- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're talking about the LSU Tigers as our offseason spotlight series continues:
Spotlight: Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, 6-5, 230 pounds, rising senior
2012 summary: Mettenberger finished the season ranking eighth in the SEC with 2,609 passing yards and tossed 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions. After passing for 200-plus yards just twice during the first two months of the season, Mettenberger threw for 200-plus yards in all four of LSU's games in November.
The skinny: At this time last year, the hype machines were working overtime when it came to discussing Mettenberger's 2012 season. He appeared to have all the talent and maturity to be a real star for the Tigers. And he was certainly an upgrade from LSU's 2011 quarterback situation. But it took Mettenberger longer to adjust to things in Baton Rouge than most expected. He was very inconsistent through the first two months of the year, but really turned the page against Alabama, when he delivered a career-high 298 yards and a touchdown against the Crimson Tide's vaunted defense. He went on to pass for 200 yards in four of the Tigers' final five games. While he struggled a bit in LSU's loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, there's no question that Mettenberger was a totally different player during the latter part of the season. He finally had the right chemistry and timing with his receivers and his leadership skills improved more and more as the season went on. Now, Mettenberger has to build off of that. He has to become an even better leader and has to be even more efficient throwing the ball. Having new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron should help with his development, but he has to have the same confidence he had in November this spring. With his best receiving targets coming back this spring, Mettenberger's timing and rhythm with them should be even better. It should only improve once summer and fall arrive. As the Tigers look to become a more explosive offensive team, they'll be counting on Mettenberger to develop even more between now and when the season arrives. With no SEC experience behind him on LSU's depth chart, Mettenberger can't afford to take steps back between now and then.
1dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon
2dESPN Stats & Information