with the word “hope” like the famous obama picture. As with Obama, sounds like they are seeing what they want to see.

  26. Todd

    So was Richt giving Mett a scholarship because of his mother? If you saw progress from year 1 to year 2, did he stop getting “buttah” once he left Georgia? Is Georgia the only place a qb can blossom to be great? Kiper called Stafford an overall #1 before he stepped foot in Athens. Other than that, where is the qb development you speak of?

  27. IWanaBDaveGrohl

    On SC earlier, Kiper and McShay were asked to pick someone to challenge Barkley for the Heisman. Kiper went ZM (Really?). McShay took AM (and Landry Jones too). Read into that what you want to.