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Andre Ware Repeats Message To Johnny Manziel: “Tone It Down”

gfx - they said itBoth are quarterbacks.  Both are Texas natives who’ve won the Heisman Trophy playing for a Texas team.  While both have had success on the football field, it’s off the field where former Houston quarterback Andre Ware and current Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel may not exactly see eye-to-eye.

For the second time in the past few months, Ware has delivered an on-air message to Manziel – “tone it down.”

His latest plea came on Friday after ESPN’s College Football Live debuted a new Granger Smith video featuring Manziel, his girlfriend Sarah Savage and former Aggies wide receiver Ryan Swope.

According to Brent Zwerneman, here’s what Ware had to say following the video.

 

“If I’m his teammate, and it’s almost human nature, that somebody, someone on the team is starting to resent seeing Johnny Manziel like this. ‘I know I’m working, is he working? Can he be working as hard as I am each and every day to prepare for the season, so we can put ourselves in a position to win the national championship? Are you doing it at baseball games when you’re throwing out the first pitch, and how much work did you put in when you were working on this video?’ I’m not sure that he’s done a well enough job in the offseason to really calm things down.

 “As a quarterback of a football team, you’re already elevated, and as the face of the program the microscope is on you, and you’re going to get the publicity. You almost have to fit in. You almost have to calm that stuff down to let the guys know you’re one of them, you’re still with the team, so they can play hard for you week in and week out. I’m not sure he’s done a good enough job of that in the offseason. … Everything seems to come with some publicity. Tone it down. …”

 

If the “tone it down” line looks familiar, it’s because it is.  Back in April, Ware delivered much the same message.  ”Tone it down. You’re not the same guy you were before you won the Heisman Trophy.”

You can see Manziel and girlfriend Sarah Savage tossing a  football, holding hands and kissing (once) in the video.  Pretty mild stuff.  The song called “Silverado Bench Seat” features more shots of the Chevy Truck than it does of the Heisman Trophy winner.  In fact, the video closes with a shot of the Chevy Logo. Is this a music video or just an ad for Chevy?  You can check it for yourself below.

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AU Assistant And Ex-QB Craig Says Bama’s McCarron Is “The Best”

gfx - they said itFormer Auburn quarterback and current co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig has no problem throwing some praise at a player across the state who’s decked out in the wrong colors.  In a radio interview yesterday afternoon, the Tiger coach heaped the accolades on Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who just happens to hail from Mobile… like Craig:

 

“Well, you know what, he’s the best.  That’s all that needs to be said.  There’s no comparing.  He’s won a couple of national championships and that’s what you base a quarterback on.  He’s the best quarterback in college football right now.  It doesn’t matter who win the Heisman Trophy.  He’s done an outstanding job.  He’s doing what he’s asked to do and he’s doing it to the best of his ability…

He’s a great kid.  He also comes from a great family.  He’s a hard worker and he’s very competitive.  That’s what it’s about.  You’re proud of all the kids, because we’re all family at the end of the day, that’s the way I consider it.  We’re still family.  We’re from the Mobile family.  We’re from Mobile.  We’re part of the Mobile family and I’m still rooting for him to be successful.”

 

There are probably a few Auburn fans out there who aren’t thrilled with Craig offering up such effusive praise for anyone wearing Crimson.  Likewise, there are probably a few Texas A&M fans who will take issue with whole “best quarterback in college football” thing.

But we think it’s refreshing to see a coach from one school speak so highly of a player from another.  And not just in the six days leading up to Team X facing Player Y.

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A&M’s Kyle Field To Be The Biggest Stadium In The SEC (And Texas)

new-kyle-field-drawingIt’s official.  Texas A&M announced yesterday that the school would push forward with a $450 million refurbishment and redevelopment plan for Kyle Field.  When the expansion is complete, the biggest football stadium in the SEC and in the state of Texas will stand in College Station.  Planned seating capacity — 102,500.

The Houston Chronicle quotes a “grinning” A&M chancellor John Sharp as saying:

 

“It’s the largest?  I didn’t know that.  That was the recommendation of the architect: 102,500… I didn’t argue with that recommendation…

We don’t follow other folk anymore.  We kind of do our own thing.”

