Zach Mettenberger is having a career season as LSU’s quarterback despite some rocky moments in the past two games, but his play has earned him some high praise from Nick Saban who will scheme against him Saturday, according to The Advocate.
“He’s probably playing as well as any quarterback in our league,” Saban said. “They’ve got really good skill players outside. Zach does a really good job of executing their offense. He’s got a good arm. He’s a good thrower. He’s a very accurate passer, and he throws the ball to the right place.”
Mettenberger had his best game of the season in 2012 against Alabama when he threw for a then career-high 298 yards on 68.6 percent passing and an adjusted QBR of 95.3. His next highest total that season was 86.5 vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Mettenberger has averaged more than 300 yards in the past two games for LSU and thrown four touchdowns, but his five interceptions vs. Ole Miss and Furman have some wondering if he can revert to the form he displayed the first seven games.
In the first seven games, Mettenberger had a 15: 2 TD:INT radio and garnered some Heisman buzz as LSU went 6-1. Reverting back to his early-season form won’t be easy though as Alabama boasts the No. 1 scoring defense, No. 6 passing defense and No. 8 opponent passer rating.
Having said that, Alabama had trouble defending Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham last season and Alabama has had some personnel changes at cornerback. Deion Belue and Bradley Sylve are recovering from injuries and Cyrus Jones just made his first career start.
Regardless of the rotating group of cornerbacks they have been impressive, with the lone exception coming against Mike Evans, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
Another area that bodes well for Mettenberger is that Alabama is 96th in the nation with 1.4 sacks per game and that number drops to one per game at home.
If Mettenberger has time to stand in the pocket and let his future NFL wide receivers win matchups against the Tide secondary it could be a better statistical performance than he had last year.