Mettenberger... the Ugly Duckling

ATHENS – Zach Mettenberger wasn't allowed to speak to the media after G Day. He didn't need to.

Mettenberger did all of his talking on the field Saturday.

Mark Richt said after the stadium scrimmage that players who will be suspended are not allowed to speak with the media – a policy, the head coach said.

But Mettenberger, who was arrested in south Georgia earlier this spring on underage drinking charges (among others), make a statement Saturday without opening his mouth. The statement? I am here, and I am not going to hand this quarterback spot over to Aaron Murray… not now, and not for the next four years.

Mettenberger, who often seems misunderstood, has been the ugly duckling of the quarterbacks. He arrived to the party a little tall, heavy and slightly goofy. That, as it turns out, is slowly changing into prototypically tall, in shape and gifted.

When I fist saw Mettenberger at a summer camp in Athens a few years ago his potential was obvious. That arm can not be denied. He could throw the deep ball well then, too. But potential and one dollar only gets you a Diet Coke (actually a dollar at a Georgia sporting gets you absolutely nothing these days). Living with potential is not fun… and you can troll YouTube comments to see what sort of abuse Mettenberger has put up with over the last few years.

A sampling:

"The only reason you get picked for varsity in OCHS is if your parents are rich enough to give donations to the school."

"I'm ashamed he's going to Georgia, I might have to start cheering for another team."

"He is soo overrated!!! takes a hit like a bitch!!!"

"Seen him in real life all he has is size but leave it 2 uga to recruit a nobody"

I know YouTube is what it is – sort of like a message board – where grammatically-challenged people can, behind a handle, say whatever they'd like. But even in Watkinsville and around Athens the pushback against Mettenberger has been going on for, well, years now.

"He's only getting a scholarship because his mother works in the football office" – that's the classic and stupidest line uttered around town.

Here is the deal with Zach Mettenberger. He has the most potential of all three quarterbacks at Georgia. Of the three quarterbacks at Georgia he's come the furthest away to get where he is now. He's still immature at times – his visit to Remerton proved that – and he's got growing up to do. He's beaten back critics, but still has to overcome Aaron Murray and experience to win the job. He is fighting for the job, and on Saturday, let everyone know that he's ready to fight for the long haul.

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