What's Next For Texas A&M And Manziel?

Texas A&M and Heisman Winner Johnny Manziel were the center of attention early on day two of SEC Media Days in Hoover.

Hoover, Ala.--Expectations are always high at a place like Texas A&M, but Coach Kevin Sumlin has created a monster following an impressive 11-win season last fall that included Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy.

Now the work really begins because it has been shown time and time again that it's easier to get to the top than it is to stay at the top. With a favorable schedule that starts with facing Alabama at home early in the year, the Aggies are working hard to take the next step said Sumlin.

"There are a lot of expectations for the program and for us that's a good thing," Sumlin said. "I think you want to be part of a situation where you have some relevancy in your own league and you have some relevancy in conversations across the country. As a coach that's really where you want to be.

"Right now at Texas A&M the excitement level is really, really high," he added. "What we have had to do with our football team is separate ourselves from our fans, not from a closeness standpoint, but from a reality standpoint. It's great for our former students and fans and community to be excited about this football season. They are excited about being in the SEC and about our schedule next year. As a team we have to hit the reset button."

Having to take that next step without offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, now the head coach at Texas Tech, the Aggies will lean heavily on Manziel and his offensive abilities to keep the offense moving forward this season. With a talented group of players surrounding him included Ben Malena and Mike Evans at the skill spots and projected first round offensive tackle Jake Matthews protecting his blind side, Manziel has all the tools to continue his play this season.

Now the biggest question that remains for Texas A&M is how will Manziel handle the pressure and hype heading into the new season. Ultra-talented on the field, the sophomore has been in the news much too often for Sumlin's liking since winning the Heisman Trophy and the coach said that's what they are working on to make sure he can continue to grow as a player and student-athlete.

"On the field he has done an exceptional job," Sumlin said. "Off the field there is no question that he has made some mistakes. Today will be a great experience for him and for a lot of people because he has made some mistakes. We've had discussions about that. It's like having kids. There are a lot of people in here that are parents.

"Our discipline policy and the things that we do and how we handle things are in-house. By no means are we perfect and our system isn't perfect. He has done some things that he's not very proud of. He has made some poor decisions, but he's made some good decisions. Unfortunately the poor decisions are the ones that are publicized. It's a growing process and a learning process."

Johnny Manziel was the center of attention at SEC Media Days on Wednesday.

Matthews echoed those sentiments from his head coach. While people may question Manziel's drive and determination based on his actions off the field, the big tackle said that his quarterback is still a leader and while he's got some learning to do Manziel is still the guy to take them to the next level.

"He certainly doesn't feel like a freshman," Matthews said. "Johnny is his own guy. I just trust him and his ability. I'm confident he'll be good running the show.

"The first thing I have noticed is that he's the same guy. He treats all the players the same and is a great leader. He's someone I love playing with. It's an adjustment he's going to have to get used to. It's going to be like that for a while for him, but I'm confident he's going to turn out okay."

More On Manziel: The Heisman Trophy winner was asked a variety of times about his well-publicized early departure from the Manning quarterback camp last week and said that he enjoyed the event and was invited to return next year, but also noted his behavior could have been better, repeatedly saying that he is "a 20-year-old" kid" who is still maturing. Commenting on on leaving the camp early, he said, "I simply overslept. There's nothing more to talk, and the rumors about the other things weren't really true. I just overslept and missed a meeting. I absolutely lived up to it. There was no excuse for not having my phone charged or having an alarm set. I was disappointed to not go on being a camper there three or four years prior. I was upset with myself, that was the biggest thing, but hearing Eli and Peyton afterward and the key thing was they wanted me to come back next year, that was great because I had such a great time working with the kids I had and doing some things we do at A&M. I've just been on a hectic schedule and overslept."

The quarterback also noted that one of the down sides of playing in the SEC is that led to the end of the Texas A&M-Texas rivalry, a game he enjoyed watching over the years. He noted that it is "upsetting" that the Aggies and Longhorns no longer play...Manziel drew the biggest crowd of reporters of any player in the history of SEC Media Days, including former Florida star Tim Tebow.

Commenting on being able to travel and meeting famous people since winning the Heisman Trophy, the quarterback said, "It's been lots of fun. I continue to meet people and do things that were bucket list. I got to got to Toronto, got to meet LeBron (James) for the second time and have more of a conversation. I got to go finals games and I'm thankful my parents could go to those places, and I got to go to these camps and work with kids, the Elite 11 and the Manning Camp."



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