ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt hasn't known Georgia football without Tammy Mettenberger. He calls her a "mainstay."
Former UGA player Zach Mettenberger said this summer he thinks UGA fans at Sanford Stadium would "boo the crap out of me."
"She's been with us longer than I've been at Georgia," Richt said. "... We know her, love her and trust her."
An administrative assistant in Georgia's football office, Tammy is also mother to Zach Mettenberger, a former Bulldogs signee and player who now is the starting quarterback for LSU, this weekend's opponent in a top 10 showdown at Sanford Stadium.
As a result, Tammy got the week off from work, according to Richt.
"She loves her son, I mean, obviously," Richt said. "It was be awkward for her to be hanging around all week. So she won't be in this week. I told her 'Enjoy it. Go have fun and do some things you normally wouldn't do this time of year.'
A former standout at nearby Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Zach Mettenberger enrolled at UGA in 2009 and was kicked off the team the following year in the fallout of a police-related incident in Remerton, a town in South Georgia.
Saturday will be Mettenberger's first game in Athens since his dismissal.
"I always thought that I would play between the hedges," he said, "and now it's just in a different color uniform."
Several of UGA's current players are former teammates of Zach, though Richt said he wouldn't the familiarity an issue with the team this week.
"I won't bring it up other than to try to defend the quartebrack who happens to be Zach Mettenberger," Richt said. "I mean, we're not going to be worried so much about that he's Zach Mettenberger as much as he's 6-foot-5, 230-whatever and can sling it. We just want to do the best we can to defend him and defend their offense. But I'm not going to get into anything other than he's an opponent we're trying to defeat. ...
And as for Richt himself?
"We've been knowing Zach since he was a very young kid," Richt said. "We all really like Zach and want the best for him, but we just don't want him to win the game this weekend."