Tammy's Time Off

ATHENS – I met Tammy Mettenberger before her son Zach was the starting quarterback at LSU.

In fact, I think I met her before her son was the starting quarterback at Oconee County. I don't even remember how I met her.

And – yes – she is crazy. But not the bad crazy – the good and fun crazy.

I knew at the time, back in 2007 or so, that Zach wanted to go to Georgia. I also knew that it would be a difficult thing for his mother to go through – one way or the other. I just didn't think anyone thought it would turn out like this.

This last five years has been an odd journey for Zach, but it's hard for me not to think about his mom when I think about him.

I knew the moment I saw Zach Mettenberger that he had NFL potential. I wasn't the only one. His frame was perfect for the professional game, and his arm was as good as any I had seen at the high school level in Georgia in my time around the game.

Zach was going to have to figure out if he wanted to go to Georgia or not, but his mother was already there. Tammy had been working in the football office for some time before her son's skill set became obvious to the rest of the world. Young Zach was around the football facility a lot before he wore red and black. Naturally, he would spend a lot of time there in the summers of his high school days – taking in camps and the football life that surrounds many talented teenagers.

He decided that Georgia was the place for him in 2008. Actually, he probably decided it in fourth grade. Still, Zach, and his family, knew that Georgia was likely going to take another quarterback in that class… it turned out to be this guy named Aaron Murray from Tampa.

The two signal callers committed to the Dawgs within 82 days of one another, and they will always be linked together in one way or another. After all, they were once roommates.

Mettenberger and Murray on the sideline in 2009 (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

So it will be bizarre to see "Mett" and Murray on the field at Sanford Stadium on Saturday – totally odd in fact. But perhaps it is fitting that the two kids who came in together will leave together playing their final season head-to-head Between the Hedges where it all began in the winter of 2009 (Actually, I am not convinced this is the last time these two teams will face off against one another).

The receptions will be drastically different for the two quarterbacks, and that's understandable. But I won't be one of the folks booing Zach Mettenberger Saturday, and part of the reason why is because I know him and his mom – not the character he's been made out to be in the press, on message boards and even worse on twitter.

This did happen: Zach's poor judgment in early 2010 resulted in someone else's child being hurt enough for him to be arrested. That was bad.

I just hope that the worst of Mettenberger isn't the only thing that's remembered about him. I am also not naive enough to think it will be anything other than that. That's the way things go in the world we live in today. And that's fine, I understand that.

That's probably the reason Tammy was given this week (and from what I understand last week) off from around Georgia's football facility. She's been wearing "a little bit of purple" each week – good for her.

I'd be pulling for my kid, too.

She will be one of the thousands in purple and gold who will hear the boos fall down on the turf at Sanford Stadium when her son's name is announced. I'd love to see her reaction, but I think I already know what it will be – she will scream for her son, and then have a good laugh when its all said and done.

Then Monday she will be back at work – it remains to see how big the smile on her face will be when she arrives, but she will be smiling – perhaps happy that one way or another it is all over with.

For now at least.

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