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SEC Media Days 2012: Les Miles Isn't Really the LSU Story This Year

We could spend 1,000 words here saying what many of you already know about Les Miles: That his zaniness at the podium masks a pretty successful coaching mind and that his quotes always contain a nugget or two of wisdom surrounding by a syntax that makes English seem like his second language. So that when Miles declares, "I can tell you that no game is won in a Twitter page," no one really blinks any more.

The most interesting story about LSU this year might not be Miles at all, or what should be a very stacked and powerful defense. It might be Zach Mettenberger. By most accounts -- even the account of Mark Richt, who dismissed Mettenberger from the Georgia football team -- the new LSU quarterback was a good kid who made a terrible mistake.

And if all that's true, Mettenberger does seem to be genuinely trying to turn his life around and genuinely grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Mettenberger grew up almost in the shadow of the University of Georgia and at one point seemed destined to be the next starting quarterback for the Dawgs. Richt conceded that Mettenberger would be in that mix -- "competing to be the starter, if not being the starter" -- and pointed to the close ties between the program and the quarterback.

Zach, first of all, is a guy I've known since he was a little peanut. His mother Tammy has been working in our football office ever since I've been a Georgia.

But the events that led Mettenberger to plead guilty to sexual battery more than two years ago pretty much took the decision out of Richt's hands. The quarterback had to go, he spent his requisite time working through the JUCO ranks (in Kansas, of all places), and now he gets his chance to come back at LSU and prove that he's a better man than that.

According to Miles, he is. "He's a guy that really has been, since that time, really done the right things and deserves an opportunity," Miles said.

Mettenberger seemed to have adjusted to all those changes by the time he made his way to the microphone at SEC Media Days. He knows that this is a rare opportunity for anyone, especially for someone who seemed to have thrown it all away a couple of years ago.

"But it's something that I've wanted to do my whole life," he said, "and it's something I've looked forward to and I'm ready for that challenge."

Hopefully, he is. A redemption story can be a powerful thing in college football -- as long as it pans out. And given the season LSU is expected to have, it could turn into one of the most intriguing storylines in the SEC this year.