Long, long ago in our SEC news cycle - eight months - the combination of former UGA quarterback Zach Mettenberger's commitment to LSU and incumbent starter Jordan Jefferson's lackluster junior season under embattled coordinator Gary Crowton surely spelled a change behind center for a developing 2011 LSU team considered to be BCS Champion caliber at every position but QB.
Then a funny thing happened - the same old thing. As he had all season, head coach Les Miles stuck with Jefferson, who (by comparison to his regular season stats) "exploded" in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M - 10 of 19, 158 yards passing, 3 TDs, 1 INT. Just like that, Jefferson stood down his "last stand." and the Tigers entered Spring ball under new OC Steve Kragthorpe with Miles towing the company line for Jefferson. Mettenberger, thought to be the missing piece to a national title in 2011, fell to third on the depth chart entering fall practice.
LSU fans have never embraced Jefferson, but seemed at least content with a new offensive scheme in Krags (adios, option!) and unremarkable but consistent effort from the senior Jefferson. Now the tandem off-field effects of Kragthrope's questionable level of involvement after being diagnosed with Parkinson's and Jefferson's still-cloudy involvement in a Baton Rogue bar fight could return to the Tigers to the same uncertainty that dogged them in 2010.
This doesn't automatically open the door for Mettenberger to play this season, especially with zero damming facts against Jefferson known publicly. Miles has been ardent in his support of Jefferson, and even with a potential suspension scenario, Mettenberger would still have to compete with a slimmer and more competitive Jarrett Lee, last season's fan favorite by virtue of "anybody-but-that-guy" logic.
If Jefferson fails to maintain the consistency he showed in the Cotton Bowl buoyed by a new QB-friendlier attack, Lee or Mettenberger might see a few snaps, but expect a sequel to last Fall: much distress from fans and little action on the part of Miles.