This past weekend, Texas A&M paid a visit to Alabama, and unlike 2012, they didn’t come away making AJ McCarron nearly come to tears. So last week before the Saturday game, the SEC network re aired the November 2012 game. The Aggies were new to the SEC that year, and had a new coach in Kevin Sumlin that was about to show the good ole boys in the South, with there 6-3 title games and 184 NFL players per roster, what a “spread offense” looked like. Thanks in part to a precocious redshirt freshmen Heisman winner, as well as a young, and according to the internet, “very handsome” newly minted offensive coordinator who followed him from the university of Houston. Kliff Kingsbury only stayed on for that one year in 2012, and parlayed into going back to his alma mater for the rest of the 2010’s. Small world.
The Aggies were senselessly beating bad teams into they hit the guts of their SEC schedule in October. They narrowly lost to highly ranked LSU, and mud stomped a few other teams before arriving in Tuscaloosa. As for the game, they jumped out to a quick lead, and somehow prevented Alabama from doing what is now their traditional “hang around” and then blow the doors off people in a matter of minutes” type of game. Somehow, it didn’t happen here. The Tide would go on to absolutely destroy my precious Notre Dame in the title game that year, which may be the second time I’ve ever mentioned the trauma publicly. When pre 280 pound Eddie Lacy stiff armed/nearly picked up an Irish outside linebacker with one arm, I think we saw where this was going.
‘Bama gonna ‘Bama
This wealth of riches was plainly available to the Tide. Alabama was in its prime of dominance and has shown no signs of slowing down. They didn’t have the usual giant front seven monsters consisting of oversized 3-4 ends or hulked out middle backers, but had two first rounders in their secondary. Offensively, Alabama was buoyed by three future first round linemen, a second round and first round running back, and that Amari Cooper fella. However, the Aggies weren’t without their fair share of help for Johnny Boy. Perennial Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans helps. A lot. So do two high first round offensive tackles.
***Side Note 1*** Is it me, or do a lot of Alabama guys not tear it up the Pros? Sure you can name plenty who have, because that makes it a quantity thing. I can make lots of threes of I shoot 100 of them, but I’m talking quality. I mean, for having the top recruiting class nearly every year this decade, seems a little “sus” as the kids say.
Brent Musberger. Pervert extraordinaire.
As for opposing QB’s, AJ McCarron is a nice guy, but apparently Brent Musberger REALLY liked his girlfriend, who was on TV nonstop. This was not a good deal for him in the advent of early Twitter, who had a field day with this, as well as apparently deeming his middle age mom to be “hot”. It’s understandable why McCarron came off has defensive and douchy. Hence, in the internet had a field day with pictures like these. I wonder if people still shamelessly troll without empathy 8 years later? *checks notes. Yes. Yes, we do. Go America?
So anyway, that Manziel guy
Johnny F. had been putting on quite a display all season, and what an athlete he was. Surely if he didn’t have the instincts for quarterback (instincts versus playbook IQ), he would have been a perfect slot receiver or punt returner, and probably quite effective at the D1 level. His ability to fling throws from different arm angles and be halfway accurate made scouts drool, but probably drove coaches also viewing his film crazy, especially at the pro level. Frankly, he just processed the game quickly, and not so much in sitting back like Tom Brady and processing a chess board of rolling coverage’s in 2.5 seconds, but as an athlete. He also had that confident mindset, where no situation was too big. What stood out to me in the game was this perfect teardrop dime on a 30 yard go route down the sideline to his slot receiver right as the safety was coming over to decapitate him. I know he had no rush, but man, that throw when they needed it to keep the chains moving and burn the clock, that was probably on his Heisman reel.
***Side note 2***Let’s check out some famous coaches. Kirby Smart ran Saban’s defense for nearly a decade, before parlaying it into Georgia’s coaching gig. Under his watch, Georgia has become a recruiting monster, along with Clemson and Ohio St. It’s almost like these four teams in the past decade but especially the past half decade, seem to scoop up between 1/3 to ½ of ALL the 5 star recruits (there are usually around 25-30 a year). SO EVERYONE else gets the other 60%. Cool. Thanks guys.
“Wrap that gavel up, B.”
Manziel was the perfect point guard for a good spread offense. NFL offenses weren’t as open to the spread concepts in the early decade, hence why guys like Marcus Mariotta are backups, now. Luckily, if you played QB at Oklahoma in the past three to four years, NFL teams will bend over backwards to mesh their offense with college concepts. (Must be nice, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.) If Manziel showed up in 2020, he’d still put up crazy numbers, but wouldn’t be fawned over as aggressively. 2012 was a long ass time ago when it comes to college football X and O’s and how they are used down at high schools, but also trickling into the pros. He had swagger on the field, but the pressure of football and internet fame drove him to party way too hard. Some people cope in different ways, and we’re human, but that was a huge red flag for NFL Scouts. Anyone with a football mind could see that Manziel would have been a pain in the ass to reel in and sit down in a film room and lead a team. And get this, he was.