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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Offseason spotlight: LSU

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Up next in our offseason spotlight series are the LSU Tigers.

Spotlight: Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, 6-5, 222 pounds, rising junior

2011 summary: Mettenberger, after transferring in from junior college, played sparingly this past season. He saw action in five games and played mostly in mop-up roles. He finished 8-of-11 for 92 yards and a touchdown. All 11 of his pass attempts came in the 49-3 rout of Northwestern State the second week of the season.

The skinny: It's been a while since Mettenberger has thrown a pass that counted. For that matter, he's yet to take a meaningful snap in a major college game. Nonetheless, he's immensely talented, and if you talk to anybody at Georgia from the time he was there, they will tell you that he also has a tremendous work ethic. With two senior quarterbacks in front of him, Mettenberger wasn't going to make much headway this past season in making this his team. That's his challenge this offseason, becoming a leader and putting his stamp on the offense. LSU coach Les Miles has already said the Tigers are going to throw the ball more next season. Mettenberger has a big arm, one of the biggest in the league. But he's also going to have a younger crop of receivers to throw to, and it's imperative they all get on the same page this spring and summer. As good as the Tigers have been the past two seasons, they've just sort of gotten by at quarterback and have been hit and miss in the passing game. With Mettenberger stepping in at quarterback, especially if the right chemistry develops on offense over these next few months, the Tigers have a chance to be as potent in the passing game as they've been in a while. Only once under Miles has LSU's starting quarterback thrown for more than 2,500 yards in a season. JaMarcus Russell did it in 2006 with 3,129 yards.