Johnny Manziel isn’t your average second-year college student. At the young age of 20, he’s already accomplished more than most players at his position ever dream about. With a plethora of dynamic play making abilities, and a nickname that has taken the nation by storm, “Johnny Football” became the first ever freshman to win the Heisman trophy.
Slowing down Manziel will be a huge key for the Sooners.
Manziel became a hit almost overnight, and has quickly become the biggest thing to ever come through College Station.
That can be a lot to deal with for anyone, especially a 20 year old. But Manziel says all the attention hasn’t taken away from his focus of winning the Cotton Bowl.
“It hasn’t been difficult. I’ve been enjoying it and all the stuff that comes with it,” said Manziel.
One thing that Manziel has learned, is that everything he does in now under the microscope.
“Before, you can put pictures on twitter, you can put pictures on some stuff, and it’s not a big deal. But now, you put a picture of a Christmas gift or a picture of you sitting at a game, and then you have NCAA violations this, and illegal benefits that. It’s crazy to see how much the microscope has come down on me.”
Heisman trophy winners have traditionally struggled in bowl games. After a month of national attention from every media outlet imaginable, there seems to be an added pressure to each award winner. Manziel however, says he feels no pressure as they head into Cotton Bowl.
“There’s no pressure, it’s just fun. We’re so lucky and blessed to be able to play this game, and it’s all about having fun. It’s fun to run around and throw the ball around with some of your best friends. I’m just fortunate to have this opportunity.”
When you look at this game, the biggest key is arguably the Oklahoma defense versus the Texas A&M offense. Manziel commented that the Sooners defense will be a difficult challenge.
“Very athletic, you look at all around their defense, they sit there and say, we’re more athletic than you and we can beat you up one-on-one. They don’t do too much that’s going to trick you, they’re going to say, this is what we do, this is who we are, and we’re going to stick with it.”
With the departure of Kliff Kingsbury to Texas Tech, there are questions regarding whether the Aggie offense will still be in sync. Manziel, however, thinks the Aggies have rebounded nicely since his departure.
“After Kliff left it took a while to get back into the groove of things and we had some days that we struggled, but we’ve gotten back into the things we’ve been doing earlier this season and it’s been good.”
As the game gets closer, the buildup continues. The excitement from both sides is very high, and Manziel said it’s special to be able to play against a familiar foe.
“It’s awesome; it’s great to be in Texas and only a couple of hours way from College Station against a somewhat rival in the Big 12. It’s a great venue, it’s a great place, and I know we’re all excited.”