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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.

20 comments:

Ally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MT said...

I think you can also argue that it simplifies offensive planning for Bobo. Gray and Murray's skillsets are more overlapping with each others' than Mett's, which will allow for a more tailored playbook that takes advantage of QB mobility.

While Mett will still be in the 'hunt', I doubt that we will see a true division of 1st team snaps among them all and see more of the snaps divided btwn Murray/Gray.

Does this mean that we'll end up with a more dynamic playbook that takes advantage of speed/manuverability? Time will tell, but we do have Gray and Murray together for the next 2 years.

Just the idea of having Washaun lined up in shotgun, with Gray and Murray split to either side, gives me chills.

Dawgfan17 said...

I lived in Valdosta for six years, headed to Athens anytime I could get away. I liked Valdosta but can't see going there for spring break. That makes me question his judgement more than getting arrested in Remerton. It is a small city within the city of Valdosta and all their cops do is sit outside the bars and wait for people to do something to give them an excuse to get some money from them. Doesn't make him a bad guy but when trying to win a qb battle that many already see you behind in it does bring his leadership and judgement into question, which just gives Murray another leg up. Honestly I dont care which guy wins the battle but if it was going to be Murray all along hopefully they will name him the starter sooner, (first week of summer camp) than later.

Anonymous said...

I hope this will settle the situation so the Murray can get more first team snaps. The line can get comfortable with him. And maybe others will learn from this. Cross your fingers. Maybe there's a silver lining.

Anonymous said...

This a bad law that few respect (which makes it bad law)and it should be repealed. When you are treated as a responsible adult in every other phase of the law except the right to buy a single ounce of alcohol, it defies logic, and thus respect. But that does not excuse ZM's behavior as a player, there are other ways to enjoy a beverage without risk. And it certainly does not excuse any lack of respect for authority if he talked back, was abusive, or resisted arrest. Bobo cannot get two QBs ready for two separate openers, especially with the 2nd one being the conference opener. Race looks to be between Murray and Gray unless these reports are not accurate. Sorry Zach, you made a mistake that has consequences far beyond what you probably did, but you are in the big leagues. Giving Murray any added edge means you have to be just that much better now.

Anonymous said...

Technically, I don't think the game suspension has to be the opening game (correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore, if allowed, he could still compete for the starting job and his suspension could be against Colorado or Idaho State. It would allow them to continue the "wide open" competition.

This would be atypical of Richt (although consistent with other college coaches) but would be a possibility if judged minor enough.

Anonymous said...

I hate to talk about the elephant in the room, but what are the chances Mett will transfer to a different school? Kind of like Mallet did. If the job turns out to be Murray's, then why wait around if you have all the physical tools that NFL scouts ooz over?

c said...

I'm not worried about that white elephant, Richt has a knack for developing multiple NFL caliber quarterbacks at the same time and keeping them in the program. Also, solely from what I've read, Zach doesn't seem like the type of kid to give up that easily, and he still has 4 years of eligibility to transfer later after getting tutored by 1 of the best quarterback mentors of the past 2 decades in college football. Also, does his mom still work in the athletic department?

However, it's the 5 alledged counts (2 disorderly conducts, and 2 false identification charges, not just the 1 for underage drinking) that makes this more than a possible 1 game suspension, which would really affect the starting role.

David Hale said...

Well put, C.

Mett said when he first signed that a transfer was always a possibility for one of the two of them, but he also said that he never really wanted to play anywhere other than UGA.

And yes, his mother is still working at UGA.

Cojones said...

Anon- Because Zach wants to be a Georgia Bulldog. This incident does nothing to his QB credentials. He hasn't given any ground in that respect and if he is the best QB to lead the team, well, the team may have something to do about that. Some of you are getting overly excited about Murray. If he was clear-cut as the dominant QB what in God's name do you think Bobo and Richt are waiting on in naming him? Hyped competition? Don't think so. The advantage here is for the coaches to name the front runner and that still won't affect good competition for the position. But they haven't even named a frontrunner. Some of you have, but the coaches who know these players 4x more than any of you dream, haven't. How could that be and they remain our coaches? BECAUSE IT STILL IS WIDE OPEN COMPETITION. If they had a best one they would have said so for the reasons some of you profess in relief that we don't have to go into the season not knowing who is our "man". Why can't some of you possibly see that the coaches (esp Richt) are honest and have everything to gain by announcing their choice at this time? All of these Dawgs have fleas just like all college football players. The one with the best footwork, the best passing qualities, the best allround athleticism and, yes!, the best leadership qualities will be our next QB.

