Johnny Football comes to Hog Country

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Hesiman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M prepares to fire a pass against the Razorbacks in the Aggie's 45-33 victory Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Over the years, as an Arkansas Razorback season ticket holder, I have been afforded the opportunity of watching several Heisman Trophy winners flash their brilliance on the gridiron.

Texas' Earl Campbell was a moose on jet skis. No one player could tackle him without help. Bo Jackson from Auburn was simply the best athlete I've ever seen. Andre Ware of Houston was a record setting passer in the late 1980s while Tim Tebow of Florida simply willed his way to wins. Heisman winner Cam Newton, another Auburn Tiger, put together possibly the best single season in college football player history.

Now comes Johnny Football, or Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Slippery as an eel, quicker than a hiccup, Manziel is virtually impossible to catch. Time after time, Manziel seemed hopelessly trapped by Arkansas defenders Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, only to slip away like a thief in the night.

Manziel not only frustrates his opponents with his elusiveness, but angers opposing team's fans with his brashness and cockiness. One either loves the guy or hates him; there is no in between. But make no mistake, Manziel is the best player in college football today. Listening to the radio on my drive home from Fayetteville Sunday, a sportscaster remarked that Heisman voters are trying to find someone else to award this year's coveted trophy to. Scour the countryside, look under rocks, or travel to the moon: you won't find anyone as talented as Johnny Football. Not Teddy Bridgewater, not Marcus Mariota or even Taj Boyd can work magic like the Aggie field general.

Razorback quarterback Brandon Allen threw for more yards and Hog running back Alex Collins ran for more, but in the end Manziel came away with the big plays to give his team a 45-33 victory, the Aggie's 10th straight road win over the last two years.

Speaking of the Hogs, for the first time since Bret Bielema took over the reigns as head coach, I feel confident that the Razorbacks are in good hands and headed in the right direction. For those who think Bielema's style is three yards and a cloud of dust, think again. He definitely wants to run the ball, but he is committed to a balanced attack, which was evident when he was at Wisconsin.

The Hogs have a pair of outstanding running backs in Collins and Jonathan Williams, and are just one big play receiver away from giving Bielema the balanced attack he's shooting for on a consistent basis. Defensively, the Razorbacks need help at linebacker and in the secondary, but there is help on the way. A year ago at this time, the Hogs were in disarray without any signs of leadership; that is certainly not the case today.

The Razorbacks are at least a year away from being the team most fans want to see, but their time is coming soon. Maybe there's another Johnny Football on the horizon that will don a Hog uniform. Razorback fans can only dream.

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