LSU Football: Mettenberger Brings New Life to LSU Offense in 2012

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IApril 6, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Spring Football is in the air.

It's going to take a lot to make LSU football fans forget that awful 21-0 loss to Alabama in this past year's BCS National Championship Game. But with a new year there comes hope, and the reason for that new hope in 2012 relies in the Tigers' new passing game.

Gone are Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, a pair of four-year quarterbacks who never really lived up to their initial hype, despite LSU's fantastic 2011 regular season.

Jefferson came to Baton Rouge with the phrases "elite quarterback prospect" and "explosive athlete" attached to his name, but he found out the hard way that in order to truly be an elite quarterback at the college level, you have to develop as a passer in the process.

Despite his superior athletic skills, that development as a passing quarterback never came with Jefferson.

Lee, on the other hand, was a well-rounded passer when he arrived in Baton Rouge. And while Lee certainly didn't have the running ability that Jefferson possessed, his biggest problem came with his decision-making and his ability to deliver in big games.

Lee struggled with turnovers in his first year as LSU's starter and was replaced by Jefferson the following season. Jefferson started as a sophomore and junior before he was suspended heading into his senior season, giving way to Lee yet again.

It all sounds like a mess right?

Well, take a breath, LSU fans, because that mess is gone now. In comes junior quarterback Zach Mattenberger, who is both athletic and a skilled passer. His skill set should allow Les Miles and his staff to open up the playbook more this season, which is something that LSU fans have been waiting patiently for.

Those fans got their first glimpse of Mettenberger this past weekend at LSU's annual spring football game. The former Georgia transfer apparently looked real sharp after a sluggish first quarter of play. He completed 14-of-25 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns in the White team's 24-17 victory over the Purple squad.

But even more important than his impressive stat line is the fact that Mettenberger gave LSU fans a glimpse of the future and hope that this team will finally be able to throw the deep ball with some success.

Mettenberger completed four passes that covered 32 yards or more, including a 49-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who looks like a star in the making for this LSU Tigers team.

Of course, fans should keep a level head and remember that this was just an inter-squad spring scrimmage. Mettenberger still has a lot of work to do before he can make those fans erase that BCS National Championship Game from their memories.

But he sure got off to a nice start.