This weekend, perennial SEC football powerhouses, LSU and Georgia, will meet in a crucial match-up in Atlanta - both teams are ranked in the top-10 nationally and have hopes for an SEC Championship, at the very least. Mark Richt, coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, decided to limit the drama and excitement to the field this week and allowed his personal secretary, Tammy Mettenberger, two weeks of paid vacation.
Why is this such an important decision for Richt and the Bulldogs? Tammy Mettenberger happens to be the mother of LSU starting quarterback, Zach Mettenberger: “She loves her son, obviously, and it would be awkward for her to be hanging around all week. I told her, ‘Enjoy it, go have fun, do some things you wouldn’t normally do this time of year and enjoy it,’ ” stated Richt on Sunday night.
Things may be a little more complicated for Zach than his mom. Mettenberger started his collegiate career vying for the starting quarterback job at Georgia against Aaron Murray, the Bulldog's current star quarterback. Following an arrest at a Georgia bar during spring break in 2010, however, Mettenberger was kicked off the team by Richt: “We’ve been knowing Zach since he was a very young kid. We all really like Zach and want the best for him but just don’t want him to win the game this weekend. That’s the only thing that’s different from normal, is we’re competing against him this week.”
Getting dismissed by Georgia's team had to be devastating for both Zach and his mother - Tammy Mettenberger has been working for Mark Richt since he became coach at Georgia in 2001. Zach stated, "I always thought that I would play between the hedges, and now it's just in a different color uniform."
Zach Mettenberger did not allow the unfortunate events at Georgia deter his professional aspirations. After being dismissed from Georgia, Zach spent a year at a community college before being offered a spot on LSU's roster. After sitting on the bench as a third-string quarterback during the 2011 season, Mettenberger got his shot at starting quarterback in 2012.
While he had a rocky season last year, Mettenberger has been one of the nation's top quarterbacks in 2013. Mettenberger ranks 2nd in SEC passing efficiency, trailing none other than Aaron Murray.
Despite his conflicting past history with Georgia, Mettenberger is approaching the game with a burning eagerness: ''I'm looking forward to Sunday morning tremendously. There's just so much put into this game that has nothing with the game that actually goes on between the snap and the whistle. The worst part is my mom has to deal with a lot of this stuff, too, and that's just unfair.''
Let's hope that the worst part is his mom's personal dilemma. LSU brings a perfect record and a No. 6 ranking into Atlanta, and almost all hopes of an SEC title and national championship run hinge on his performance in Saturday's contest.
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