It’s no secret that Johnny Manziel will do whatever it takes on the football field to help his teammates, coaches and school win. But on this week’s edition of the Texas A&M Football Show, we sat down with him and dove in to the “technical” side of being a Division I quarterback. We wondered what he thought were the reasons that his numbers have been even better than they were last fall, a season in which he took home the biggest honor in college sports.
IN FOCUS: JOHNNY MANZIEL
the reigning Heisman Trophy winner sits down on the Texas A&M Football Show
to talk about the game day experience, his journey to Aggieland
and what's made him an even better quarterback in 2013
by Will Johnson '01
Texas A&M Football Show
Johnny Manziel last year became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Ever since, he’s been the biggest public figure in sports.
But when he puts on the helmet and pads, it’s a personal matter between he and his teammates to make this A&M football team the best it can be.
“When the helmet goes on and whenever we’re getting ready to go out on the field and when we’re in our pre-drive huddle, it’s all focus and all trying to score six points,” Manziel said.
He is a fiery competitor—yet can remain calm in any situation. Kevin Sumlin has stated in the past that no moment is too big for him.
Manziel shared a bit about his game day experiences. For example, Mike Evans is his roommate at the team hotel.
“Mike and I get up on Saturday mornings and usually watch College GameDay, and…depending on what time our game is we’ll watch some football throughout the day. (Things are) pretty loose and relaxed, (we’re) just talking and having a good day.
“(It’s) Probably on the bus, getting escorted here to Kyle Field, when it starts to get a little more serious and you start to feel it more. Spirit Walk is something that…it’s awesome. It’s really one of my favorite things to do on a game day.
“Then once we get into the building, once we get into Bright, it’s all business from there.”
If you look at the numbers, you’ll notice that he’s run the ball a little less and thrown it a little more. It’s all part of the “polishing” of his game.
“Yeah, I think that shows a little. I only had about 25 or 26 touchdown passes all of last year, and now nine games into the year I think we’re already at that or eclipsed it (26 heading into Saturday’s game against Mississippi State). Being a quarterback, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to stay in the pocket more and be more of a quarterback than people just saying, ‘Oh, he only runs around’ and ‘there’s only broken plays’, stuff like that.
“I worked hard this offseason to tell people and show people that I can throw the football, and that I’m really good at it. I give a lot of credit to Coach (George) Whitfield, a lot of credit to this offensive line (for) giving me enough time to be able to make these throws, and (a lot of credit to) a great group of receivers who sit there and catch it and do stuff with it after the catch. It’s a great offensive unit we have this year.”
But overall, he’s pleased with the season thus far.
“Individually this year I feel like I’ve played to a higher level than I have in the past, continuing to work as a quarterback and not just as an athlete. That’s continued to show on the field this year. That was one of my main goals coming into this year, and through nine games so far that’s been the case. Hopefully through the next three or four games, whatever we have, I’ll be able to continue to grow.”
Once committed to Oregon, he likes how it’s turned out for him.
“I mean, I’m a very firm believer in ‘things happen for a reason’. I got that call from Coach Rossley and Coach (Mike) Sherman for a reason. Even though they’re no longer here, those are two guys that I’ll forever be thankful for. If it wasn’t for Coach Rossley, I don’t know that I’d be here today. He did a great job lobbying for me, so to be a part of that team that year and now have this coaching staff, it’s been a great opportunity for me.
“I love everything about Texas A&M, and I’m very thankful and very blessed to be here and be an Aggie.”
The Texas A&M Football Show airs every Thursday and Sunday evening on the CW Aggieland and FOX Sports Southwest. Check local listings to ensure air time.
Check local listings for the station and air time near you. The Texas A&M Football Show airs every Thursday and Sunday evening throughout the Aggie football season on FOX Sports Southwest and the CW Aggieland. Click here to watch archived shows online.