Roy Manning at Night with Cougar Football (CF.C)

Roy Manning, WSU's Mozart with a Whistle, says popular video pep talks are here to stay

BELLEVUE — Asked early Saturday evening when he would be firing up another of his patented Cougar football hype videos, Twitter sensation Roy Manning smiled and said maybe when spring ball gets underway. Two hours later, urged on by the throng of crimson partisans gathered at Bellevue’s Hyatt Regency for “A Night with Cougar Football,” the Washington State assistant coach was on center stage delivering a stemwinder.

We captured 35 high-octane seconds of Manning’s viral magic. Sure, it’s a little grainy and the audio could be crisper, but there’s no lack of clarity when it comes to Manning’s enthusiasm for the next edition of Cougar football:

In a one-on-one conversation with earlier in the evening, Manning talked about the origins of his pre- and post-game video tweets.

When he started coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Michigan, following three years in the NFL, Manning said he channeled his competitive nature into various physical challenges. When he conquered running a certain number of stair sets, for instance, he’d turn on the camera and exclaim “you’ve still got it.”

Manning chuckles at the telling of his private motivationals. “I would do a little bit but not showing anybody.”

Then last summer, at the dawn of training camp is Lewiston, he decided to take his filmmaking public.

“It’s such an exciting time, when the buzz of a new football season is in the air. I was riding to practice, put a song on in the background, and started talking into my phone. I wanted our guys to see it an attack that practice,” he said. “I thought ‘People are going to think I’m crazy,’ but it’s for our guys. And then it took off like wildfire.”

He started tweeting video pep talks everyday, all completely off the cuff.

Antonio Huffman, WSU's assistant AD for football operations, was asked by emcee Yogi Roth what he initially thought of Manning's efforts. "Keep it coming," he said. "For me, it was jump on board, I'm for it."

Two losses to open the season quelled the momentum, but following the Week 3 win over Idaho, Manning decided it was time for his first-ever post-game missive.

“I’m jacked up because in that game we played well in all three phases. The offense, defense and special teams played like they can, like the team they are. I was so relieved and excited, I did another video and it went viral. Seven, eight-straight wins, I just kept it going.”

Going so far, in fact, that took notice and did a feature on Manning after the Cougs reached 7-2.


“It’s out of control, man. It’s out of control. My Twitter feed just gets blown up after games,” Manning told ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “There are so many messages or mentions on there. Like, ‘Can’t wait for this next video. I know it’s going to be good. I’m fired up.’ There’s starting to be some pressure. I’m like, ‘I gotta bring it.’”

Bring it he did. Three days later, after the Cougs routed Cal 56-21, Manning was Mozart with a Whistle, delivering this caffeinated concerto  ...

Eight straight feels real great, indeed.

Manning’s video tweets have a cult following among players, fans and recruits. That unintended consequence is now a driving force to keep doing them, Manning says.

“These are helping get the word out about Pullman and Washington State. Our kids are working their tails off. In 2016 we proved that 2015 was no accident. Damn right. I want people to know about it.”

LATER THIS WEEK ON CF.C: Manning dissects the Cougars’ outside linebackers, nickels and rush ends as spring ball looms.

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