Zach Mettenberger has been the biggest surprises for LSU as the Tigers have built a 6-1 start in large part because of his development and maturation in Cam Cameron’s system.
The praise has been effusive for Mettenberger and the “real deal” offense in and around Baton Rouge and now he’s getting some high praise from the Ole Miss Rebels who will see the strong-armed quarterback on Saturday night in Oxford.
Hugh Kellenberger from the Clarion-Ledger writes, that Ole Miss is impressed with Mettenberger and the well-balanced attack he leads. He says he has gone from a disappointment in 2012 to an All-SEC quarterback–if not for Johnny Manziel. The opinions of the Rebel coaching staff echo what Kellenberger wrote.
“Mettenberger isn’t missing many open receivers when he has them,” said Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. He’s making very, very good throws and managing the game extremely well. He’s one of the better guys we’ve faced this year.”
High praise by Freeze considering they just saw the best in Manziel orchestrate two late scoring drives in the fourth quarter including the game winning field goal as time expired.
Watching Mettenberger this year compared to last is night and day. Even in the Tiger’s loss to Georgia he passed for 372 yards and three touchdowns, and as Rebels defensive coordinator tells Kellenberger its a result of his confidence.
“He’s playing with unbelievable confidence,” Wommack said. “ … They don’t ask him to do too much and I think he has improved his passing.”
Ole Miss knows they’ll have to disrupt his timing and rhythm to rattle that confidence. Whether its by knocking him off his feet or picking off a pass early, they’ll have their work cut out for them with so many injuries to key players. However, the Rebels did get some potentially good news along the front seven.
Mettenberger threw for his second highest yardage totals in the matchup last year with 282, but Ole Miss kept him out of the end zone and picked him off twice. He’s a vastly improves player with a great deal of confidence this year, so if history repeats itself, then the Rebels could pull off the upset.
But that’s easier said than done as Mettenberger is playing as well as any signal-caller in the nation.