 

Seat licenses are part of the plan to fund the project.  The goal is to wrap up work by August of 2015 with the Aggies never having to leave their home stadium during the construction process (which will begin after this season).  That work will include a new facade, exterior plazas, loge boxes, luxury suites, a premium club that will run the length of the field, a rebuilt west side of the stadium, and a three-deck end zone in the stadium’s south end.  The field will be lowered and fans will be moved closer to the action.  Canopies will also be added on the east and west sides of the stadium to trap noise.

Renderings of the project can be found right here.

“Kyle Field is a megaphone to the world, whether you like it or not,” Sharp said.  “And this megaphone that we’re fixing to build is going to be the loudest on the planet.”

After so many predicted mediocrity for Texas A&M in the SEC, the Aggies must feel like they’re now doling out the world’s largest serving of crow (and we’re not talking about John David).  An 11-win season, a Heisman Trophy, and now a rebuilt Kyle Field that even surpasses good ol’ Texas’ stadium over in Austin.

Howdy, indeed.

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Johnny Football: I’m Still The Same Ol’ Me

johnny-manziel-passesTexas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has found just how bright the spotlight on a returning Heisman Trophy-winner can be this offseason.  Everything from his ability to get sporting event tickets to his decision to take some online summer classes has come up for discussion in the national media.  His family’s lawsuit to protect his “Johnny Football” moniker was even briefly touted as the lawsuit that would bring down the NCAA (it’s not).

But through it all, Manziel insists he hasn’t changed.  In an interview with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, the Aggies’ star said this weekend that he still sees himself “as the person I was before” the Heisman and the headlines:

 

“If somebody wants to come up to me and freak out, I don’t get it.  I don’t understand it.  We did a lot of great things.  I’ve been blessed to have done the things I did individually.  For me, I don’t see it hat way.  I still see myself as young, the same guy I was before I ever won the Heisman.  Hopefully my friends still feel I’m the say way.  I just want people to know I’m still the same person I’ve always been.”

 

Manziel also said that he’s enjoying his time in College Station but if the NFL comes calling next offseason (after his redshirt sophomore season), “just like anybody else, the decision will have to be made.”

A&M’s coaching staff has made no secret about the fact that the Aggies need to be prepared for their all-everything QB to take his act to the next level.  But that shouldn’t prevent Texas A&M fans from enjoying at least one more season of Manziel’s exploits.  Forget the off-field stuff.  So long as Johnny Football hasn’t changed his game on the field, Aggie fans will be happy.

 

Johnny Manziel | 2012 Heisman Winner | Highlights ᴴᴰ

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Oregon QB Says A&M’s Manziel Plays “Backyard Football”

mariota-manzielSo maybe his nickname should be Johnny Backyard Football.  At least that’s what Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota seems to think.

Judging by the comments on a couple of Aggie messageboards, the Ducks’ QB seems to have ruffled some feathers — pun intended — when he described Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s game as “backyard football.”

“For a lot of us, it’s how we were introduced to the game — just going out and making plays.  I’d like to do that.  It would be fun.  But it would be outside of my calling here.”

 

Now, personally I don’t see what’s so inflammatory about that comment.  Granted, Manziel was once committed to Oregon and perhaps there’s a bit of history between the two signal-callers, but this seems to be a case of looking for trash talk.

Mariota simply alluded to the differences between his role in Eugene and Manziel’s role in College Station.  And judging by that Heisman Trophy he picked up in December, Manziel seems to fit his role perfectly.

Stay tuned, but I don’t think Aggie fans should be losing any sleep over this one.

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Time To Add Saban’s Face To The SEC’s Mt. Rushmore

sec-mt-rushmore-bryant-spurrier-neyland-sabanWhen you talk about The Greatest anything in sports, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.  Everyone has an opinion on who or what The Greatest is.  That’s because everyone uses different criteria to determine what The Greatest even means.

Example: Who’s the NFL’s best quarterback?  The guy with the most Super Bowl trophies?  The guy with the most MVP awards?  The guy with the most passing yards on the back of his trading card?

As for college football, we can use the Heisman Trophy as another example.  Some people believe “most outstanding player” means the best offensive player on the best team.  Some people believe it means the most valuable player on a team, regardless of highlights and hype.  Still others cast their votes based on hard and fast stats.

