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Monday, March 8, 2010

Arrest Will Impact QB Battle

So here's the question most people seem to be asking about Zach Mettenberger -- Does an offseason arrest preclude him from being Georgia's starting quarterback in 2010?

(OK, that's slightly untrue. The question most people are asking is, "Why would anyone spend spring break in Valdosta?" But that's probably not as relevant to UGA's 2010 season as the question I'm posing.)

The obvious answer is no, because anything can happen between now and September, and if injuries or inconsistency plagued the other contenders, this situation certainly wouldn't be enough to keep Mettenberger off the field.

But here's how Mike Bobo discussed the timing of making an official decision on a starter:

"Not to say it won’t go into the fall, but to wait until the second scrimmage, it’s a little bit difficult to get a guy ready to play for the first game. You’re trying to get them all an opportunity, but you’ve still got to get a guy ready for that first game."

Well, what if one of those quarterbacks is suspended for that first game? Then you've either got to eliminate that QB from the competition or you risk having to get two quarterbacks ready for two separate first games. That's a lot to ask.

Again, the "wide open competition" is the right thing to do this spring because competition helps everyone. But the truth is, this was likely Aaron Murray's job to lose from the start, and this only adds more fuel to that decision.

The bigger issue is how Mettenberger responds to this incident. From my time with him, I'm fairly certain he's a good kid who made a bad decision -- and one that a vast number of us college grads made during our tenures as students, too.

But as Bobo also pointed out, Mettenberger has a habit of paying attention to the press clippings and letting them bother him a bit too much.

“People have told him all his life he’s slow and you’ve got to work on your feet," Bobo said of Mettenberger's development with his footwork. "So a lot of times he overcompensates and tries to speed things up when he’s really in good timing and good balance, because in his mind, he’s thinking, I’m slow, I’m slow, I’m slow.”

Whether or not you thought Mettenberger had much chance at the starting job even before this, the bottom line is that there's not a lot of depth on that QB depth chart, and Mettenberger was going to be an important part of the team -- even if it was waiting his turn in case of an injury or simply providing strong competition during practice.

So while this may not shake up the competition for the starting job too much, Georgia fans probably need to hope the only lasting impact of this incident is that Mettenberger learns a valuable lesson and doesn't find himself making these types of headlines in the future.


jferg said...

the bigger question for me is will this cause a Mett to transfer? Will he see this as a big enough road block to playing time that he doesn't want to be a 5-year backup?

Oh, and thanks for the shout in the links post regarding my namesake. I plead the 5th on my stance on performance enhancement of any type!

Anonymous said...

It does seem to preclude Gray from moving anywhere else as we would need a backup in any case if Zach is out for 1-2 games. That is a shame for Gray if that stops him from a chance to see playing time somewhere else this year if he doesn't win the QB battle.


Young and Dumb. He will get wiser with age - that's the good news. He will have to grow from adversity. It will hopefully make him a stronger individual!

AppleDawg said...

Hearing that he gets angry/annoyed at press clippings (and I assume message board posts) is not a good sign.

The last thing we need is another Joe Cox who feels like it is his right to fight with forums with snippy little remarks all the while he blows at QB

GumpDawg said...

He will transfer, right after the sexual assault charges are filed tomorrow and the suspension comes after that. this was completely stupid,...stupid, stupid, stupid.