Former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made some adjustments to LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger's mechanics last year, and the result helped the fifth-year senior become one of the college game's most promising NFL draft prospects at his position. Cameron, in his first year as LSU's offensive coordinator, oversaw not only marked improvement from Mettenberger, but in the Tigers' offense as a whole.
In Mettenberger, however, some very specific changes were made to help him reach his potential.
"I watched his lower body and he was, basically, a little too elongated. He'd overstride. We worked on getting his feet up underneath of him and make everything he was doing more compact. What happened is that he got better balance," Cameron said, according to shreveporttimes.com. "We had him flex his knees a little more. Everything started happening better for him. He was more accurate. The ball came out quicker. He could move in the pocket better with the subtle movements you need. Everything was just streamlined. And the numbers speak for themselves."
Indeed, they did.
Mettenberger completed 192 of 296 passes for 3,082 yards, 22 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. After tearing an ACL in his knee in the regular-season finale against Arkansas, he missed LSU's bowl win over Iowa and has been on an impressive rehab pace since undergoing surgery to repair the damage.
As a junior, before Cameron joined the LSU staff, Mettenberger threw just 12 touchdown passes with seven interceptions, and his completion percentage wasn't as good, either (59 percent vs. 65 percent). Cameron also believes Mettenberger has the necessary intangibles for the NFL, as well.
"Guys in the NFL will respond to his work ethic, toughness and personality," he said. "He's a low-maintenance guy. He's not a guy looking for publicity. He'll keep going as they all do. He was so much fun to coach. He has nothing but great things in front of him."
Mettenberger said he believes he would have improved regardless, but credited Cameron nonetheless for an improved approach.
"Having coach Cameron come in really was a blessing for me. His track record shows he's one of the great ones. He's coached up quarterbacks and made them into All-Pros. He really laid down the foundation for me to think and approach the game like an NFL quarterback," he said. "That's really the biggest thing he helped me with this past season."
Mettenberger (6-foot-5, 235 pounds) said he will be ready to throw for NFL scouts before the May 8-10 draft, most likely at the LSU pro day. He is among the prospects who have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine this month and will attend, but might do little or no more than conduct interviews and submit to medical exams.