And for that, the whole of Aggie Nation can breathe a sigh of relief.
It had been nearly two months, since the SEC media days in mid-July and since the cash-for-autographs “scandal” in early August, that Johnny Manziel had spoken to the media, with Texas A&M slapping a zipper on the quarterback’s lips in the hopes of expediting the passing of the firestorm. Following the win over Sam Houston State in which he accounted for nearly 440 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, the reigning Heisman winner addressed the media… and did nothing to add any fuel whatsoever to the Johnny Football fire.
Needless to say, Manziel was asked about the last month or so that saw him come under NCAA investigation and ultimately hit with a half-game suspension he served opening weekend. Speaking in generalities, Manziel stated that he leaned on his Aggie football family during that time, letting them know during his NCAA-mandated mea culpa that he’s focused on the field even as if it seems the rest of the country is focused on the stuff off of it.
“The biggest thing that’s helped probably is just being around these guys, being in this building and having my teammates and still being able to be around them, It was easy to block all the stuff out, get off everything, not read anything and just grow with my teammates and continue to get a better bond with them and just spend time with them. …
“To let them know I’m here and I’m focused on this season and I love each and every one of these guys … that’s the message I was trying to get across. These guys mean the world to me. There’s so much other stuff that gets played on and is out in the public. But we know what is in this building.”
With one of the biggest games of the regular coming up against Alabama Saturday, one that will have as much hype as any in the past several years, Manziel looked to downplay the significance of a game being played the third weekend of the season.
“It feels like another game,” he said. “It feels like Week 3 of the season. We’ve got to continue to get better as a team continue to get better on every aspect, offense, defense, special teams. (To) have a full lineup back and a full roster back of guys who have been out will be nice.”
Now even the NFL is in on the gag. Sort of.
As you no doubt know by now if you’re even a peripheral fan of college football, UCF kicked up quite the ruckus by very proudly and extremely loudly proclaiming themselves national champions after capping off a perfect 13-0 season by defeating Auburn, which beat both of the College Football Playoff game participants. The football program went so far as to pay its assistants, now at Nebraska after following head coach Scott Frost out the door, the title bonuses they were entitled to contractually, with Disney World throwing the team a championship parade and even the state’s legislature egging the movement on.
Fast-forward to the here and now, and the NFL is getting set for this season’s Pro Bowl, which will be played in Orlando; the Knights, of course, play their home games in the same city. So, naturally, the NFL will honor the team during the game, although it’s expected the league will stop short of officially crowning their asses.
“When we thought about UCF and the amazing season they had going undefeated and their bowl game win, we thought there was really no better way, especially in the city of Orlando, to do something for that college celebration of football than to honor the UCF team in stadium on Sunday,” said Matt Shapiro, director of events strategy for the NFL, told the Orlando Sentinel. “I think we’re going to focus on their undefeated season. I don’t know that we’re going to get into the business of labeling them national champions. But we’re just excited to honor them and celebrate them.
According to the Sentinel, the players in attendance will be invited to walk on to the field at the end of the first quarter to be feted. Just which players will be in attendance is unclear.
One Ohio State assistant remaining on Urban Meyer‘s coaching staff will apparently come at the expense of another, at least responsibility-wise.
After speculation surfaced over the weekend that Ryan Day was being wooed by an NFL team, it was reported Monday that the assistant would be staying with the Buckeyes. Tuesday, OSU announced that Day, who just completed his first season as quarterbacks coach and c0-offensive coordinator, has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
That will no doubt raise some eyebrows as Kevin Wilson held the title of coordinator in 2017. In explaining the move, the football program wrote that “Day will continue to coach the Ohio State quarterbacks and work with Kevin Wilson to lead the Ohio State offense with additional adjustments to [Wilson’s] responsibilities forthcoming.” It would seem those adjustments would at least partially revolve around play-calling, a responsibility that fell to Wilson on gamedays this past fall.
“Ryan is clearly a very talented coach who has been an outstanding addition to our program,” Meyer said in a statement. “He has been approached by other schools numerous times this off-season for coordinator and head coach opportunities, and by the National Football League for a coordinator opportunity. I am pleased that he has elected to continue to work on this staff and to lead, mentor and coach the terrific young men we have in this program.”
Day has been a solo coordinator twice in his coaching career — at Temple in 2012 and then again in 2013-14 at Boston College.
Prior to coming to OSU, Day was the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 and spent the 2015 season in the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Those were his first two stints at the NFL level.
Less than two weeks after leaving the Pac-12, Casey Hughes has landed in the Big Ten.
Jan. 10, Hughes announced on Twitter that he had decided to transfer from Utah. Over the weekend, the defensive back confirmed that he will be transferring into the Michigan football program.
Hughes joins Jim Harbaugh‘s squad as a graduate transfer, which will allow him to use his final season of eligibility with the Wolverines this year.
Hughes started 11 games in 2017 for the Utes, missing two others because of injury. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2014, the North Las Vegas native played in 18 the next two seasons. He didn’t start any of those contests.
After a brief sabbatical, Lindsey Scott is back in the SEC.
Scott confirmed on his personal Twitter account Monday evening that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Missouri. Per his social media missive, the quarterback opted for Mizzou over FBS programs like Kansas and UT-San Antonio.
A three-star member of the LSU’s 2016 recruiting class, Scott was rated as the No. 26 dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 54 player at any position in the state of Louisiana. He took a redshirt his true freshman season.
In August of last year, Scott decided to transfer from the Tigers. He spent the 2017 season at Last Chance U, otherwise known as East Mississippi Community College.