What will be a big storyline in Athens next week got an early jump start this week.
Before LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger returns to Georgia to play the Bulldogs on Sept. 28, he will face another former Bulldog, Auburn‚Äôs Nick Marshall on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.
Mettenberger, a former Oconee County standout, was dismissed from Georgia in April 2010, six weeks after an arrest, and Marshall was booted along with two others in February 2012 for a violation of team rules. Both landed at other Southeastern Conference schools after stops at junior colleges.
Marshall was a cornerback at Georgia but is now Auburn‚Äôs starting quarterback.
The matchup of former Georgia players dominated the questions Georgia coach Mark Richt got on the SEC weekly teleconference on Wednesday.
‚ÄúI‚Äôll definitely be interested to see what happens,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúIt will be very interesting to watch because I know both of those guys and I‚Äôm very interested to watch because we‚Äôre going to end up playing both of those teams, as well.‚Äù
Add in Bulldogs starter Aaron Murray and that makes three starting quarterbacks in the SEC who were at one time at Georgia.
‚ÄúIt just turned out that way,‚Äù Richt said.
Richt said Marshall was first recruited by Georgia as a quarterback before the ‚Äúthought of another position came up. He started to embrace that idea. We were more than fine to play defensive back, play corner. We thought he would be a tremendous cornerback. We knew he could play quarterback. We knew the skills that he had.‚Äù
Richt watched Marshall lead a game-winning drive for Auburn against Mississippi State Saturday in a 24-20 win. He said he had a feeling before it unfolded that he could start making history at Auburn.
‚ÄúI believe in stories of redemption and stories of guys coming back from making mistakes and all that kind of thing,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúI kind of would like it to happen here at Georgia, you know. Sometimes a guy makes a mistake and you want him to turn it around while he‚Äôs here at Georgia but sometimes it happens at another time.‚Äù
Richt said earlier in his career he felt that a player should get that chance to come back and make it at Georgia but the longer he‚Äôs coached, he‚Äôs not as ‚Äúbent‚Äù on it having to be with the Bulldogs.
‚ÄúI realize that those kind of comeback stories can happen besides the school that they started out at,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm really happy for these guys.‚Äù