So when we ask who should go on an imaginary Mt. Rushmore of SEC football coaches, we know we’re opening the door and inviting debate to come on in and sit a spell.

Fair enough.

As usual, we wanted to inject a little data, a bit of math into our study of the SEC’s greatest all-time coaches.  We also wanted to weed the competition for those four slots — we said Mt. Rushmore after all — down to a manageable number.

Our first step was to figure out who should be left out.  We set our start date at 1935.  The SEC was founded in 1932 and ’35 made for a nice round number.  If a man didn’t coach the majority of his career after that year he was excluded from our exercise.  So if you’re wondering why someone like Vanderbilt’s Dan McGugin isn’t on the list, now you know.

Next, we decided to include only coaches who have toiled in the Southeastern Conference for at least a decade.  Regardless of a coach’s success, if he hasn’t spent at least 10 years in the SEC how much historical impact could he really have?  Florida’s Urban Meyer — despite two BCS titles in six years — failed to pass this portion of our test.

One-year wonders were out, too.  Only coaches with multiple SEC championships were considered deserving of placement on our monument.  That eliminated coaches like Auburn’s Shug Jordan.

We decided that a coach also had to have won at least one consensus — that’s consensus — national championship during his tenure as an SEC head coach.  That eliminated Tennessee’s Johnny Majors, for example.  Majors won a national title at Pittsburgh, but he didn’t win one in the SEC.  So he’s out.

Finally, we eliminated any coaches who had their success at a program no longer in the SEC.  There are three ex-SEC schools out there: Sewanee, Tulane, and Georgia Tech.  One of them had a coach who fit all of the above criteria.  But it felt a little silly to consider Bobby Dodd for a spot on the SEC’s Mt. Rushmore when it was Dodd who famously yanked Tech from the Southeastern Conference.  So coaches like Dodd are out.

Those criteria — post-1935 career, 10 seasons in the SEC, multiple SEC titles, one consensus national title, and employment at a current SEC institution — helped narrow our choices down to just seven men.

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A&M’s Manziel Tuxes It Up, Delivers Letterman’s Top 10 List

Yesterday, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel handled the “Top 10 List” duties on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”  The first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Manziel did just fine with his delivery of “The Top 10 Perks of Winning the Heisman Trophy.”  See here:

 

David Letterman – Johnny Manziel Top Ten

 

The full list?

 

10.  Old nickname — Johnny Football; new nickname — Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Football.

9.  Get to use the “Heisman winners only” lane at the highway toll plazas.

8.  Maybe mom will stop nagging me to go to dental school.

7.  Of course, there’s a six-figure recording contract.

6.  This Saturday, guess who’s driving the team bus?

5.  I no longer have to go to practice.

4.  I’ll probably be the only Heisman winner at my high school reunion.

3.  You also receive a bronze mouth guard.

2.  Get to appear on Letterman — in the same city as my favorite show, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

1.  My passport photo looks like this.  (Manziel strikes Heisman pose.)

 

Wonder if his girlfriend was in attendance for the show?

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You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: From Why Your Search Is Taking So Long To SEC Expansion

Man, is the ol’ MrSEC.com inbox filling up this week.  Questions galore are coming in — and they’re appreciated — but it’s been tough replying to everyone (something we normally try to do).

So in the interest of answering your questions and saving some time, here’s a rundown of several questions we’ve been getting over and over and over again from fans all across the league:

 

What’s taking so long with my team’s coaching search?

The only folks who can legitimately ask this question are Arkansas fans.  And even they should be a bit more patient.

Kentucky fired Joker Phillips on November 4th.  By November 27th, Mitch Barnhart had hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.  That’s a 23-day process and — from what an industry source told us — clearly “Barnhart wasn’t swinging for the fences.”  That doesn’t mean Stoops won’t be more akin to brother Bob than brother Mike, Cat fans, just that UK wasn’t really in on successful, proven head coaches.  If you’re looking at up-and-comers and assistants, searches can move more quickly.

Note we said, “quickly.”  Well, quickly was 23 days.

