Second Quarter Action of 2012
We found out on Monday night from former Heisman Trophy winner and native Texan Ty Detmer that Johnny’s going up against two seniors as a “freshman” with three seasons of eligibility remaining. No other underclassmen are even close in the voting, or they’d have been invited. Barring something unforeseen happening, Johnny is ‘college football’ for the next three seasons. Then again, he was ‘college football’ this season.
Pop a top on this one. If he comes up short, imagine the fire we’ll see in
his eyes; well, maybe not, but it’ll darn sure be there underneath the surface.
At some point in every player’s career, he or she realizes their true value.
Johnny knows his. Whatever the outcome, Johnny Football will be smiling.
The “Instant Replay” continues as I follow game-by-game the exploits of
Johnny Football as seen through the eyes of the youngest quarterback to step on
a college field (at our own one yard-line inside Kyle, by the way.) This was
truly an inspirational year for Aggies and football fans everywhere. You’ve read
about the pre-season and the first two games, and in our second edition we delve
a little further into the excellent leadership and quarterbacking skills this
young man exhibits, still so early in his career.
I closed the last article by commenting after the SMU game that Johnny
Manziel was the phenom the Aggies had long been waiting for. Just as Johnny’s
season remains a standard for the ages in the SEC and college football, the
words here remain constant and unchanged from the original. Here’s more of the
Post-Game Read for South Carolina State
The Aggies are currently ranked 11th nationally in scoring, 12th in points
allowed and 13th in yards allowed per game. Even with all the fireworks the Ags
have been displaying of late, they only rank 37th nationally in total offense.
Perhaps the other 36 teams have played even daintier light-weights than the
Aggies have, or perhaps haven’t pulled their starters as quickly. Or haven’t
played Florida. Regardless, most stats this early in the season are for old men
sitting around drinking coffee in the early morning, somewhat similar to
Everything else statistically should go into the ‘on hold’ file waiting for
further evidence, with one primary exception: Johnny Manziel is a slick,
trigger-happy madman who has yet to see his first interception or lost fumble.
This is truly a rare accomplishment considering the number of opportunities he
gets handling the football while orchestrating the jet stream offense of the
Southeastern Conference. His vision alone would probably set records in contests
involving the Magic Eye 3D images of the 90’s. He sees things others can’t in a
fraction of the time. His running and passing thus far have provided the Aggies
with 7.3 yards per play. In the other 100 plays void of his direct involvement,
they have averaged 4.85.
Hey, all good for sure, but I think you know where I’m coming from. This guy
can do it all. I predict there will soon be an enormous trend among the young
kids in Texas to ask their coaches for the No. 2 jersey for years to come.
The Aggies have a real shot at being 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference when
LSU hits town Oct. 20. Should LSU continue to find its patented escape routes as
the season progresses, that day could be a momentous one for the SEC and both
institutions. This Saturday’s game marks the spot.
Post-Game Read for Arkansas
The young man leading the charge is here among us. He’s the one you weren’t
sure about when you first saw him play. You remember, right? After the first few
series of action netted 17 points for the home team, he seemed too good to fail,
yet that day he did. Regardless, he seemed to have a “dazzleability” separating
him from anyone who had ever been under center on Kyle Field. “Ever” is a lot of
history to backtrack on. It’s not that these individuals were necessarily
slower, or didn’t have the pinpoint accuracy, or strength of arm, or a hundred
other intangibles necessary to man the position. No, this guy was just
different, period, and it’s kind of hard to nail it down. He’s like the silver
ball in the old-time pinball machines.
He didn’t look all that big physically, but he seemed extraordinarily gutsy
for such a rookie, faking pitches to imaginary running backs as he sprinted down
field full-steam ahead. Somehow he had boldness and daring that were never
betrayed, and an unbridled recklessness that bore not a single fault. “His style
of play will be his downfall,” you said. “Too much run and not enough gun.”
You’d have to take in another performance of his, or two, or maybe even
three, just to be sure this young man deserved the moniker of “special.” Your
eyes have yet to betray you, friend. Just as sure as the sun will rise in the
morning, the football gods have judged that now is your time and he is your
Sure, this young man seemingly came out of nowhere, somehow unheralded
because of the star that played in front of him for a season, the one whose
single-game passing record he already owns. During this “down” time he was busy
taking it all in, studying how to attack defenses and getting his feet on the
ground, biding his time and eying the competition. The coaching decision to sit
him out his first year was undeniably the correct one. There would be no
pressure to win and carry a team on his shoulders quite yet, and as a rule,
third-teamers are normally not called upon for active duty. Even after spring
training, he hadn’t risen above the shoreline, but once the money was placed,
his name was called with total conviction.
That name was Johnny Manziel. Johnny is going places and taking us with him
for the ride. The swiftness of his arrival matches only the coolness coming from
underneath the No. 2 jersey we’ve watched zinging and flinging recently. The
music he shares has the artistry and brilliance of a Bach, Beethoven or a
Beatle, and the calmness of a smooth mountain lake just before sundown. For the
first time in years, decades, perhaps ever, we have standing before us the
epitome of spontaneity, splendidly functioning within an offensive system
inspired by the ideals of absolute freedom. It is the creation of a discipline
as intricate in design as any that will ever be devised, with its outer limits
approached only in proper doses. Where Johnny goes comfortably, this system will
follow. This is as it should be. This is how you don’t screw him up.
Soul cleansing was what this particular rain was all about. Wash away your
troubles; wash away your shame. By the time the rain had finished its work, the
Aggies had slaughtered the dumbfounded Hogs in a manner only Alabama would
understand. When it began pouring down the hardest in the third quarter, the
coaches responded by emptying the backfield of running backs and going
five-wide. Next, they had Johnny start throwing completion after completion in
fast-motion with that slippery wet football all the way down the field. Now that
The weather doesn’t dictate to us. We dictate, no matter what.
Do we call this the Honey Badger Offense?
Hey, if you don’t love cocky, you just might be in the wrong building. Did
you hear the announcers saying the Aggies should let up some near the end? Are
you kidding us? Embrace it.
The 58 points scored by the Aggies are the most ever scored in the series
covering 69 games. One can only imagine what the score could have been had the
Aggies not failed to convert on 8 of their 12 third-downs. Regardless, all told
the Aggies amassed 32 first downs and 717 yards, the third-highest yards total
in school history.
Manziel passed for a school record 453 yards and three touchdowns and ran for
another score while adding 104 yards on 14 carries. He has now thrown for 10
touchdowns without an interception and has another six scores on the ground.
Johnny averaged 10.7 yards per play when running or passing against Arkansas.
This is an astounding number when considering the number of plays he was
involved in. He is now up to 8.3 yards per play for the season. Bo Wallace of
Mississippi in comparison averages 6.13.
Now to the individual hardware: Johnny’s 557 total yards broke the SEC record
of 540 previously held by Archie Manning of Mississippi vs. Alabama in 1969 and
Rohan Davey of LSU vs. Alabama in 2001. As a result, Manziel was named SEC
Offensive Player of the Week and offensive tackle Jake Matthews was named SEC
Offensive Lineman of the Week, for good measure.
Manziel’s NCAA Quarterback Rating (170.9) is now ranked 10th in the country
and third in the SEC, behind Aaron Murray of Georgia (3rd) and Alabama’s A. J.
McCarron (7th), both Heisman Trophy candidates. A&M ranks 12th in total
offense per game in the NCAA and second in the SEC behind Georgia (11th).
My recommendation to the current Ole Miss staff would be to
pull out some old film from the Manning era and see how the other SEC teams
tried to stop him. Manziel is every bit the double threat that Manning was and
also does some of his finest work while scrambling to the corners. Each threw
equally well going to his left, or to his right, and both were tough to bring
The great thing now is, we’re not in that Aggie Wishbone!
Go, Johnny, Go!!
[Heisman Trophy voter Mike Huguenin explains why Johnny Manziel should take home the Trophy as a redshirt freshman]
Post-Game Read for Mississippi
Former SEC Offensive Player of the Week, Johnny “No Fail” Manziel, hadn’t
shown the Midas touch for the first three-plus quarters. Sure, he’d broken a few
nice runs and hit a few throws, but Ole Miss was proving too quick and forceful
up front for the “Who Dat’ Kid” to rise above this particular fray. He hadn’t
been around long enough in this league to know it isn’t far from the penthouse
to the outhouse. Heck, this “Johnny Come Lately” hadn’t even played outside of
the state of Texas in his entire life — No worries here.
Running back Ben Malena then slipped through the line for a run of 36 yards
to the Ole Miss 29. From there, Manziel found another opening, and on a run that
resembled a playground “two below” game, he ran somewhat untouched the necessary
29 yards for a touchdown. This culminated an official 88-yard drive that was
actually one of 99.7 yards, technically speaking.
Somehow the whale had spewed Johnny out of its mouth, for no particular
reason; perhaps just to tease the visitors and their supporters. What fun this
The extra-point kick was missed, of course, and Aggies everywhere began
reminding themselves once again of who they were, and once again sunk deeper
into depths of despair. “Well, we are the Aggies, now aren’t we?”
One minute and 16 seconds later, Ryan Swope was waving the football in the
air in the end zone after he and Manziel had caught the Ole Miss secondary
playing man coverage and lining up having already been beaten. Swope’s perfect
corner route was complimented by the perfect throw as A&M kept its two wide
receivers decoying short inside routes while sending Swope deep behind them. It
was great execution at a pivotal point in the drive – and in the game. Five
minutes earlier the Rebels and their fans had been reveling in their presumed
victory but it was far from over. Coach Sumlin’s stun gun offense had them
moaning and writhing in pain when least expected.
By remaining poised, alert and confident, Manziel now trails only Alabama’s
AJ McCarron in the NCAA Quarterback Rating among SEC quarterbacks and is ranked
No. 12 nationally. Meanwhile, the Aggies are celebrating their first top 25
ranking as a member of the SEC, coming in at No. 23 in the A.P. and 21st in the
USA Today. Seven teams from the conference are now represented in the polls.
Interestingly, A&M and its next opponent, the LA Tech Bulldogs, rank 22nd
and 23rd in the ESPN Power Rankings, respectively.
Unfortunately, this will be the final game of the season where victory is
expected right in step with offensive stats that will continue to be padded. The
levels of competition, philosophies and game faces will change dramatically
after the Tech game, when wins and losses become the only gauge of success and
stats become secondary. The term “field position” will come back into play in
huge quantities. I look forward to the tests these outstanding opportunities
will present for our strategies and personnel. We’re looking forward to a
hard-fought, thrilling football game this weekend. The experts predict an Aggie
victory by the score of 40-32, which certainly sounds reasonable.
All kinds of Texas A&M records could fall. Let’s just hope they’re all on
the offensive side of the ball — stun-gun style.
Next Up – Louisiana Tech