Now all you armchair QBs ...sit back, drink your beer and have PATIENCE until the coaches decide.

Good luck in the QB competition, Zach.

Testep said...

When I heard this, my assumption was dude was drinking on the trip down to Florida somewhere, like many college kids (but never me of course) do. They stopped off in Remerton to get something to eat or something and Mr. Mett did something stupid.

Not that it matters, just a thought and attempt at an explanation as to why the hell he was in Valdosta on spring break.

Stuart said...

I graduated form GA in 1996 and worked at the Georgia Theater. This is behavior is not unusual or heck even anything to be alarmed about. He got busted. Big deal. I remember 90% of the Georgia Teams coming down on the weekends and getting hammered. Hines Ward was 19 at the time and many a nights we had to call coach to come and get him. I remember Bobo being a terrible drunk, the kind who wears his alcohol and drunk face like a common drunk in downtown Atlanta. I also, wont forget seeing Bobo, Dax, and Kirby Smart going into the Gold Club at 2:00 in the afternoon in Atlanta and hell they would be lucky of they were 21.

The point is we all did it, and we need to to quit punishing the kids for something that is a normal part of growing up.

Anonymous said...

Cojones,
I asked a hypothetical question. I did not anoint Murray as the starting QB, I just proposed a situation. Note that I did use IF. I realize this was a great chance to jump down someone's throat on something that has obviously been chappin' your @ss, but I was simply posing a question.

philomath said...

Hi David, I remember seeing the footwork quote before...any other evidence that mett is susseptable to the media?

Randall said...

I too remember Bobo dancing on the bar at Gus'.

David Hale said...

I didn't mean to exaggerate the point about Mett & the media other than to bring it up as a possibility. I've spoken with Zach before about it, and I know he does read message boards, etc., which after something like this is not necessarily a good thing. Plus, this obviously doesn't help his chances of starting, so my concern would be how he handles this situation -- as it would be for any player -- and whether he uses it as motivation to work even harder or a reason to get down on himself for screwing up. We shall see...

Anonymous said...

Cojones, do you know anything about football? Do you really think anyone really cares which RS Frosh QB wins the job outside theor family? We have a huge spotlight shining on our QB position as it is the only position we do not return significant experience, we have 2 Elite 11 QBs competing for the job, one of them just took a huge step backward. You have to be naive thinking it will not impact the decision, misssing at least one game, especially the first, would mean ZM has to be a lot better than the other 2 contenders. Since he came in from a small HS program versus AM's Florida team, there were already questions. If ZM is the best, I hope he wins out, but your tirade is out of line, no one cares about the name, just the job they do when they get behind center. It is you that seems to feel personal about this.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he can ask Coach Bobo what to do?
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=19971219&id=6pEwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZjMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2351,6902874

Just another college kid gets arrested story. Fake ID, public drunk. Ho hum. Now you have something to tell your kids when they get older and do stupid crap. They won't listen either. Repeat cycle.

Anonymous said...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=19971219&id=6pEwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZjMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2351,6902874


Maybe this will work.

Joeski said...

First off, anyone who says that this will have no effect on the QB competition is just plain wrong: unlike the Bobo arrest (where he was 23 and it was only for obstruction (and it looked pretty tenuous, too- but that might just be the brevity of the report), this arrest shows four things:

Mett broke the law by drinking underaged (whether or not you agree with the drinking age is irrelevant).

Mett a) planned to break the law, and b) broke another law by having a fake ID (personally, I just relied on my older friends to buy me beer & liquor, but then again, never really was into the bar scene)

and finally, Mett made an already bad situation worse by not complying with the police.

Now I understand that college kids get in trouble- I didn't when I was in Athens... well, except for a noise violation; but it is reasonable to think that a similar percentage of athletes will get into trouble as the percentage of regular students do. (Actually, it's less than the regular student population.)

But QB??? Come on. You gotta be smarter than that. The QB is more a leader than any other position on the field... leaving aside the question of whether or not he thinks the rules apply to him, do we really want a guy who can't sit down and figure out that the potential consequences to his actions seriously outweigh the reward of going to a bar and getting drunk??? Really?

Seriously. I'm sure Richt will do the right thing, but if I were the Head Coach, I'd sit Mett down and say "You screwed up so bad, you're suspended for four games. As you know, this means you're not going to be the starter this year. Now man up and accept your punishment, get better and try again next year (because you know Richt will always give kids a chance, unless whoever ends up under center wins the SEC for us single-handedly) or transfer."

And if Mett runs away from responsibility and avoids paying for his mistake by transferring, the UGA is probably better off.