The media circus that is SEC Media days was taken to new heights when the 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel rolled into Hoover Wednesday. Manziel has been the center of much controversy in this off season, including but not limited to nights out, going to sporting events across the country, and even starring in a country music video. No seriously, he did.
But honestly, I don’t care about all this. I really don’t. I just want to know how well Johnny can perform on the field in year 2. Year 2 for Johnny Football has very high expectations, but it also has some voids that need major filling.
Take for example the departure of Aggie slot receiver Ryan Swope. Swope racked up 913 receiving yards, and averaged 12.7 yards per reception. Not to mention he had 8 touchdowns. In all of his four years he’s been a fixture of the Aggie offense.
Also gone is offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who developed Manziel and Co. to finish 2012 ranked 3rd in the FBS for total offense, 5th in scoring offense, and 2nd in passing offense. Kingsbury is now the head coach at Texas Tech.
New Aggie offensive coordinator is Jake Spavital, who comes on board after serving as West Virginia’s quarterbacks coach. In case you forgot, WVU and Geno Smith had one of the most lethal air attacks in the last two years- passing for over 4,000 yards in both seasons.
Gone is offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, who was so good that he was taken as the second overall pick in the NFL Draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Center Patrick Lewis is gone too, and he impressively started every single game during his career, both at center and guard. Filling in for Lewis is sophomore Mike Matthews, who only saw action in seven games last season.
So who does Johnny have for 2013? Luckily leading receiver Mike Evans returns, who snagged 1,105 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Aggies emphasized the receiving corp during recruiting season, signing five wide receivers, three of them being four star recruits according to ESPN.com. These freshmen could make a huge impact early.
If Texas A&M’s offense is as explosive as 2012, defenses will have a tough go around. Manziel cut through the stingiest of defenses, including National Champion Alabama, who allowed him to complete 77.4% of his passes, rush for 92 yards and didn’t pick him off once.
Alabama finished the season ranked first in total defense, scoring defense, and rushing defense just to put it in perspective. Yeah, Johnny is that good.
The ones that shut Manziel down in 2012? You guessed it- Florida being the first, and LSU.
The Gator defense in the second half held Manziel’s legs to just one pass outside the pocket that gained a yard, and had 19 yards rushing in 8 runs. LSU picked him off three times, too.
So enough of the controversy. I get that it’s the off season, and we’re all hungry for any storyline, but I’m ready for Manziel to get out on the field. I’m going to make a bold prediction and say we won’t be talking about Manning Camp or nights out once he does. We’ll be laughing that we even worried about it.
Johnny Manziel will be laughing, too.
P.S. 43 days until football season is back. (!!!)
Morgan Moriarty is a third year Telecommunications major at the University of Florida, and covers college football and recruiting for Florida Sports Talk Radio. She is also on the University of Florida Women’s Club Water Polo Team. Follow her on Twitter here @Morgan_Moriarty