Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray will forever be linked in their SEC football careers.
The paths of the former Georgia Bulldog teammates could not be any more different. The fork in the road gave Mettenberger grief and Murray success.
Mettenberger was kicked off the team in 2010 after he was arrested for sexual battery.
He conquered junior college football at Butler (Kan.) Community College by being rated as the top 2011 junior college quarterback. Then, he found LSU, where he passed for 2,701 career yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Murray, on the other hand, became the starting quarterback in 2010 as a freshman, won 27 games and passed for 10,091 yards, 95 touchdowns and 32 interceptions in his career. Comparing these careers are like comparing Mike Krzyzewski's coaching technique to Mike Rice's.
Those stats and accomplishments solidify Murray as a top SEC quarterback. His legacy is undeniable. However, his former teammate will outperform him in 2013.
The reason is new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. LSU fans are giddy about the offensive changes taking place with Cameron as the new OC. Quite frankly, they should be.
So far in spring practice, Cameron has picked up the pace, changed the way the offense is implemented and changed the terminology and direction.
In other words, expect the Tigers to still be a run-oriented team, but also expect them to air it out with more spread formations. Which player on the roster do you believe is most excited about these new looks?
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry even said that the team is looking to attack other teams vertically next season (via ESPN.com). An answered prayer, Tiger fans?
All of these changes will have a direct impact on Mettenberger's performance next season, thus helping him top Murray.
Why? Well, Mettenberger, like Murray, is a gunslinger. When he's on, he's as accurate as they come. Both Mississippi State and Alabama saw this last season. And when he's cold, well he's not much of a threat. See the Florida and South Carolina game.
Having Cameron call the plays should allow Mettenberger to get into a groove. He will call for easy passes at the beginning of the game and use the running game to set up some deep passes.
That's not to say Mettenberger won't throw careless interceptions.That's inevitable. But hey, Murray has been known to throw a few himself.
In 2012, Georgia averaged just over 28 pass attempts per game, while LSU averaged just above 27. With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall returning to the offense, Georgia should pound the rock a little more next season than they did last year. That will take a few attempts away from Murray.
The exact opposite should happen for Mettenberger. Earlier in the season, LSU protected Mettenberger by limiting his passing. As the season progressed, they allowed him to throw more often.
With one year of experience under Mettenberger's belt and Cameron coming in to mold him into a better quarterback, he's destined to throw it more in 2013.
Talent-wise, Mettenberger is just as good as Murray. He can make the same type of throws that Murray can, and he has a stronger arm than Murray. But it all comes down to scheme and putting each quarterback in a position to succeed.
Cameron's experience gives Mettenberger an edge next season.
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