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Manziel Glad To Talk 'Bama

by Mark Mayfield
Jul 19, 2013 2:15 PM EDT



HOOVER, Ala. — Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel faced relentless questions at SEC Media Days here Wednesday about his off-the-field behavior, overshadowing — pardon the pun — the big elephant in the room: Alabama. Texas A&M’s Sept. 14 showdown with the Crimson Tide not only will affect the SEC West race, it has season-long implications in the national rankings. So, between dozens of questions about his early departure from the Manning Passing Academy last weekend, Manziel seemed almost relieved to talk about Alabama. After all, Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron roomed with Manziel at the Manning camp, and the two have developed a friendship during the last year. “We have a cool relationship,” Manziel said. “We don’t sit there and talk trash or anything like that. We playfully kid with each other, but we’re just buddies.” Nevertheless, that friendship apparently didn’t extend to McCarron waking his friend up in time for his appointments. Manziel admittedly slept through his commitments at the camp, blaming it on exhaustion and denying reports that he was hung over after a night of partying. Asked why McCarron didn’t wake him up, Manziel said: “I don’t know. Maybe he was off doing his own thing. … Definitely don’t pin it on him. It was my fault, 115, 120 percent.” McCarron’s “a great quarterback,” Manziel said. “He’s done a lot. He can sit there and talk about rings and I can sit there and talk about a trophy. I want what he has and he might want what I have. He’s a good dude.” Manziel turned more serious when asked about Alabama coach Nick Saban’s public support of proposals designed to slow down no-huddle offenses out of concerns for safety of defenders. Saban and others want a rule that would allow defenses to substitute after first downs. “The rules are the rules,” Manziel said. “If he’s going to a board and get those changed, by all means, go for it if he’s really that worried about it, and if it’s that big of a deal. But at the end of the day, you just need to go on the field and play football.”