Aggies Name Johnny Manziel Starting QB
By Donovan Tennimon
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
Johnny Manziel will be the first redshirt freshman to start at quarterback for Texas A&M since Stephen McGee in 2005.
In a surprising move to some, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has named Johnny Manziel the starting quarterback for his team. Many people around the program thought sophomore Jameill Showers would be the starter after his performance in the spring, as Showers demonstrated an ability to make better decisions and take care of the football throughout spring practice. Manziel, a redshirt freshman, was a highly recruited quarterback from Kerrville, Texas, and had a reputation as a “gun-slinging” playmaker. He certainly had the ability and confidence; he just needed to hone his talent in a little bit. Showers and the other quarterbacks on the roster did not perform poorly, it’s just Manziel made a lot of improvement.
Give Manziel a lot of credit, he took the constructive criticism offered by his coaches in the spring and came back in fall camp and made the necessary adjustments to earn the starting job. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury certainly enjoyed seeing the improvement.
“He just came back to camp and was making really quick decisions, protecting the football really well and just made plays, continually, every time we put him in.” Kingsbury went on to say, “He was making some plays in the spring but he was pretty reckless with the ball.”
Some people around the program were also wondering if Manziel was reckless off the football field as well. Over the summer he was arrested in June for disorderly conduct, failure to identify and possessing a false identification card. The arrest took place in the Northgate bar district.
“There’s been a lot of things he has to do internally, first of all to get back in the team’s good graces and continue to be on the team. He’s handled those and has probably done more than people even know,” said Sumlin.
Sumlin’s offensive system is predicated on timing and precision. His record setting quarterback at Houston, Case Keenum, wasn’t the biggest or strongest athlete on the field, but he understood the importance of poise and making sound decisions in the pocket. Manziel (6’1”, 200) is similar in size to Keenum (6’2”, 210). Aggie fans are hopeful Manziel can match Keenum’s success, both on and off the field.
Manziel will be the first redshirt freshman to start at quarterback for Texas A&M since Stephen McGee in 2005. His first start came in the season closing game against Texas. Prior to that, Jeff Granger started the second game of the 1991 season as a redshirt freshman. If Manziel continues to improve and retains the starting job, then he will be the first redshirt freshman quarterback to start a season for the Aggies. Texas A&M opens the 2012 season with a game in Shreveport, Louisiana, against Louisiana Tech on Thursday, August 30th.