Don’t look now, SEC, but Johnny Manziel is looking to get better on the field this offseason even as he’s thoroughly enjoying his time off of it.
Coming off a season in which, in his first year as a starter at the collegiate level, Manziel claimed the Heisman Trophy en route to leading Texas A&M to a stunning 11-win season in the Aggies’ first year in the SEC, expectations are running high both in College Station and across the country. For his part, Manziel will do what he can to help meet or even exceed those expectations in 2013.
While no specific dates have been set, Manziel is planning on taking another trip to San Diego this offseason to work with noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. Whitfield, who has worked with the likes of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III, told the San Antonio Express-News that Manziel will have one objective in mind when it comes to his next tune-up.
“Johnny really wants to hone in on being able to fully operate in the pocket,” Whitfield said. “He wants to run a lot less and make more throws and still be (as effective).”
During that breakout 2012 season, Manziel did a significant amount of his damage outside the pocket. While Manziel was 15th in the country in total passing yards, he was second among quarterbacks in total rushing yards. He scored nearly as many touchdowns on the ground (21) as he did through the air (26).
Certainly Manziel doesn’t want to abandon the part of his game that played a significant role in creating the Johnny Football legend, but the fact that Manziel is not resting on his stiff-armed laurels has to hearten Aggie Nation. And dishearten the SEC defenses charged with preventing a repeat performance.
Unlike how his 2017 season ended, Greg Dortch‘s 2018 offseason is trending much more positively.
In Wake Forest’s late-October win over Louisville, Dortch went down with what turned out to be a season-ending abdominal injury. Four months after sustaining the injury, and with spring practice right around the corner, the wide receiver has been medically cleared to fully participate in practice.
Despite missing the last month of the regular season as well as the postseason, Dortch still led the Demon Deacons in receiving yards with 722. His 53 receptions and nine receiving touchdowns were tied for tops on the team as well.
In the game in which he was injured, he set the school record with four touchdown catches.
When it came to filling out his Purdue coaching staff, Jeff Brohm didn’t have to look very far.
Kevin Wolthausen, the football program confirmed in a release, has been hired as the 10th of Brohm’s allotted 10 Boilermakers assistant coaches. Per the school, Wolthausen will be working with the team’s special teams and defense.
This marks a positional homecoming of sorts for Wolthausen as he spent the 2012 season as the defensive line coach at Purdue. Last season, Wolthausen served as a quality control coach for both special teams and defense for the Boilermakers.
In between his two stints in West Lafayette, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at UConn in 2016; the two years prior, he was the Huskies’ defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
In 2013, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator at Florida International. The 60-year-old long-time college football assistant has also spent time on staffs at Louisville, Arizona, USC, Arizona State and Oklahoma.
For the most recent addition to his Troy coaching staff, Neal Brown has dipped into the Football Championship Series.
The Sun Belt Conference program confirmed Tuesday that Brandon Hall has been hired by Brown as his new linebackers coach. Hall had spent the past four seasons as the co-defensive coordinator at FCS Jacksonville State.
“Brandon is an outstanding defensive coach and has experience coaching at a lot of different levels,” a statement from Brown. “He is relentless on the recruiting trail and already has developed strong relationships in the areas that we believe are key. Looking at his track record, it comes as no surprise that Brandon helped build one of the top defenses in the FCS at Jacksonville State over the last four years.”
Prior to JSU, Hall had spent time at Arkansas State, Auburn and Oklahoma.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to join this program and coaching staff,” Hall said in his statement. “You can’t help but get excited as a coach when you look at what Coach Brown and the rest of this staff has done over the past three years with the Troy program. My family and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Trojan Family and continuing the strong tradition of Troy football.”
The departure of a longtime UCLA staffer has officially been confirmed.
Late last week, reports surfaced that Angus McClure was leaving UCLA for a position at Nevada. Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference football program confirmed that McClure has been hired as Jay Norvell‘s new offensive line coach.
McClure had been with the Bruins since 2007, serving at various times as position coach for both sides of UCLA’s lines as well as special teams. Most recently, McClure had served as recruiting coordinator for the Pac-12 school.
McClure and Norvell have a prior working relationship as they were both on the same staffs at Nebraska and UCLA.
In addition to McClure, David Lockwood was announced as Nevada’s new safeties coach. Lockwood was on the UNLV staff last season after spending the previous three years as the cornerbacks coach at Arizona.
“I think we made our staff stronger with these two veteran hires,” Norvell said in a statement. “I’m excited about the experience and expertise that we have added to the Wolf Pack coaching staff.”