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Mettenberger Could Come Back To Haunt Richt, Georgia

Well it didn’t take long for Zach Mettenberger to start getting looks from schools willing to give him a second chance.  The former UGA quarterback who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery this week is now expected to visit Louisville later this month.

That would be the same Louisville coached by former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

And here’s the kicker — that would be the same Louisville that opens the 2011 season at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.

Wherever Mettenberger goes, he will have to sit out the 2010 season due to NCAA transfer rules.  So if he does go to Louisville, he would be eligible to face Georgia in 2011 and 2012 (in Louisville).

Here’s the question: Will Mark Richt attempt to put any stipulations on where Mettenberger can transfer?

In most cases, coaches nix any attempts for a player to transfer inside the conference.  But there are exceptions.

In the mid-2000s, LSU allowed Rick Clausen to transfer to Tennessee.  He returned to beat the Tigers in Baton Rouge in a 2005 overtime game.

And while it wasn’t a transfer situation, Richt’s own efforts to help linebacker Jamar Chaney led to the future All-SEC linebacker landing at rival Mississippi State.

Richt has shown that he’s interested in helping young men as best as he can.  For that reason, I can see him allowing Mettenberger to start anew wherever he likes. 

But UGA’s nice guy coach should pay particular attention to the Clausen-LSU situation. 

Georgia fans weren’t happy with last year’s 8-5 record.  With a completely rebuilt defense and a new quarterback in 2010, who’s to say that Bulldogs will take a major step forward?  There are no guarantees in anything, folks.

So let’s say Georgia deals with a four-loss season this fall.  That would mean that with nine losses in his last two years, Richt might head into his 2011 season opener against a player he dismissed.  Lose that one and the Dawgs would really start to howl.

Now, before you email me let me say that I know UGA fans are behind Richt on the Mettenberger dismissal right now.  But if Aaron Murray struggles and Mettenberger comes back to haunt the Bulldogs, their initial support of Richt’s discipline will be forgotten.

Since Mettenberger is already planning a trip to Louisville, it looks as though this conversation is moot.  It appears that he’s free to transfer anywhere he likes.  I don’t think that’s a good thing.  In this instance Richt should put his own skin first and prevent Mettenberger from transferring to any school that is lined up to appear on UGA’s schedule.

And remember, there’s another tricky angle to all of this.  Mettenberger’s mother has been an employee in the Bulldogs’ football office for years.  How uncomfortable might things get if Richt doesn’t allow her son to go to Louisville?  Or if her son returns to Athens to face Georgia?

This story just keeps on keeping on.

And for the record, Mettenberger is also expected to visit Cincinnati.




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