Why LSU Won't Miss Zach Mettenberger
The Tigers have a tough task at hand in replacing Zach Mettenberger, but the deed is definitely doable.
Mettenberger threw for 5,783 passing yards and 35 touchdowns in his career at LSU. He finished with the sixth-most passing yards in LSU history and will go down as one of the best quarterbacks ever to put on the purple and gold. That being said, the Tigers can and will replace him.
Here are five reasons LSU won't miss Mettenberger.
1. Anthony Jennings/Brandon Harris
From what I’ve seen in spring practice thus far, Jennings has been the leader from day one. He also has the most experience out of all the quarterbacks, including a comeback victory against Arkansas last season. But Brandon Harris is gaining on him. Harris showed his youth in the first few days of practice, but he has been showing glimpses of stardom lately. It’s a two-man race between Jennings and Harris with Rettig a distant third. A lot can change from now to the beginning of the season, but if Jennings and Harris keeps up their spring performances into the fall, the fans at LSU will be extremely pleased with what they see.
2. Offensive Line
The Tigers have four starting linemen returning next fall with the right guard position in question. Luckily, this spot will not be an issue due to the experience of last season's reserves. Senior Fehoko Fenaika played in 12 games as a reserve guard and senior Evan Washington appeared in all 13 games, including one start at right tackle. Out of the four returning linemen, La’el Collins is the most NFL-ready. Most thought Collins would forgo his senior season to enter the draft, but he decided to stay and settle some unfinished business. Such an experienced front five will make the make the job of the starting quarterback, whomever that may be, much easier.
With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. headed to the NFL, LSU is losing 18 touchdowns and 2,345 receiving yards of offensive production. That doesn’t include wide receivers Kadron Boone or James Wright, who are graduating. But no need to worry. Travin Dural has the most experience out of the receiving corps. He has been showing great leadership in practice by working with all the receivers in individual drills. Players like John Diarse and Quantavius Leslie are slowly emerging as top receivers and are competing with each other for that two spot next to Dural. Also, two top recruits in Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn will be coming in next fall hoping to prove their worth and get some playing time. These guys will make an impact and help out the offense by widening the field and giving the quarterback some nice targets.
4. Steady Run Game
LSU is known for its ground game and next year will not be any different with the nation’s top recruit, Leonard Fournette, coming to Baton Rouge. He will join Terrance Magee, Kenny Hilliard and four-star commit Darrel Williams in the backfield. With Jeremy Hill leaving early for the draft, the Tigers backfield has some ground to make up. Luckily, with four starters returning on the offensive line, it won't be too difficult. Magee averaged a little more than seven yards a carry last season and I expect him to take majority of the carries coming into next season with Fournette increasing his load as the season continues. Hilliard will be a big factor after falling off a bit since his star-studded freshman season. I see him being the leader of the running backs and coming out hungry for his senior year.
5. Cam Cameron
The guy is a quarterback guru. All Tigers fans were able to see his work with Mettenberger last season. Cameron made him the one of the most prolific quarterbacks in LSU history. Now the offensive coordinator will have to work his magic with the next quarterback in line. Whether that is Jennings, Retting or Harris, Cameron will be able to mold them for the next year or two.
Next season will be exciting as usual with a lot of young talent ready to show the SEC what they are made of. With the quarterback position up for grabs it will be a fun race to watch heading into the fall. Mettenberger will be missed, but I see LSU coming back hungrier than ever next year.