1. Wow, what a weekend. Don't get me wrong, I knew this Heisman Trophy deal would be big especially for hardcores like ourselves. But to be honest, I under-estimated just how much it meant to so many A&M fans that Johnny won the Heisman. I've watched several videos on YouTube of the Aggies celebrating at numerous watch parties at homes, the Clayton Williams Center, the parking lot at Aggieland Outfitters, a hotel bar in downtown Austin. The spontaneous eruptions of screaming (excuse me...yelling) fans reminds me of the announcement of the future host site of the Olympics where you see a four-way split screen of the four final cities and the winning city's screen goes into total chaos and mayhem. Saturday night will end up being one of those "you will always remember where you were" moments when Johnny's name was called.
2. I've always wondered if I would truly want fame if given the opportunity, and the older I get the easier that question is answered....no. Sure, I chuckle when I see the ladies hanging on Johnny and I do say to myself, "man, to be Johnny Frickin Football for one day just so I can obliterate that hot blonde in those Halloween photos." Come on, you don't really think I want to hang out with Scott Baio and Elvis Costello all the time (well, I do occasionally dream of being Costello's permanent roadie for life). Or I see Johnny sitting down doing a nice chat with Dan Patrick and I wish for a moment how it feels to be 20 years-old and the talk of the nation. But then I snap out of it and go on with what I was doing. Well, Johnny can't do that. Johnny will soon learn that there's a lot of things he can't do anymore. His life has changed....both for the good and unfortunately what I think is for the bad. He is no longer a simple college student, and in some way that's sad. Everything he does is now under a microscope whether he likes it or not. Hey, I understand it comes with the territory and he embraces it, but there will be times when he'll just want to be a student and another face in the crowd so he can do student things.
3. One more observation about Johnny and I'll move on. His stage presence and speaking has improved significantly from his first press conference just a few weeks ago. Not that he did a bad job at that first presser. He did much better than I expected. In fact, after listening to him this morning on the Dan Patrick Show, I think he's gotten better in interviews even from last week when he first did the DP Show and Mike and Mike on ESPN. He seemed to be still relying on the humble cliches' and the politically correct talking points that A&M officials fed him. He was more conversational and opinionated in this morning's interview. He had a maturity about him, as if he grew up once he accepted the Heisman Trophy. Here's my point and you might think it's strange, but this is a cross-roads for Johnny Manziel. We've seen it too many times. A young person with fame can either rise to the occasion and adapt to their new situation and learn to thrive in it, or they get overwhelmed, regress, and become a flash in the pan. So far, Johnny appears to grasp the situation and has indicated that he plans to go back to Whitfield and continue to work on improving his game. Dan Patrick brought up playing in the pros and compared him to Russell Wilson and Drew Brees from a height stand. Johnny going pro has never crossed my mind until now because frankly he simply doesn't have the skill set right now to play in the league. If that seed is now planted, developing his game and making it to the NFL is his driving force and the motivation to improve..which he'll need to do to stay successful and out in-front of college defensive coordinators who are now looking for ways to stop him. And if that happens, the Texas A&M football program will be a fixture in the Top 10 for the next three years.
4. Having a Heisman Trophy-winning freshman QB has many advantages and perks for the football program. For example, it helps to land receiver recruits like Jaquay Williams and Ricky Seal-Jones who wants to catch passes from Johnny Football. RSJ made it official this morning. That will give Manziel two 6-foot-5 targets (Evans, RSJ) and two 6-foot-3 targets (Williams, Parker), and they are elite pass catchers as well. Throw in a 6-foot-6 tight end in Cameron Clear and that's a nice stable of receivers. Johnny Heisman's new fame will also help with other positions. However, it does pose one potential problem at the quarterback position. Who wants to play behind Johnny Manziel and sit on the bench for three years? Apparently, that's what recruiters are now telling A&M QB commit Kenny Hill...and they have been working on him for weeks now. According to my KSU sources at the network, the KSU coaches have been working Kenny pretty hard and bringing up playing time saying he can come in and replace Heisman contender Colin Klein immediately or he can go to A&M and ride the pine for three years. They believe he's listening and that they have him thinking seriously about his situation at A&M. Now, Tony Hooten interviewed him last Thursday and he seemed pretty excited about coming to A&M so I'm not sure if Kenny is downplaying his interest in KSU, or if KSU is overplaying their hand on this one. It is worth following because the whole "waiting three years to play" is a valid issue. Early playing time is a big factor for many recruits. Also, if it isn't KSU, it could be anybody looking for an accomplished high school QB that can compete for a starting spot immediately. With Kohl Stewart's collegiate football future in limbo with Major League Baseball looking to draft him in the first round, keeping Hill suddenly becomes a big deal. Lose Hill and all of a sudden A&M has serious QB depth issues for 2015 and beyond...and possibly sooner if Showers and Joeckel decide to transfer. The staff may have to add QB to their 2014 class wish list. Certainly, it's too early to panic, but keep an eye on the QB position this offseason.
5. Sources are telling me that Kliff Kingsbury is in Lubbock today interviewing. As of this morning, he had not been offered the job and he doesn't know if he'll be offered the job. I'm told that if an offer is extended, he will likely accept the position. As I mentioned yesterday, another Tech source told me that Kingsbury is definitely on the short list, but Chad Morris is likely the front runner heading into the search.
6. Yes, I have officially become one of those crusty, old College Station locals. I'm already counting the days until finals are over and 50,000 students leave my community for Christmas break. Oh, the joy of tranquil streets, quiet restaurants, and empty movie theatres. Not only do us B/CS locals lounge around and watch a lot of bowl games, but we also use this month to go to every eatery and public place in the area that we normally avoid like the Plague because they are packed with students. The only negative to all of this peace and quiet is that it also translates over to the home basketball games where I can get some cat naps in during halftime and timeouts without being awakened by noise. A&M has been attracting about 4500 fans a game thus far, and that number will go down to about 3000 for these next couple of games in December, but at least it wasn't the 2,500 that showed up Saturday to watch the UCLA vs. Texas in Reliant Stadium. OK, who was the genius that thought up this great idea? Let's invite two traditionally low attendance teams to a 70,000 stadium and play a basketball game during football season. I flipped it on and was amazed at the sheer lack of humanity in that huge facility...almost as amazed as I was to see the Longhorns lose an 8-point lead with under three minutes to play. They lost by six. Now that is a choke job. Their point guard (Felix) is overweight and he's just not very good.
7. Except for the dropped touchdown pass and the other two dropped passes he had, A.J. Green is the best receiver in the NFL.
8. Yes, No. 1 overall 2014 recruit Hoza Scott will be an Aggie on Wednesday. Party on Wayne. Party on Garth...
9. I hope Johnny Football got a chance to see my New York Knicks last night at MSG defeat the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo, Rasheed and the boys have the best record in the East at 15-5 and are 8-0 at home.
10. I'm making my call. We're going over the fiscal cliff. I just don't see either side budging until after January 1 when constituents start making a stink about it. In fact, we may have to wait for the new congress to get sworn in and open a new session.
Hop's Monday Thoughts and Musings
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