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Manziel Meets Media at First Press Conference

November 27, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
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COLLEGE STATION--Johnny Manziel stepped in front of the cameras for the first time this season on Tuesday in a half-hour press conference inside Hagner Auditorium.

The full press conference in mp3 format is available through the link to the right. To watch clck the "play" button above.





On what he will remember most about season
"First and foremost, I just want to thank all of you, some of you have come a long way.  This is the first time I get to stand up in front of the camera and talk to all of you. It's nice to finally give you another piece of who I really am. The big thing about this year, the first year in the SEC, is that it's been something that a lot of Aggies will remember for the rest of their lives, especially a lot of these seniors. To not lose a game on the road this year is something that will stick in my mind for a while."

On gaining trust of teammates
"It's something that came on its own with finally getting the team reps, participating in the huddle with the offensive linemen and getting on the same page with the receivers. I felt like there was a certain point in time when it just gelled on its own. Luckily for me, we've kind of clicked as a group throughout the year and it has really paid off."

Describing himself
"It's like I said yesterday, I don't really see myself as the "Johnny Football" craze that has swept Aggieland and swept around the nation a little bit. I see myself as Johnny Manziel. I'm a guy from Kerrville, Texas who is just trying to be a laid back guy, who likes to hang out with his friends and try to be a normal college student just like everybody else."

On writing an acceptance speech for the Heisman Trophy
"It's something that I haven't really thought about yet. I've been more focused on making it through the season and trying to bring this program to a 10 win season, something that hasn't been done that often here at Texas A&M. That was, first and foremost, my main focus. Now that all this talk is swirling around, I guess it is something that you have to prepare for. Like I said, it would be a dream come true for me to even go to the Heisman ceremony, much less say a speech."

On lessons learned from arrest and repercussions from Coach Sumlin
"It was something that was a critical mistake in my life and something that I had to learn a lot from. It's something that had its consequences with Coach Sumlin, with my teammates and with everybody here in Aggieland. It was just a critical mistake on my part and from that I've had to make changes in my life. I've had to revolve around that and what happened."

On possibility of being a freshman winning the Heisman
"It's crazy. Like I said yesterday, it's so surreal for me to even be mentioned in the same category or in the same sentence as the Heisman trophy. It would be a dream come true for me to even go to New York and sit down, after years and years of watching guys that I looked up to get dressed up and sit on the front row and hope that their name is called. So for me, it would be a dream come true and something that I would cherish forever."

On success being overwhelming
"There are a few times, probably after the Alabama game, where things kicked up. I can point to a time where I thought about changing my phone number. You definitely have to change how you look at things, where you go. You kind of want to become a homebody a little more. It definitely did get a little overwhelming for me and for my family as well but it's something that you dream about. You dream about being on the stage and you dream about playing quarterback anywhere and being in the spotlight so it is a dream come true."

On being recruited for college
"I don't think I ever got frustrated about it. I just wanted to play and that was the biggest thing. I wanted to play whether it was, well obviously not kicker. We all saw that. Whether it was receiver, safety or whatever it was, I just really wanted to play college football and that was my ultimate goal. There were schools (TCU, A&M, Oregon, Stanford) that I went to for quarterback camps, as well as a long list of other schools that I was fortunate enough to have offers from. I went out and checked a bunch of them and the majority of them were for quarterback."

On abilities and time spent in California training
"I think, first and foremost, with the individual successes that I have had, the records that have been broken and all that, without the other hundred guys on the team, not just offense, not just defense, this coaching staff, our strength staff, our trainers and everybody, none of that would even be possible whatsoever at all. That's the biggest key: our team success this year. We've really come together as a unit and because of that, I get the chance to stand up here when, really, there could be five offensive linemen, Patrick Lewis or any of those guys, standing up here and being in the spotlight because they really deserve just as much, if not more, credit. As for going to Coach Whitfield, a guy that I have truly built a relationship with and somebody that I look up to, we try to keep in touch every week. After being able to spend a week with him and Logan Thomas out in California, it was something that I really got to work on my game, in particular, and something that I think paid off."

