Georgia Bulldog Quarterback Zach Mettenberger Kicked Off Team

April 19th, 2010- By Bryan Cross

The Georgia Bulldogs are now down to two quarterbacks competing for the starting job for the 2010 season, after redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger was dismissed from the team for breaking undisclosed team rules.

The announcement comes just a week after the Georgia spring game, in which Mettenberger performed well.  The 6-foot-5 quarterback tossed two touchdowns.  He was already going to be suspended for at least one game after a March 7 arrest stemming from underage drinking, possession of a fake ID, and belligerent behavior.

It is not clear, nor did the team elaborate as to whether Mettenberger has been named in a newer incident than the one that occurred last month.

“He’s already matured from it,” remarked rising junior quarterback Logan Gray. “Zach wishes he could take it all back. It’s definitely tough … especially going through the scrutiny.”

With the dismissal of Mettenberger, the quarterback competition will come down to Gray and redshirt freshman Aaron Murray.

Gray was the back up quarterback to Joe Cox last season, in which the Bulldogs finished a disappointing 8-5, that included a blowout loss to conference rival Florida.

Murray is a heralded quarterback from Plant City, Fla, ranked as the no.3 quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class.  Both Murray and Mettenberger finished high school early and enrolled at Georgia early to get extra time with the team.

Now however, Gray and Murray are the two candidates to replace Cox as the starter, coming off of a season in which head coach Mark Richt had to fire his entire defensive staff.  The team ranked in the bottom of the Southeastern conference in several key categories, most notably of which was turnover margin.  The Bulldogs were 117th in turnover margin last year out of 119 Division I teams.

Georgia retains the majority of their offense however, minus Cox.  The strength of the team should be the offensive line, which would help out both Gray and Murray, as the inexperienced quarterbacks will need all the time they can get.

Richt is confident in his quarterbacks however.

“They have played well all spring,” Richt said after the April 10 spring game. “They have been hitting their targets. They have had few interceptions and few bad decisions. It has been good competition. I feel we have players who can get it done.”

Gray went 10 of 17 for 132 yards and a touchdown in the spring game.  Murray completed 10 of 22 passes for 96 yards, and threw one interception.

Of the two, Gray is the only one with game-experience.  However, he has mostly appeared on special teams, often fielding punts.  In total, he has participated in 25 games and has tabbed more yardage in returns than through the air.

USA Online Sportsbooks have installed the Bulldogs as a 30/1 favorite to win the 2010-11 BCS National Championship.  They look for their first since 1980.

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