In previous coaching stops, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has been around multiple underclassmen who returned after winning prestigious conference or national awards.
The list includes Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, OU running back Adrian Peterson, Houston quarterback Case Keenum and Purdue quarterback Drew Brees. Sumlin said Wednesday those experiences helped him devise a blueprint for eliciting improvement from quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner who will be a sophomore this season. The key, said Sumlin, is to make Manziel focus on his weaknesses, rather than his strengths, as a player.
“In Johnny’s case, his challenge is to get a much better feel for our overall package and to think like a coach on the field,” Sumlin said. “To be able to anticipate and see the game for what it really is. The idea is to move him from an athlete that’s playing quarterback to a quarterback that’s an athlete.”
The more rapidly that Manziel can make strides in that area, the sooner A&M can get maximum production out of first-year receivers and running backs expected to contribute this season.
“We want him to be able to help really mold our offense to what we can do quickly, instead of it taking four, five, six weeks to really get a feel for what’s happening,” Sumlin said.
_ Jimmy Burch