College coaches are notorious copycats. Knute Rockne's shift, the Wishbone, spread offenses -- all of these found their way around the intercollegiate gridiron world not long after their initial on-field successes.
The reason for this is easy to understand. A coach figures, if one team does something different that ends up resulting in victories, he'll see similar results by implementing that same thing in his program. Sometimes this type of mindset is a sensible idea, but there are times mimicry actually might not work as well as sticking with what one already has.
That could be the case for LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles and his quarterback situation.
The Tigers recently signed highly touted junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger in an effort to shore up a passing game that ranked dead last in the SEC in passing yards per game and 10th in passer rating.
As much as Mettenberger's signing has the look of a straightforward talent upgrade, one cannot help but think Miles and his staff might be viewing this move as having the potential to give them the next Cameron Newton. As colleague Bruce Feldman writes, Mettenberger ranks as one of the top junior college transfers to watch heading into the 2011 season.
Mettenberger is undoubtedly talented, with the skills to be a top-level collegiate passer, but after reviewing the metrics for incumbent starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, there are multiple reasons to think that he, not Mettenberger, should be the passer LSU places behind center to start the 2011 season.