LSU QB Mettenberger says ‘God had different path’ than UGA

HOOVER, Ala. – A short time ago I had the pleasure of having a semi-exclusive interview with LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger before he began to make the media rounds here at the Wynfrey Hotel. A couple of LSU beat writers and I were able to spend 10 minutes talking to Mettenberger in the Buckingham Room here soon after he and his coach and teammates arrived for SEC Media Days.

Mettenberger is, of course, a former Georgia player who was dismissed from the team shortly before pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery in the spring of 2010. He grew up in Watkinsville, Ga., as a huge Georgia fan and his mother has worked in the Bulldogs’ football office for 10 years.

Now he finds himself as the starting quarterback for national championship-contender LSU. You need to know nothing more than the fact that the Tigers chose to bring him to Media Days despite Mettenberger having never started a game to know how they feel about him.

I’m writing a story that will appear in tomorrow’s print section — and online as well — but I wanted to go ahead and share the interview I had with Zach as a Q&A since it’s the most extensive opportunity I’ve had to talk to him since he left for Butler Community College in Kansas in the summer of 2010.

So here you go . . .

Q: Were you surprised that LSU asked you to represent the team here today?

A: “Not really. I’ve just been working hard to be a leader on the team and I think the coaches have seen that hard work in me. They believe I’m a well-spoken individual who’s capable of representing this team. It means a lot that they had that trust in me to let me come here and know that I’m going to represent the team well. I’m a little nervous being here, but if I can get through these butterflies then I’m going to be all right.”

Q: Does it feel like a practice run?

A: “It’s kind of a big first practice [laughs].  There’s a lot of people here. I’m just going to try to have fun today and learn from it.”

Q: How does is feel to now be the undisputed starting quarterback?

A: “I’m very comfortable. It’s definitely a lot different. I guess I won’t really know until we get on the field and start playing.”

Q: Have you spent much time contemplating the event that got you to this place?

A: “No, not really. My Mom working at Georgia and being at Georgia my whole life, I thought I’d be at Georgia now. But that’s not how God wanted it. That’s not the path he had for me. So I’ve dealt with the adversity and I think I’ve handled myself pretty well. So I’ve just got to keep working every day to better myself as a player and a person.”

Q: Is it your ultimate desire to face Georgia in the SEC Championship Game?

A: “Just getting to the SEC Championship Game my first year as a starter would mean a lot. It wouldn’t matter who we played. Regardless, it’s a goal I have this year. Hopefully we can get there.”

Q: What do you think it would be like facing Georgia?

A: “It’d be, not awkward, but it’d be kind of funny seeing all my old roommates and old buddies over on the other sideline and playing against them. It’s something I look forward to, but not any more than if we played South Carolina or Florida.”

Q: Do you have any Georgia gear anymore?

A: “No I don’t actually. I left it all at my house in Watkinsville.”

Q: Have you been back home much since leaving UGA?

A: “Maybe three or four times I’ve been back. I don’t get back a lot. I don’t have a lot of time to drive 10 hours and go see my parents. When they have a chance they come see me as much as I can.”

Q: When were you last in the Athens area?

A: “Actually I was there over spring break. I was in Gulf Shores (Ala.) and I just drove up to Athens one day and showed up at Mom’s work. It was a surprise for her. She was happy to see me and I was glad I did that.

Q: Did it feel strange being in enemy territory like that?

A: “It’s different, but it’s my hometown. It’s really not awkward or weird for me to go back. A lot of those coaches have known me since I was 10 years old.”

Q: Did you get a chance to visit with your old position coach, Mike Bobo?

A: “I saw him. We had a good talk. That’s a guy I’ve known since he was a G.A. for Georgia and my mom first got the job. It’s been great having him as almost a father-figure in my life. He gave me some good advice while I was back home.”

Q: Are you still good friends with any of the Georgia players?

A: “Me and Aaron are definitely good friends. We lived together for a year. I know we had the competition but, despite that, we’re very good friends. I roomed with Dallas Lee, Austin Long, Blake Sailors. Blake and I went to high school together and I grew up with him. So there are a lot of guys I’m really good friends with.”

Q: Are parents going to LSU games?

A: “Yeah, as many as they can make. I can’t wait to see them. Hopefully they can make them all.”

Q: Doesn’t your mom go to all the Georgia games?

A: “She hasn’t been to a Georgia game since I left.”

Q: Is there something behind that?

A: “No, she supports everybody on that team because my buddies are all like sons to her. But because I’m not playing there’s really no point for her to go. She’d rather stay home and watch it on TV.

Q: How has being the starting quarterback changed you?

