Re: Quarterbacks Shining at LSU and Florida

Over at GTP, the Senator is pondering the upcoming quarterbacking at LSU and Florida:

I wouldn’t exactly call this a blazing insight on my part, but this Bruce Feldman mailbag, which addressed Florida’s chances this season and this post at Capstone Report about LSU’s Zach Mettenberger got me wondering which school is likely to be happier with its quarterback production in 2012.

Maybe it isn’t blazing insight, but it’s good conversation for a Monday a couple of months away from football season.

Which team will be happier with their QB play?  Well, I think statistically, Mettenberger will play better than the Florida quarterbacks, but that doesn’t mean the LSU fans will be happier with his production.  As I pointed out in this post, the Jarrett Lee – Jordan Jefferson tandem put up some nice numbers in 2011:

Along the way, LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson passed for over 2,000 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The duo also completed over 61% of their passes.  You have to admit, those aren’t bad numbers.

Yet LSU fans weren’t too thrilled with their quarterback play last year.  Why?  Because their expectation was to win a national title and they failed.  The expectations are the same for this year – a title.  Anything less and Tiger fans will be disappointed, regardless of how good Mettenberger’s numbers are.

I’m also in agreement with Capstone Report that it’s not a given for Mettenberger to walk on the field and throw up those kind of numbers, but I do agree with the Senator that he’ll have a much better supporting cast around him.  It’s also not uncommon for first year starters to win a title – just look at the last three BCS champs.  I guarantee that Mettenberger is no Cam Newton.  The real question is whether he’ll play as well as Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron.

CR also rolled out this quote related to the LSU QB situation:

I have no doubt that Mettenberger will be good; programs like LSU get good quarterbacks. But if he were better than what they had, wouldn’t he have made an appearance in New Orleans a few months ago? It is proposterous to think a team would hold anything…ANYTHING…back when the crystal football is on the line.

 When Alabama played Texas for the first of their National Championships in the last three years, it was well-documented that if something happened to Alabama’s starting QB Greg McElroy, Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s next option was to burn the redshirt off of AJ McCarron and put him in the game. In game 13 of a 13-game season.

The reason McCarron was the next option was that he had won the backup job.  That’s not exactly the same as LSU’s situation last year.  By the end of the year, Jefferson was the starter and, for whatever reason, Lee wasn’t.  He was the backup and it was pretty safe to say Nick Saban was all up in his head.  Yes, Mettenberger could’ve pulled a Garrett Gilbert, but I don’t think that was very likely.

And then there’s this comment from the Senator:

And as much as an Alabama fan might sniff at Mett’s prospects against a Saban defense, it’s worth noting that LSU and ‘Bama split their two games last season with the very quarterbacks he derides.  Florida, however, couldn’t win a game last year that Brantley didn’t start.

I know this comment was directed at Capstone Report, but those two quarterbacks managed only nine points in two games.  The LSU QBs didn’t beat Bama.  Jefferson actually presented more of a challenge to the Bama D because of his running ability.