Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel took the NCAA by storm in 2012, putting together a statistical resume that rivals Cam Newton’s in 2010 and Tim Tebow’s in 2007. However, 2012 is over, and Johnny Manziel, also known as Johnny Football, has set himself up for a huge disappointment in 2013.
Manziel has made several headlines this past offseason, and none of those have been in a positive manner. In case some are not aware of these budding off-field issues, here is a quick recap: revealed a fake Texas Longhorns tattoo in questionable photo on Twitter, moved off-campus, enrolled in only online classes, will not actually be on campus outside of football activities and has been living like a prime celebrity this offseason. Manziel had a phenomenal season, but not one that NCAA fans had never seen. This quarterback has set himself, his school and Aggie fans up for a huge heart-break this season.
Texas A&M’s offense was nothing short of unbelievable in 2012. A major part of that, aside from Manziel, was offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury, now the head coach of Texas Tech, built a high-flying no-huddle machine that kept tired defenses on the field and shredded secondaries with an all-out assault. Because of this departure, Texas A&M will have different pace of play, one that allows defenses to substitute players and change coverages between snaps. This change means that Manziel must be better at reading defenses before and after the snap as well as changing plays. This type of skill is one that can be learned, but Manziel has not put in the time to harness this ability.
Another key factor that must be accounted for is the loss of key components to the offensive unit. The Aggies lost a key offensive tackle in Luke Joeckel, but at least Jake Matthews will be returning to school instead of pursuing his career in the NFL. This could be a big problem for A&M’s offense, as the SEC tends to annihilate teams with weak offensive lines. Manziel also loses two of his top three receivers in Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu. This duo combined for almost 1400 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. With fewer weapons in his arsenal and a weaker offensive line, Manziel simply does not have the pieces around him to repeat his 2012 performance.
Manziel amazed audiences with his ability to run around and throw over defenses in 2012. With a different offensive tempo and a weakened offense, Manziel must work even harder to carry a team with less talent this season. With him being content living the life of a celebrity, he is only going to see a drop in his statistical output as well as his team’s win totals. 2013 will be a bust year for Manziel because of all of these factors, as Johnny Football fades into Johnny Forgotten.