Mettenberger, Marshall faced hurdles
September, 20, 2013
By Chris Low | ESPN.com
It's always nice to see guys make good on second chances.
Auburn's Nick Marshall and LSU's Zach Mettenberger, who square off Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, are doing just that after taking circuitous routes back to the SEC.
Their bond is a unique one. Each began his career at Georgia, meaning the Bulldogs at one point had three of the SEC's current starting quarterbacks on their roster.
But whereas Aaron Murray has carved out a record-setting career at Georgia, Marshall and Mettenberger were sent packing after running into trouble off the field and seeing their careers at Georgia derailed before they ever had a chance to get started.
Mettenberger, then a redshirt freshman, was competing with Murray for the starting quarterback job in the spring of 2010, and it was a tight race. Not long after the conclusion of spring practice, though, Mettenberger was dismissed following a spring break incident at a South Georgia bar with a female. Mettenberger pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and received probation under the state of Georgia's first offender act. He spent a season at Butler (Kan.) Community College before landing at LSU.
Marshall was never charged criminally, but was dismissed in February 2012 for violating Georgia team rules. He and two other teammates (who also were dismissed) were reportedly involved in stealing from other teammates. Like Mettenberger, Marshall also detoured through Kansas, at Garden City Community College, before getting a second shot at Auburn.
"I'm happy for them that they landed in a good place and are getting an opportunity to do what they hoped and dreamed about doing coming out of high school," said Georgia coach Mark Richt, who will face both Mettenberger and Marshall later this season.
"I'm big on guys realizing their dreams. That's part of the reason why I coach. When you hit a major roadblock like they did, you like to hear stories of guys turning it around and doing really good things."
Rodney Garner never doubted for a second that Marshall and Mettenberger would turn it around, although he might not have predicted that both would be back in the SEC as starting quarterbacks.
Keep in mind that Marshall spent his only season at Georgia in 2011 as a cornerback.
Garner, in his first season as Auburn's associate head coach and defensive coordinator, was a member of Georgia's staff when the Bulldogs signed both Marshall and Mettenberger.
"Nick and Zach are both examples that one mistake as a kid doesn't define who you are," said Garner, a 24-year coaching veteran in the SEC. "They're both good kids that just made bad decisions.
"I think back to when I played. If I had gotten caught doing some of the things I did at their age, I might not be where I am today. It does me good to see both of those kids get their lives back on track."
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Halftime Cincinnati 10 Virginia Tech 13 4:52 1st Qtr 15 Arizona State 10 Duke 0 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State