A: “I’m just trying to everyday develop my leadership ability. This team doesn’t have a lot of leaders right now, so we need some guys to step into that role. I’ve been working hard every day trying to get the guys to rally around me to be the offensive leader. We’re just trying to make the offense better and hopefully we can go out there this year and execute.”

Q: Are you feeling any pressure about the position you’re in?

A: “Not really. I was just telling somebody, I’d rather be in The Swamp right now playing a night game than talking to all you guys. I’ve never really gotten nervous before a football game. I don’t know what it is about me but that’s the way it’s been since peewee and high school is over. I really haven’t gotten nervous.”

Q: Word is you guys are going to be airing it out behind your big arm this season. That true?

A: “I’m definitely excited. As long as I can get the ball in the hands of the playmakers on our team, my job is easy. If we have to run the ball 100 times I’m will to do that. I’m here to win ballgames, not to promote myself as a quarterback, just to be a winner for LSU.”

Q: Are your parents still big Georgia fans?

A: “Both of my parents are more LSU fans now than Georgia fans now. That’s just because they love me and support me so much.”

FULL AJC COVERAGE FROM DAY 2 OF SEC MEDIA DAYS:

FULL AJC COVERAGE FROM DAY 1 OF SEC MEDIA DAYS:

245 comments Add your comment

bucket

July 18th, 2012
5:40 pm

I wish Mettenberger nothing but the best, but he needs to realize God didn’t make him get thrown off the team. That was his decision and God forgave him and allowed him to have a second chance. I hope he makes the best of his playing time unless it is UGA vs LSU in the SECCG!

chavez

July 18th, 2012
5:43 pm

If god had wanted you to go to lsu, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have taken the sexual assault route.

cdpridg

July 18th, 2012
5:44 pm

I wish him the very best…but I dont think God had much to do with his behavoir in Valdosta Ga

Palm City Dawg

July 18th, 2012
5:45 pm

Palm City Dawg

July 18th, 2012
5:47 pm

We have gotta kick LSU’s Butt

Dawg Haus

July 18th, 2012
5:50 pm

Well said, bucket!

Joe T

July 18th, 2012
5:50 pm

I think the kid is saying that after the problems at Georgia happened…..God opened the door at LSU and he is doing well there. I agree totally that God didnt want him to committ a crime of sexual assault but rather….will take us when we do make a mess and work it out for us. I hope that is what he is saying at least!

Bernie Matt

July 18th, 2012
5:52 pm

Dont know about the sex charges, but from what i saw, he was better the Murray, while he was here!

TommyP

July 18th, 2012
5:55 pm

What a disgusting answer. “God had different path?” Zack, YOU chose this path. It was bad enough what you did in that bar but then you went outside and made it worse. Then you came home and lied to Richt’s face.

Guess that was God’s path for you? Geez…

Pj

July 18th, 2012
5:55 pm

This is a great kid who did an extremely immature and stupid thing. I hope you goes 12-0 and loses to uga in the title game. He will be an NFL qb in 2 years.

lil_bit1

July 18th, 2012
6:00 pm

Im glad some of you know God so well that you know how He personally deals with Zach. Thruth is, you can not say that God didn’t allow Zach’s actions just to bring him where he is now, spiritually, physically and mentally.

Jason in Gainesville

July 18th, 2012
6:01 pm

I don think he can credit or blame God for doing something so stupid to get kicked off the UGA squad. Have some responsibility for your own actions and grow up.

Game Changer

July 18th, 2012
6:01 pm

Hutson Mason is better than aaron murray but will never get to play. The canning at UGA will give Mett an opportunity to play QB at a great college and venue each week not the mention the millions now obtainable after getting away from richt and UGA.

H Mason should have transferred to VANDY, sat out this year and started the last two years giving himself a chance at Pro football. Never will happen at UGA unless AM gets hurt whcih no one wishes on any player.

J Jenkins, IS HE GOING TO BE ELGIBLE FOR 2012?

True ATL Fan

July 18th, 2012
6:01 pm

Yeah this one stings because we all know the Mettenberger is slightly better than Murray skill-wise…decision-making is still up in the air. And the whole “God chose this path” part…maybe, maybe not because he works in mysterious ways, but I don’t think making someone else a victim is God’s way of paving a path. Dude is not on our team anymore so we really shouldn’t care too much. How about some interviews with current players please.

bitter spoiled recruit

July 18th, 2012
6:02 pm

Frigg-in hypocryates———-Who hasn’t grabbed a girl in a crowed bar

sexaul assault my a$$——rumor has it her boy-friend caught her and mett messing around and

she cryed wolf—————She through mett under the bus———–women, cant live with them

————————————-cant hit em either, “O” know the cops just arrived too put me

in jail for my thoughts, mett and the dawg nation got screwed that night—–not mett

Danny G

July 18th, 2012
6:02 pm

I think God has a plan for him alright, but he might not like the results. What a piece of dung.

bitter spoiled recruit

July 18th, 2012
6:03 pm

one too many————yaa

Sam

July 18th, 2012
6:04 pm

I wonder how the victim of his sexual assault is doing?