On receiving first offer from Rice
"I think you hear it time and time again on the recruiting trail: once you get one offer, I guess the rest start flowing in. I wouldn't say it is like some of the other guys who get recruited out there who I guess are bigger names, five-star guys like that. Once one offer came in, I started to get a few more here and there. At a time where I saw my other friends getting offers where I talked to around the state and I was wondering why I wasn't getting some, I think everything ended up working out. I ended up in a place exactly where I wanted to be and I couldn't be happier."

On thoughts during arrest and how it has helped him mature
"I think the first thing that goes through your mind is how many people that you let down. You can't really say anything else but that you let your family down, you let a group of teammates down, a group of coaches who all care about you and really don't want to see anything like that happen. Just for a truly critical error in judgment on my part, it's something that I look back on as one of the biggest mistakes of my life. From there, I've had to make a lot of changes in my life. I'm really more aware of my surroundings and what goes on in my life. I've had to surround myself with a great group of people. I have a great family, a great group of coaches here that really care about my well-being and me moving forward as a person."

On dress for upcoming ceremonies
"My uncle is one of the guys I looked up to. If I wanted to dress like somebody, I would dress like him every single day. He's one of the best dressers that I've had the privilege to be around. I'm very fortunate that he does own that store [Harley's]. I'm in there quite a bit, every week, not just for the awards shows and stuff like that but just to hang out with my mom, who works there, and hang out with Michael, who owns it. I get to pick out some nice jeans, some nice stuff, so it's fortunate on my part."

On where athleticism originated
"I think it probably came from a mix of both my mom and dad, just like any kid would say. I mean, my dad, still to this day, thinks he can beat me in baseball, football, golf, ping pong. You name it, he thinks he can beat me in it. He's not bad. He's a scratch golfer so I still don't think I can beat him in that but I think I can take him in everything else. I think I get a little bit of it from both of my parents. I'm very, very blessed and very fortunate to have both the ability to play these sports and I have the opportunity to play."

On potentially playing Texas in a bowl game
"It would be something that I think would draw a rather large crowd. It's a game that everybody, every single year for the past however long the game has been played, it was one of the most watched games on TV on Thanksgiving. It was a fun game and a really, really heated rivalry in the state of Texas and something for me, personally, that if that's how the cards fell, then it is something that would be fun and we would just prepare for it like any other team."

On advice to high school quarterbacks
"I don't know if I would say I am a legend. It's really more of a folk-tale right now, I guess, for me. I don't really see it that way. If I were to give advice to a high school quarterback or something like that, the thing that I kind of display is you go to all these camps, you go to all the stuff. Some people can't judge how you play the game, if you play the game with a passion. If you are going to play the game of football, play it with all your heart. It doesn't matter if you are 5'10" and wanting to play quarterback. Look at Doug Flutie. If you want to be six foot and be the best quarterback in the league for a year, look at Drew Brees. It doesn't matter how big you are or how fast you are or whatever. Just play with a lot of heart and leave it all on the field every time."

On when things started coming more naturally on the field
"Week by week, I think things got a little slower. Week by week, it just kept going down a notch. The game still isn't where I would like for it to be. I'm still picking up the offense. I'm still learning stuff every day and, even right now, we are on a bye week and I still need to go in and watch film and get better and better every day. With this bowl game, we have a chance to win 11 games which is something we really wanted to do as a team. Whatever I can do to help myself and help this team out, that's the ultimate goal."

On potential for more Heismans in the future
"I haven't even thought about it. Like I said, my focus has been on finishing this season. If I am fortunate enough to go to New York and actually get a chance to win the Heisman, then that situation will play itself out. I'm not going to let any pressure be put on me about the years coming forward. Each and every year my goal is going to be to bring home a national championship here to Texas A&M, win the SEC and ultimately not lose a game every year that we step out onto the field. I am going for team goals more than anything individual."

On keys to transforming from "work-in-progress" to starter
"There was a time, being out in California with Coach Whitfield, where I felt like when I really worked on my mechanics and I really did some stuff that the ball came out a little bit better, it came out quicker, it came out smoother and I threw a better spiral. That was kind of the point where I couldn't wait to get back to camp. I couldn't wait for fall camp. I was almost not getting any sleep at night just waiting for that first day of fall camp so I could go out and show that I feel like I've gotten better and I feel like I can compete to win this starting job."

