Questions follow QB’s dismissal

dhale@macon.comApril 20, 2010 

ATHENS — One day after Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s surprising announcement that quarterback Zach Mettenberger had been dismissed from the program, plenty of questions remained — both on and off the field.

Mettenberger was dismissed Sunday for a violation of team rules, according to the school, but an investigation by police in Remerton stemming from an incident last month remains active.

Mettenberger was arrested March 7 outside a bar in Remerton on five charges, including obstruction, disorderly conduct, underage consumption and two counts of possession of a fake I.D. Following the arrest, Richt said Mettenberger would face a minimum suspension of one game but reserved the right to increase the punishment as he deemed necessary. Following Mettenberger’s dismissal, Georgia sports information director Claude Felton confirmed that no new incident led to the quarterback’s ouster, and Remerton police chief Mike Terrell said his investigation into Mettenberger’s arrest was ongoing.

“Our investigation into the case involving Zach Mettenberger is ongoing, and I don’t have anything further at this time,” Terrell wrote in an e-mail to The Telegraph.

Terrell also said additional details surrounding Mettenberger’s initial arrest have not been released to the media because of the ongoing investigation.

Mettenberger was not available for comment, and Felton said Richt was unlikely to discuss the matter in the near future.

While the police investigation lingers, so too does curiosity about Georgia’s quarterback position.

Mettenberger was the Bulldogs’ top performer during spring scrimmages, and some fans had him pegged as a likely starter at the position once his suspension was complete. In the G-Day game, he turned in an impressive 6-of-10 passing performance, throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns and leaving Richt to ponder the future of the position.

“I know everybody wants to know what’s going on, they want to know who the starter is, and I couldn’t name a starter right now if I wanted to,” Richt said last week.

At the time, Richt complimented Mettenberger’s focus despite his impending suspension.

“It’s not been easy on him,” Richt said. “He knows he’s in a situation where he’s not going to start the first game. He’s conscious of it. But he’s done a pretty good job of not letting it get to him.”

That was a sentiment shared by several of Mettenberger’s teammates, who thought he had done a good job of putting the arrest behind him and approaching the spring’s quarterback battle professionally.

“I think he wanted to show the fans that, ‘Yeah, I know I got in trouble, but I’m still here, I’m going to try to do my best,’ ” tight end Arthur Lynch said following the G-Day game on April 10. “I think that’s what he’s doing.”

Now the Bulldogs are down to two scholarship quarterbacks with any semblance of experience. Junior Logan Gray has just 12 passing attempts in his career, and redshirt freshman Aaron Murray — the likely favorite to top the depth chart — has a year of practice time under his belt but has never played in a game. True freshman Hutson Mason is set to arrive on campus in June.

Felton said Sunday that coaches were still completing spring exit interviews with players, and a depth chart was not likely to be made available for a few more days at the earliest.

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