Red Dog 77

July 18th, 2012
6:05 pm

Mettenberger has nothing on Aaron Murray skill-wise. He has a bigger arm and a height advantage. That’s it. Murray has all the tools. Unless, of course, you know more than the Manning brothers, who said as much last week.

Charlie Hayes

July 18th, 2012
6:06 pm

What a joke! God led him to where he is today. Yeah, God would really force you to do harm to a girl. Idiot. Glad CMR cut you loose. Sounds like CMR needs to cut his mom loose to. That way she can just move to LSU with her MettenBaby.

There should be a new rule. If you are thrown off a team in D1 football then you cannot ever play D1 football again. There shouldn’t be additional chances for low lifes that cannot follow the rules the first time. There are so many more kids that deserve a college scholarship but instead we give two, three, four and five chances to idots like Mettenberger, Crowell and the likes. The NCAA should step up and put a rule like this in place.

bitter spoiled recruit

July 18th, 2012
6:08 pm

@GAME CHANGER—-Hudson is the starter waiting in the wings—–murry knows this, and the pressure has already got to him in the spring game.

When murry throws 3 int’s before half time. well we will see. Sorry murry im a MASON FAN

I gave you two years

cdpridg

July 18th, 2012
6:10 pm

Charlie hayes….100 percent agreement

Yeah Doggie

July 18th, 2012
6:12 pm

I wonder if Zach likes the path God chose for his victim.

RJC

July 18th, 2012
6:13 pm

Mason is a taller Joe Cox. Brings nothing to the table. If Lemay isn’t ready to go by the time Murray leaves, it will speak volumes about him. If UGA is lucky, Murray will stay two more years, Lemay will get one or two, then Brice Ramsey will take over. If Mason finds his way into the fold, something is very wrong.

For Petes sake

July 18th, 2012
6:21 pm

Why do we have to even use the God language anyway Mett? Just keep God out of it. God has his hands feeding the poor, trying to heal the sick, and what you did was a mistake and just say I was immature, I am sorry,and I am so grateful for a second chance. Geez people, leave God alone when it comes to sports and movies and crap.

Dawglasville

July 18th, 2012
6:22 pm

Don’t know where to start. He had to go. I hope the kid learned from his mistake and is sorry for the impact he made on the young woman’s life. Go Dawgs.

Spanky

July 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

bucket, once again, spot on!!

alpha male

July 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

Next time you idiots complain and cry about how assinine Bama fans are, come back and read this blog. UGA fans are well represented here. You have got to be proud.

Pj

July 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

Some of the comments on this blog are making me sick – everybody makes mistakes and Zach made an enormous one. If we were all punished for life for something we did at 18 years old, none of us would have jobs. My family knows his, and I can tell you first hand: he is a great kid who did something colossally stupid. He paid the price, got a second chance somewhere else and has done everything right since he got it. Les Miles wouldn’t have brought him to media days if he wasn’t convinced mett had his stuff together. Glass houses people. Don’t be hypocrites.

Truth

July 18th, 2012
6:27 pm

There is no God. Everyone makes their own decisions. There is no zombie son of God either. Jesus may have lived back in the day but he wasn’t the son of God, he was a spiritual teacher. Live for today, not for the promise of a happy afterlife. What good does that do for the world we all know and live in? Not the next life some believe in.

falcon fred

July 18th, 2012
6:30 pm

Hey Charlie Hayes, that was a less than brilliant post you made at 6:06…do everyone a favor and refrain from posting nonsense again.

Destin Dawg

July 18th, 2012
6:32 pm

Mason can do it given a chance.. we might need him.. he had huge #’s at Lassitter H.S.. I ‘m sure we all made mistakes like Mett on spring Break.. I know I did .. Good luck at LSU Zach !!

falcon fred

July 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

Chip should have never allowed there to be comments on this story. Just a conduit for ignorant UGA fans to insult this kid and his family. And to think, in you idiots eyes, he was a DGD. UGA fans are the worst in the SEC, bar none.

Rationale

July 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

Bucket, well said. Does God forgive? Yes. Did He cause the stupid event that caused him to have to leave UGA? No. Within His Omniscience know how to work these things out? Definitely. Could Mettenberger have chosen a better way to say what I think he was trying to say? Without a doubt. God forgives. Go forward young man, but may you lose every game you play against UGA.

Rationale

July 18th, 2012
6:36 pm

Truth? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles testify to the fact that they knew Him after He had risen from the dead, and give them the courage to literally give up their lives for Jesus Christ, and die brutal deaths?