On reaction to hearing name among Heisman contenders
"I guess the first time I really saw my name in the Heisman, it was something that you don't really believe. It's something to see and it's something that's cool to see on ESPN or on some website anywhere. It's something that, as a kid, it's the biggest, most prestigious award you can win in college football and your name to be tagged to it, in any way, shape or form, is something that's pretty cool. The talk really started picking up after the Alabama game. The thing about that game was it was our most complete game as a team. Coach Sumlin always talks about playing complete games. Offense, defense, special teams. I felt like defense played great, offense did our job, special teams did their job drawing them offsides to seal the game. That's as complete as you can get and I guess that's when the talk started after that."

On YouTube videos about him
"Somebody asked me that question yesterday and I had not really seen the video that they had talked about. I try not to get on YouTube or Google myself or look at any of that. That's not the person that I am. I did get tweeted at about a little girl who said she was my biggest fan. I checked it out and I actually got the chance to meet her after a couple of games and a couple of instances. She gave me a hug and I got a chance to talk to her mom and her dad. That's been one of the highlights of the year outside of football for sure."

On dealing with the attention
"My friends do the best job of making sure that that doesn't really get to me or get to my head or anything like that. I think they are in love with more college football players than they even like me. It's kind of funny. They talk about Jeff Driskell or Braxton Miller or whoever it may be. They talk about these guys all the time and it kind of makes me sit back like, "Do y'all even like me?" but I see why they are doing it. It is different for me driving around town and pulling up to a red light and someone is waving at you and you are thinking, 'Me? That's who you are waving at?' Or going out to dinner and people wanting to come up take a picture. If people want to do that with me, that's something that I am willing to give back for sure."

On talk in huddle before final scoring drive at Alabama
"After we got the fumble at Alabama, and it was a great defensive play to get the ball out and get it back to our team, I just told them in the huddle, "Let's go. This is our time. This is what we are going to do. We are going to win this game." I think you have to have that confidence in the huddle and make sure those guys see that we are going to drive down the field right now and we are going to put more points on the board to secure our lead. I didn't think it would come in two plays, to tell you the truth. Looking back after the game, I didn't realize that we had two passes, two touchdowns and it happened that quickly. Those were two great plays. There was an awesome wheel rout down the sideline by Ryan Swope and then, my favorite play of the year, to Malcome Kennedy with a guy draped over him making a one-handed catch. Being able to take the lead like that was something that I will never forget."

On freshmen not winning the Heisman historically and Adrian Peterson's close loss for the award
"I've heard a lot about it and people have their different opinions on that. I just think that situation will play itself out, like I said. It goes to the most outstanding player in college football. If that happens to be me, then that is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. If not, then that's just how the cookie crumbles. I do remember Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma and the year he had. It's still talked about to this day and you look at him in the NFL now and people still remember his freshman year at Oklahoma as something that was truly spectacular."

On looking back on film and regretting plays
"There was a time, the SMU game, when I got back to the sideline, the guy threw me around in a circle and I didn't really know where I was and then I jumped and threw the ball and we ended up scoring a touchdown with something that I thought 'Whoa! That actually worked!' There are some times where it has been like that. Going back and looking at film, I would much rather say, 'Hey, I should have stepped up in the pocket here and thrown just right down the middle for a touchdown instead of running around for three seconds and then throwing it back across the field for a touchdown on the back of the end zone.' I would much rather make play within the system and make it as easy as possible. That's where I go back and look on film."

On strength and relationship with Jameill Showers
"I don't think I would have ever caught Jameill's record. He's a workhorse in the weight room and a guy that is really, truly gifted. Throughout the year, obviously with the quarterback competition going on, we are still able to remain friends and he is somebody that I really, really, truly like being around and enjoy and am very happy that he's a quarterback here at A&M. We've developed a good friendship and we get the chance to mess around on the field and we get the chance to be around each other almost every day during the season. He really is a great guy and one of my favorite people on the team. He's a great guy and a great quarterback."

