LSU-Georgia showdown complete with family drama

09/25/2013 3:35 PM

09/25/2013 11:13 PM

Georgia football administrative assistant Tammy Mettenberger has the week off, and in the heat of the season no less.

But it was the right thing to do, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said.

No reason for Tammy Mettenberger to work this week while coaches prepare to game-plan against LSU, where her son, Zach, is the starting quarterback.

“You can imagine how awkward it is all week for her,” Richt said. “We told her just enjoy it, do things you don’t normally do this time of year, come back Monday and get back to work.”

This odd scenario presents itself in Saturday’s showdown of top 10 teams because Zach, who redshirted at Georgia in 2009, was dismissed from the program in March 2010 after he was initially charged with underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction and two counts of having a fake ID. He also was charged with two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery after groping the breasts and buttocks of a 20-year-old woman.

Mettenberger pleaded guilty to sexual battery and was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and a fine.

He spent a season at Butler County Community College, passing for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns for the Grizzles in 2010, and then transferred to LSU, where he took over as the starter last season and helped the Tigers to a 10-3 record.

Mettenberger has been even better this year under the direction of new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. In four games, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Mettenberger ranks in the Southeastern Conference’s top five in passing yards per game (256.5), touchdown passes (10), passing efficiency and total offense. He has thrown one interception.

No LSU quarterback has thrown for as many touchdowns or yards (1,026) after four games. Also for the first time, LSU had scored at least 30 points and gained 400 total yards in each of its first four games.

“He’s really doing what we ask of him,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “He can throw on a rope when he needs to. He can put air underneath it when he needs to … I think Cam’s having a real impact on him.”

Cameron spent the previous five seasons as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator, and previously served as the head coach for the Miami Dolphins and in the college ranks at Indiana.

Richt, who was prepared for a Mettenberger-Aaron Murray position battle for 2010, isn’t surprised to see Mettenberger’s success.

“With his height, ability to throw, and knowing how hard he works, we thought he’d be a special player,” Richt said.

“And that’s what’s happening. There’s a big ceiling on him still. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll play in the NFL.”

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