Zach Mettenberger will make his first start in a Southeastern Conference game and his first start away from Tiger Stadium when LSU plays at Auburn on Saturday.
Mettenberger has played well in three home games, completing more than 70 percent of his passes, but his two interceptions have both come around the opponent’s goal line.
Those turnovers, LSU coach Les Miles said, are something “we are going to get fixed.”
“He’ll understand it,” Miles said of Mettenberger. “He’s just taking steps. He can’t get too excited to score that he forces one in there. He’ll understand that it’s a quality quarterback’s want to throw a touchdown. Now we’ve got to temper that with the wisdom of when you throw it away because we have three (downs).”
Miles was asked if the risk of trying to force passes into tight places was a necessary risk with a strong-armed quarterback.
“We don’t take those risks,” he said.
Mettenberger doesn’t need to approach this game any differently than the first three, Miles said.
“He just needs to play quarterback,” Miles said. “He needs to run the plays we ask, he needs to read the way we ask him to read. We need him to go be Zach and play like we play and just relax and go. To me, that’s something he’s capable of doing.”
Mettenberger, who admitted to a few butterflies before his first college start three weeks ago, seemed unconcerned if some of them return Saturday.
“I’m going into my fourth game, so I’ll probably be a little nervous,” Mettenberger said after practice Tuesday night. “But I’ve already played some college football games, so I don’t think it will be too bad.”
Things returned to normal for the Tigers on Tuesday after their Monday practice was canceled due to the campus-wide evacuation due to a bomb threat. Several players said one benefit of the cancellation was being able to rest their bodies more.
“We don’t ever like a day off,” offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk said. “But it just so happened we had one Monday. We’ve got great technology so we’re able to watch film at our houses and a lot of guys did that. Not having to be on our feet gave us fresher legs today.”
Dworaczyk said he expects to be OK for Saturday after sustaining a calf bruise against Idaho last week.
Even though wide receiver Russell Shepard is one of the Tigers’ elder statesmen, Miles said the senior is still learning. Shepard had three catches and three rushes against Idaho last week.
“He had a nice game,” Miles said. “I think he needs to continue that course. I think his practice has been much more sincere. I think he still gets better. He can still perform at an even higher level than he has.
“He continues to improve. He’s working hard at practice. He’s taking strides that he ought to and he needs to continue to. Just because a guy catches a couple of balls doesn’t mean he did it all right The importance of doing everything right is a responsibility of all of our players I think our guys are getting to that. I think they recognize it and I think Russell is understanding it better and better.”
Junior running back Michael Ford hadn’t returned a kickoff in the first two games or his previous two seasons. But after three returns for 99 yards, Ford looks like he’ll be doing a lot more kick returning.
“Michael Ford had a smile on his face back there,” Miles said. “He came out at the right spot. He has great speed and he’s a physical runner with the ball. It seemed second nature to him. We’d like him to do that the rest of the season as best he can.”
Ford led the Tigers in rushing last season with 756 yards and is third this season with 107 yards.
Junior safety Eric Reid seemed excited about participating in the fall elections when he tweeted Tuesday, “Just registered to vote!!”
Reid said his mother, Sharon, had been telling him he should register to vote. When a Department of Motor Vehicles mobile unit showed up at the football facility Tuesday to expedite the players getting their necessary IDs for the trip to Auburn, the Tigers were also given the opportunity to register to vote. Reid signed up.
He said he planned to vote in November, provided practice didn’t get in the way. When informed that the polls are usually open from 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Reid said, “then it looks like I’ll get the chance.”
Reid hesitated when asked if he would like to reveal his choice for president.
“I think I’ll keep that private he said. “I’ll keep to football and stay away from politics.”
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