Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss what kind of year to expect from Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who last year became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
That's a great question. What can you expect out of a season for any 20-year-old, let alone the Heisman winner who clearly has already suffered from "fish bowl" syndrome in a tiny college town in College Station? The situation is exacerbated by the new social media world that allows Manziel to tweet his innermost, vulnerable thoughts one second and then try to delete them the next.
Manziel is capable of matching his tremendous season of a year ago, when he amassed more than 5,000 total yards, but he has to be careful not to alienate his own fans and cyber followers or it could be an ugly ending. The tipping point could be Sept. 14, when defending BCS champion Alabama comes to Kyle Field in hopes of avenging their only loss from last season. If Johnny wins, he's a hero all over again on a team that becomes the early national title favorite. A loss, well, might send Johnny back to Twitter, where God and Bear Bryant only knows what might happen.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Johnny Manziel will feast on the likes of Rice and Sam Houston State, building an early case for a Heisman Trophy repeat. But the SEC’s big boys will crush him. Left tackle Luke Joeckel and center Patrick Lewis are now in the NFL, and foes like Alabama and LSU have had a year to prep for him.
Manziel’s attitude, by many accounts, is atrocious. Nobody wants to hear a Heisman Trophy winner whine. “Please walk a day in my shoes,” Johnny? Why don’t you walk a day in the shoes of a single mom working two jobs -- or a kid who has an illness that prevents him from playing football?
Manziel needs to appreciate what he has and remember that college will be the best time of his life. If he makes the pros, he’ll become an expendable piece of meat.
Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
For everyone’s sake, let’s hope Johnny Manziel’s follow-up to his highly successful Heisman Trophy season will last more than 140 characters.
While Johnny Football has spent part of his off-season in a love-hate relationship with social media, the rest of the country is wondering just what the Texas A&M quarterback can do for an encore. A virtual unknown at the start of 2012, Manziel surprised just about everyone -- including defensive coordinators -- by leading the SEC in passing, rushing and total offense.
It’s going to be tough to repeat that performance, however, because those same defensive coordinators have had plenty of time to study Manziel and figure out a way to slow down the Aggies' high-octane spread offense. It doesn't help that Texas A&M lost offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to Texas Tech.
The pieces are there for Manziel to have another terrific season -- and a shot at becoming the second person to win the Heisman twice -- but it’s unclear whether everyone will let him pull off the feat.
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Mark Wogenrich, Allentown Morning Call
In asking his Twitter fans to "please please walk a day in my shoes," Johnny Manziel suggested second thoughts on his crush of celebrity. Certainly big fish have their struggles in small ponds, but the Texas A&M quarterback nonetheless seems to be enjoying his post-Heisman spotlight.
Nothing wrong with that, as long as Manziel doesn't get too rowdy. The key will be whether the return of football, with its coach-mandated hyper-schedules and deliberate myopia, grounds him again.
A sophomore slump wouldn't surprise, because SEC defensive coordinators are cutting loads of tape of Manziel. But if Manziel struggles because of things he did himself, that would be a shame.]