On craziest thing a fan has done for him
"It would probably take me too long to think about that. I did see people wearing Scooby-Doo costumes at the game the other day so I'm going to put that up there at the top."

On growing up in Kerrville and what the town will be like now
My family doesn't live there anymore so I don't really get the chance to go back that often. I guess after this season it is going to be a little bit different going back. It will probably be the same thing as here: people wanting to come up and talk to me and share my experiences with them. I got the chance to grow up in Tyler and Kerrville so I got the best of both worlds, in my eyes. I got to be in what I believe was one of the best parts of the state of Texas: the hill country. It's some of the most beautiful land in the entire state. Getting the chance to go out and play golf, live on a golf course, fish, ride dirtbikes, ride four-wheelers and do things like that was something that I really enjoyed as a kid and hopefully, once I get out of football season, I will have the chance to go back and do a little bit more of."

On potential for sharing stage with John David Crow
"I think it's the biggest thing to even be on the stage with him and any of the Heisman winners. Even being in the same ceremony with them is something that I would truly never forget. It would be one of the best memories of my entire life. And to bring a Heisman trophy back to Aggieland for all of these fans and all the years of football that have passed since we've had a Heisman trophy winner, since we've had a national championship. To really bring the excitement and to really bring the positive back to Aggieland would be something that is an ultimate goal, especially for this team with Coach Sumlin coming in and trying to bring a new spirit and a new pop to this program is something. We are really trying to excite this place and get excitement for Aggie football."

On change in jersey number and what sport he imagined himself playing as a kid
"With the jersey number, I was 15. It just got thrown on me whenever I got here. I didn't really have a choice. I was a freshman. I didn't say anything. I was just happy to be in the locker room with those guys, like Tannehill, Cyrus, guys I got to watch on TV the year before and see them do such great things. As far as the multiple sports go, I was always a big baseball guy. I always thought, since I was a little kid, that I would play professional baseball. That was always one of my biggest dreams. I wanted to go play in the MLB. I wanted to play for the Rangers and I wanted to play shortstop. Then, growing up, I played golf. I was keeping up with my dad for the most part. I wasn't beating him but I was keeping up with him. I didn't think I was good enough to play pro golf or anything like that but baseball was the big thing and something I thought I would always be able to do. Then football came around and took center stage and I ran with it."

On end of Ole Miss game and where he headed after game ended
"That's kind of the point in the season that either makes or breaks you. You lose that game and there's no telling how the rest of the season goes or how many games you win or what really plays out. That was a big, big turning point for our team to really come back and fight from a deficit like that and we ended up winning the game with six turnovers. That's something that really doesn't ever happen. After the game, I guess somebody said, 'If we pull this off, let's just go straight to the locker room.' I guess I took it too far and took a dead sprint to the locker room. Coach Kingsbury and I were in there asking, 'Where is everybody?' I guess that might have been one of our first road games and I completely forgot that we did that after the game. It was something that I looked back on after and thought, 'That was a bonehead move. I should have stayed out there with my team,' but there's nothing I can do about it now."

On relationship with Coach Kingsbury
"I've learned a lot from him so far and I can't wait to learn as much as I can from him in the years that come. He's one of my favorite people to be around in this entire building. He brings a lot of energy to the team and he's great at what he does. I think he was a great football player at Tech and he's a great coach now. He's definitely one of my favorite people to be around and our relationship has grown tremendously. I think if you look on the field now, he's got a lot more flexibility with what he does and he really trusts me a lot more. That's something that I look at and definitely take a lot of pride in. He can definitely be hard on me sometimes but he tells me in games to "Think this. Think that," and he really knows what he is talking about because there are points in time where he is just going back and kind of reliving what he did and I'm just doing it instead of him."

On transferring type of play at Tivy to A&M and SEC
"I don't know if I ever really doubted myself. I always have a lot of confidence in my ability. I always feel like I am the most competitive guy on the field, regardless of what team we are playing. I didn't really know how all the freelancing that I did in high school, where I drop back and see what happens, would translate into college because it is such a big step and something that I work on each day to not necessarily take out of my game but play more within the system. That is the ultimate goal: to do what Coach Kingsbury and Coach Sumlin want. Hopefully the end result is winning football games. That's the main focus."



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