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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Zach Mettenberger understands his role

By Edward Aschoff

While there are people on both sides of the Jordan Jefferson campaign, it appears one of his closest competitors is backing Jefferson.

And by backing, I mean he is literally backing up Jefferson on LSU's depth chart -- and he expects to for a while.

"When I was getting recruited, I didn't look at it as I'm going to come in and start right away," Mettenberger said.

"Obviously, Jordan is in position to be the winningest quarterback in LSU history. It's not like I was just going to walk in and take his job. Worst-case scenario, I still have two years to play, and for me that's fine. I do look to get some game experience this year, but right now it's definitely Jordan's job -- and Jarrett's the backup."

Jarrett Lee is the backup? Maybe for now, but Mettenberger has too much talent to stay in the third spot for long. He has a huge arm and consistently hits receivers in stride with relative ease. When talking with Jefferson this summer, he said it was Mettenberger who pushed him the hardest this spring.

But according to coach Les Miles, it isn't necessarily Mettenberger's skill that is an issue, it's his maturity. Remember, Mettenberger's college career started at Georgia, but he left for Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., after he was dismissed by the Bulldogs in April of 2010.

Mettenberger signed with LSU last December, leaving Tigers fans drooling at the thought of seeing Mettenberger sling the pigskin around. But Miles is quick to say that Mettenberger's time will come ... just not right now.

"I appreciate the idea that our fans are most interested in him coming in to play," Miles said. "He is a tremendous talent and a guy that needs to mature. ... You have to give him time to mature, and once you do, he will be fine."

While Mettenberger isn't expecting the starting job, he is confident he'll get valuable playing time this fall, and with goals of multiple championships in Baton Rouge, it would be hard to argue with Miles inserting Mettenberger if Jefferson struggles like he did last season.

"Coach would be naive to just play (Jefferson and Lee) this year and be preparing for the 2012 season with a quarterback with no game experience at all," Mettenberger said. "I definitely think I'm going to get some meaningful snaps this year and I think I can help the team win this year."