Marcus Mariota

Report: Mariota talked refs out of flagging UCLA LB


Some players look for every edge when it comes to winning a game, but it seems Heisman Trophy front runner Marcus Mariota isn’t sweating the small stuff these days.  

He just wants to play football.

Proof of the Hawaii native’s ‘hang loose’ mentality was on display in the Ducks 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA this past Saturday, according to this report from Rob Mosely of Bruin linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was getting overly-aggressive and demonstrative against the Ducks  in the early going (see a compilation here) and had a run-in with Mariota late in the second half.

Mariota was heading out of bounds when Zumwalt crashed into him just as he stepped onto the sideline. A flag seemed imminent but, apparently, Mariota convinced the referee to ignore it.

“Anthony Barr said he heard Mariota tell refs on Saturday not to call a late hit on Jordan Zumwalt, and to let them play,” Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reported this morning. “Earned him respect.”

Not only did Mariota apparently say something to officials, but he tapped Zumwalt on the helmet while running back inbounds, as if to say, “good job, good effort.”

It goes to show that Mariota’s poise isn’t just reflected in the fact that he hasn’t thrown an interception in a Pac-12 record 292 consecutive throws. It also shows in how he sets an example for his teammates, who responded accordingly by recording a season-low-tying five penalties against the Bruins.

“I don’t know,” Mariota told Mosely. “I just try to keep my head, and my guys did an awesome job keeping their heads. They did come after us a couple times, and for our guys to hold their character really says a lot about this team.”

It says a lot about Mariota, too. 

Former Texas A&M WR Thomas Johnson arrested on murder charge

Thomas Johnson
Associated Press

A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”

Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”

“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.

The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.