Scratching My Head on This One

It’s easy to understand most of the Penn State transfers, but this one makes no sense to me, other than someone wanting a chance to be on a team that could win a championship:

When given the chance to leave Penn State, a football program shrouded in negativity, LSU transfer quarterback Rob Bolden knew exactly where he would rather be.

“(LSU) was really the only school that I talked to,” Bolden said. “I knew the offense they ran, and I felt like I could help out.”

LSU Coach Les Miles recruited Bolden out of high school, a familiarity Bolden said contributed greatly to his eventual arrival in Baton Rouge.

“When (Miles) found out I was looking to transfer, I was on the phone with him trying to figure something out,” Bolden said.

Bolden, an Orchard Lake, Mich., native, committed to Penn State as a high school senior and played two seasons under late Nittany Lions Coach Joe Paterno. In 2010, Bolden became the first Penn State freshman to start at quarterback in 100 years. He started eight games before suffering a concussion.

I just don’t understand the reasoning.  One good look at the depth chart should have sent Bolden to any number of other schools.

14 Burning Questions for 2012: #1 – LSU

This is our last one.  Fourteen teams in the SEC and a burning question for each.  Today, we question LSU.

#1 – Is Zach Mettenberger LSU’s answer at quarterback?

Last year, the LSU Tigers finished 13-1, won the SEC championship and finished as the runner-up for the BCS title (as their team rings clearly indicate).

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 Tigers fans were happy to bid both farewell and are excited about trusting their future to Georgia transfer, Zach Mettenberger. Fans and pundits both agree that Mettenberger has better passing skills and a better upside than either Lee or Jefferson, but does it make sense for Mettenberger to fare better or have better numbers than Lee and Jefferson?  Are Tiger fans nuts for expecting a title with a guy like Mettenberger at the helm?

It really doesn’t make sense, then I remind myself that the last three BCS champs each used a first-year starter at quarterback: Greg McElroy, 2009 Alabama; Cam Newton, 2010 Auburn; and AJ McCarron, 2011 Alabama.

Given the talent LSU has returning, it is certainly possible for the Tigers to make a title run with Mettenberger. LSU returns seven starters on offense and six on defense, and maybe more importantly, returns five offensive linemen who have been full-time starters.

The Tigers return their four top rushers (Michael Ford, Spencer Ware, Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard) and two of their top three receivers (Odell Beckham and Russell Shepard).

I want to sleep tonight, so I won’t mention what their defense returns.

To me, the game plan sounds pretty easy. I find it hard to believe that Mettenberger’s stats will equal Lee and Jefferson’s numbers, so pound the rock and tell Mettenberger not to turn the ball over. All he needs to do is channel his inner McElroy.

The risk, though, is that this makes the Tigers one dimensional, and when November rolls around and the Tide comes to town, they’ll have to rely on Mettenberger to make some plays. And as we know, the Tide certainly loves a one dimensional opponent.

Last year, In the preseason, I picked LSU to beat Bama on the road and the primary reason was the Tide’s inexperience at quarterback. At this point, I’m tempted to use the same reasoning for 2012.

“Honey badgers aren’t cornerbacks.”

I love this excerpt from Adam Jacobi at CBS Sports:

The “honey badger” nickname works for Tyrann Mathieu. It totally works. People complaining about Brent Musberger using it on television (I didn’t watch the game on TV, but there were a lot of tweets grousing about it) (UPDATE: he did it 14 times) need to realize that this is a hipster’s argument about music or a big-city homebuyer’s argument amount gentrification, writ completely small. If something is enjoyable and underused, people will flock to it and you don’t get to claim it to yourself anymore. Social nature abhors a fun vacuum.

That all said, Tyrann Mathieu is fantastic at injecting himself into plays that he’s not supposed to be involved in and forcing turnovers and touchdowns. He is also 5’9″ and LSU’s third-best cover corner. So Alabama decided to run and throw right at this small defender, and surprise! He wasn’t nearly as good on an island, without an opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield.

[Emphasis added]

There was an awful lot of hype for this guy, and he’s a heck of an athlete, but the best way to decipher hype is to watch how coaches game plan for certain players: LSU’s defense of Bama’s Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson?  They respected him and threw the sink at him.  How did Bama approach the Honey Badger?  They went right after him (and wisely stayed away from Morris Claiborne).

Bobby Hebert “Questions” Les Miles

Bobby Hebert, father of LSU player T-Bob Hebert and member of the Louisiana “media,” rattles Les Miles’ cage with this “question”:

Dang, lose 21-0 in the national championship game to one of your biggest rivals and folks start jumping off the bandwagon.

This might help you feel better today, coach: