All indications are that under-the-NCAA-microscope quarterback Johnny Manziel will suit up and start for Texas A&M against Rice on Saturday. By all accounts he’s taken his usual number of reps in practice. And in slapping a Manziel-related gag order on the Aggie staff and players, AD Eric Hyman conspicuously referred to last year’s Heisman-winner as A&M’s “starting” quarterback.
But when it comes to an official word? There’s been none. In part because of Hyman’s gag order.
When asked during a media session on Tuesday about his star quarterback’s situation, Kevin Sumlin said: “We’re not discussing that. I thought we went over that right from the beginning.” He went to say that as a team, they prepare for the absence of players every week.
While practice snaps and the wording of press releases can be studied for clues, Brent Zwerneman of The Houston Chronicle states that in his view, “It would seem to indicate Manziel’s status for the Rice contest is still very much up in the air, despite the air of confidence around A&M of late based on (chancellor John) Sharp’s remarks.” Sharp famously said last week that he knows Manziel is innocent, though he later admitted that he hadn’t actually spoken to the player.
A report from Houston earlier in the week suggested that the NCAA might make some kind of ruling on Manziel’s status today. I wouldn’t hold my breath. But if I were a betting man, I would put down a mythical $50 that Johnny Football will indeed be lined up behind the Aggies’ center come Saturday.