Ya Yak

July 18th, 2012
6:38 pm

See you guys cannot even make it into practice and UGA morons are already calling for Hutson Mason over Aaron Murray. Eating your own is the UGA way.

DP

July 18th, 2012
6:42 pm

Zach wanted to play at UGA but God told him to get drunk and sexually assault a girl at a bar. Therefore Zach wasn’t really responsible, it was just God’s plan.

Absolutely pathetic.

Truth

July 18th, 2012
6:45 pm

Rationale, because it’s a book. Were you around then? In other news, good luck to Mettenberger just not when they play UGA in the SEC championship.

GTBob

July 18th, 2012
6:49 pm

Personally, I am rooting for Mettenberger. I don’t support his actions, but Athens has the ability to change good young men for the worse. Getting out of there and getting a fresh start will be good for his life and his career.

DP

July 18th, 2012
6:55 pm

GTrollBob, so it wasn’t God who made him do it, it was Athens. Pathetic, as always.

DawgNation

July 18th, 2012
7:03 pm

Great comment bucket.

TXDAWG3

July 18th, 2012
7:04 pm

@ lil_bit1…you said “Im glad some of you know God so well that you know how He personally deals with Zach. Thruth is, you can not say that God didn’t allow Zach’s actions just to bring him where he is now, spiritually, physically and mentally.”

———-

The truth really is that any person that has read the Bible will be able to say with confidence that God had nothing to do with Mettenberger’s choice of actions. God did not make him do anything or encourage him to commit his actions.

Simply put…God could not have been involved in Mettenberger’s actions because had HE had anything to do with Mettenberger’s actions, then that would make God just as guilty. If God was guilty of doing anything wrong, then God would immediately cease being God because HE would be less than holy and perfect. Therefore, God was not involved in a sinful act.

The good news is that God is a God of forgiveness and grace. His unmerited grace extends toward everyone that asks for forgiveness of any sinful behavior. Let’s assume that Zach is genuinely sorry for his actions and has asked for God’s forgiveness. According to the Bible (God’s authoritative word), God forgives everyone that comes to Him in repentance and puts their sinful past as far as the east is from the west.

Consequently, since God has forgiven Zach Mettenberger and knowingly acts as though it has never occurred, shouldn’t the rest of us forgive the young man and hope that he moves on with his life in a positive manner? Everyone makes mistakes.

Zach has tried to move on to a new opportunity…support him…encourage him…be happy for him.

Game Changer

July 18th, 2012
7:09 pm

Funny crap on this one:

You religious freaks post some funny stuff —

@rationale – it is a bunch of short stories written by man, translated three times, many chapters left out on purpose by christians faiths, the character Jesus was missing from 12 to 30 years of age.
Is thier a God, probably, is it what all you religious make things out to fit your needs, HELL NO.

GTBobsallnightlong

July 18th, 2012
7:10 pm

Ive never seen anyone troll another board like your fruity self. Get a life.

7576DAWG

July 18th, 2012
7:11 pm

I don’t think Mettenberger meant to say it like that but it’s to bad that he had to learn the hard way. What will get you kicked off Georgia faster than anything is to lie to Richt, that’s where he draws the line. Sounds like Mett. is a lot more mature now than he was when he got into trouble but it does should like he and his family does have at least a small grudge and if that is the case neither he or his family think what he did warranted him getting kicked off. I hope he doesn’t have a sister because I still don’t hear any deep sorrowful regret. I paid my debt is all I am hearing. What he did was a felony but to keep him out of jail and Pro football the victim must have agreed to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.
I have two daughters and I guarantee he wouldn’t be at LSU right now if he had done that to one of them. I wouldn’t have been so easy .

Game Changer

July 18th, 2012
7:14 pm

@TXDAWG4

FUNNY TALK

peachfuzz

July 18th, 2012
7:16 pm

Now ole Christian Lemay, son of a preacher, made whoopee during the time of books, then got kicked off his HS team, then got offered by UGa. All as a result of God’s divine providence.

tony

July 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Mettenberger definately beat out Murray in that g-day and I was very disappointed that he was kicked off the team. No, God did not lead Mettenberger to do wrong no more than he led Mr Richt to kick him off the team.

Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Game Changer

July 18th, 2012
7:20 pm

guns, drug arrest, dui arrest, assault females, sexual assaults, high school blow jobs

ALL IN THE NAME OF God — FUNNY

DP

July 18th, 2012
7:23 pm

“What will get you kicked off Georgia faster than anything is to lie to Richt”

Unless my recollection is bad, Washaun Ealey hit a car in a parking lot while driving with an expired license after telling Mark Richt that he wouldn’t drive with an expired license and he didn’t get kicked off Georgia’s team until after the next season and another problem or two.