Spring camp opens in Baton Rogue with eyes firmly on quarterback Zach Mettenberger, says Death Valley Voice.
The LSU signal caller returns to run the LSU offense after handling duties in 2012. Mettenberger, a transfer from Georgia, put up pedestrian numbers in his first campaign as starter: 2609 yards on 58.8 percent completions, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Outstanding quarterback play is a dynamic that has eluded LSU in recent years. Even in the Tigers’ SEC championship 2011 campaign, Jarrett Lee was mostly just serviceable. LSU returns Jeremy Hill from an impressive freshman campaign. Hill is the kind of rare talent who could actually transcend the split workload typical among Bayou Bengal running backs.
And there is plenty of talent joining Hill with which to share that load. Alfred Blue was the leading ball carrier before going down with an injury near the season’s midway point. He is set to return, telling The LSU Reveille he is close to the level where he was playing before the knee injury.
An effective passing game will better open the field for the Tiger ball carriers, thus putting a significant onus on Mettenberger this off-season.
Bowling Green Falcons
Defensive lineman Chris Jones performed for 24 NFL scouts at Bowling Green’s pro day this week, The Toledo Blade reports.
Jones reportedly improved on his 40-yard dash time, a concern from last month’s scouting combine when he clocked in at 5.3 seconds.
Jones was one of the most productive defensive ends in college football last season, racking up 12.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss en route to Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year recognition.
With Jones as its line anchor, Bowling Green went 8-5 and finished second in the MAC East playing a very un-MACtion-like style. The Falcons were the 10th best scoring defense in the Bowl Subdivision at just 16.8 points per game allowed.
The departure of Jones to the NFL leaves a sizable hole for head coach Dave Clawson and defensive coordinator Mike Elko to fill. The process began on Wednesday with Bowling Green’s first spring practice of the season.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech begins the Conference USA era on Friday in its first spring workout. Friday also marks the first time the Bulldogs will hit the field since Sonny Dykes departed for the Cal Golden Bears job.
Dykes brought an exciting offensive style to Ruston, which yielded 17 wins over the past two seasons and made the Bulldogs college football’s highest scoring offense in 2012.
In an interesting move, La. Tech hired Skip Holtz to take over the program. Holtz flamed out with the USF Bulls, bottoming at 2-10 last season. The defensive-minded Holtz thrived in Conference USA previously though, leading the East Carolina Pirates to several prosperous seasons before replacing Jim Leavitt at USF after the 2009 campaign.
Don’t expect Holtz to move out of the fast lane that has taken Louisiana Tech places the last couple years — he hired Tony Petersen to guide the offense in January. Petersen is another C-USA alum, having coordinated the offense at Marshall.
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was the nation’s leading passer a season ago. Petersen’s style will allow Colby Cameron’s replacement to air it out akin to the NFL-bound leader of the Bulldogs’ 2012 offense. Running back Kenneth Dixon returns to Ruston, where he was the leading rushing touchdown scorer in the nation a year ago.