Tennessee’s search is now just 11 days old.  (For those who believe the Vols offered their job to Jon Gruden after UT’s game with Mississippi State in early-October, I’ve got some land to sell you.)  Auburn’s search is all of four days old.

How many of you have ever been in the position to make an important hire for your company?  A hire that could cost you your own neck if you got it wrong?  A hire that could either bring in or cost your company millions of dollars?

If you were in that position, would you rush the hire because people on messageboards and Twitter are tired of waiting for you to make a move?

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A&M’s Manziel Talks “Johnny Football” Nickname, Heisman Race

In his first teleconference of the season, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel fielded 64 questions in a little less than an hour.  His fast answers and good-natured demeanor were just as much a hit with the media as his playing ability has been in the SEC spotlight.  And that’s pretty big.

“I’m this small-town kid, and I still see myself that way,” he said.  “I don’t see myself as ‘Johnny Football.’  I see myself as Johnathan Manziel, a small-town guy from Kerrville (Texas)…

“The thing that’s caught me off guard is going to dinner and somebody saying, ‘Hey, can we get your autograph?’ or ‘Do you mind if you take a picture with my son?’  I guess I haven’t really grasped the whole entirety of it yet.”

Asked about the Heisman Trophy race, Manziel admitted that it’s “something you dream about as a kid.”  “When you’re sitting there playing all these NCAA games as a kid and you create a player and you win the Heisman as a freshman because you just put up crazy numbers, it’s something you can only sit back and dream about… This season has been incredibly, incredibly surreal.  It’s beyond my wildest imagination.”

And that now famous moniker, “Johnny Football?”

Someone hung it on him during his redshirt season a year ago.  Manziel said it’s “funny and it fits.”

When you play like this, yes, it does (and as a college football fan, I’d encourage you to watch both of these highlight packages):

 

Johnny Manziel Heisman Highlight Video Part 1

 

Johnny Manziel Heisman Highlight Video Part 2

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A&M’s Sumlin Says “Compare The Numbers” When Pushing Manziel For Heisman

Here’s a quick and easy way to end most arguments: Do the math.  And that happens to be the view of Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin when it comes to the Heisman Trophy campaign of redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel:

 

“Compare his numbers to anyone who’s played the game — they speak for themselves.”

 

Okay, let’s check him against the last five Heisman winners.

 

  Season   Player   School   Position   Total Offense   Touchdowns
  2007   Tim Tebow   Florida   QB (13 games)   4,181 yards   55
  2008   Sam Bradford   Oklahoma   QB (14 games)   4,767 yards   55
  2009   Mark Ingram   Alabama   RB (14 games)   1,992 yards   20
  2010   Cam Newton   Auburn   QB (14 games)   4,327 yards   51
  2011   Robert Griffin III   Baylor   QB (13 games)   4,992 yards   47
  2012   Johnny Manziel   Texas A&M   QB (11 games)   4,161 yards   38

 

Now let’s compare Manziel to this season’s top five total offense leaders.

 

  Rank   Player   School   Position   Total Offense   Touchdowns
  1   Johnny Manziel   Texas A&M   QB (11 games)   4,161 yards   38
  2   Jordan Lynch   N. Illinois   QB (11 games)   4,086 yards   38
  3   Rakeem Cato   Marshall   QB (11 games)   3,913 yards   33
  4   Colby Cameron   Louisiana Tech   QB (11 games)   3,861 yards   31
  5   Nick Florence   Baylor   QB (10 games)   3,838 yards   34
  6   Tajh Boyd   Clemson   QB (11 games)   3,833 yards   41

 

For the record, this writer doesn’t care much for the Heisman Trophy because there is no official criteria used to determine the winner.  One year voters will base their decision on stats — and that would certainly aid Manziel this season — while another year they’ll vote for the best player on the best team.  Only one defensive player has ever won the award (Michigan’s Charles Woodson) but his all-purpose numbers were trumped by another defensive back just a couple of years later (Georgia’s Champ Bailey) and that player didn’t even sniff the Heisman.  So in our book, it’s the most over-hyped award in a sport filled with over-hyped awards.

But if you go by the numbers, Sumlin’s right.  If the Heisman is going to go to the guy with the best stats this year, the winner should be Manziel.

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