COLLEGE STATION -- Johnny Manziel turned the world of college football on its ear last season. The question now is how will the Heisman Trophy winner prepare for his encore season?
Manziel didn’t speak at Friday press conference, but Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said he is eager to see ‘Johnny Football’ on the field after an off-season that was filled with partying and celebrity appearances.
But if Sumlin is overly concerned about Johnny Football becoming ‘Johnny Bighead’ he isn't showing it:
11 Sports’ Matt Musil: “Concerned with distractions or anything?”
Sumlin "No that's part of it."
Musil: “He handles them well?”
Sumlin: "We start practice tomorrow, right? How can I answer that?"
Musil: Well, have you talked with him recently?
Sumlin: "Sure, but that has nothing to do with his performance level."
Even though Manziel has gone “primetime,” his teammates still have his back.
"Off campus situations… we really can't speak on that because we're not Johnny Manziel, but as a leader and as a player, he's still the same guy who won the Heisman," said Texas A&M running back Ben Malena.
When Manziel was called into the Athletic Director's office last month and was told to tone down his act, it got everyone's attention on campus. But, A&M students are still clearly in Johnny Manziel's corner.
"I'd like to see a little more football and a little less partying, but you gotta do what you gotta do," said student Ben Moeller.
“He goes to Harry's and people are screaming and shouting and taking pictures of him like he's the biggest celebrity in the world, which, I would do the same," said student Enid Escobedo.
"I would like for him to be held to a higher standard just because he is kinda like a local celebrity, but as far as being focused, I feel he has his head on straight and I feel like he's gonna have a good season this year," said student Ryan Braley.
Sumlin knows defensive coaches will gear up for Manziel in 2013 and he realizes critics will continue to pick at Manziel, but Sumlin for one is counting on Johnny's inner drive to keep him on track:
"As much as we want him to improve, as hard as we can be on him, there's nobody harder on him than himself," said Coach Sumlin.