Hobbs Column: Manziel was more fun when he was about more than just football

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Come on, Johnny Football, don’t be good. Be Johnny Jet-Setter.

Do something. Anything. Preferably something deliciously scandalous and worthy of a Twitter meltdown.

Your loyal subjects demand it.

Texas A&M plays at LSU Saturday afternoon, and this is supposed to the be the circus come to town.

The football promises to be all fireworks and afterburners, truck jumping and mid-air collisions.

But this is supposed to be more.

We want TMZ and ET on the tailgate scene, not Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson.

Where are the showgirls?

Will the Kardashians be in Tiger Stadium?

Is LeBron coming?

What? Not a peep on Facebook.

Come on, man. Twitter demands it.

What a bummer.

After the memorable Summer of Johnny piqued everybody’s interest, this was supposed to be the Fall of Penance, the fall from


But it seems lately all Johnny Football wants to do is play football.

Now all he wants to be is Johnny Manziel, football player.

Nice. But booorrr-ing.

Remember July and August? Which followed a whirlwind spring.

The smart money then said there was no way Manziel could repeat his stunts of last year’s Heisman run. Mere bland banquet

circuits for Heisman winners have often derailed sterner constitutions than that of Johnny Playboy.

Maybe he went to a banquet. Or would have, if they had one in Cabo Wabo. Or the French Riviera.

While other quarterbacks were dutifully

bonding with their receivers on scorching hot and parchy summer days,

young Johnny

was out and about, here and there, courtside, front row,

frolicking in the surf or breaking 80 at Pebble Beach, usually with

things soft and shapely on his arm.

And Thibodaux, gosh yes, Thibodaux — OK, maybe not jet-setter heaven — but for a few days there he put it on the national

map by offending the royal Mannings at their passing academy with more interesting things to do — uh, “social events,” he

would later refer to them — than babysit young high school quarterbacks.

This was all supposed to catch up with him, to say nothing of alienating teammates who don’t have the luxury or the means

of attending college the way it was meant to be — i.e., online, and as if every day was spring break in Cancun.

The old guard was appalled, and also certain that, on the outside chance the NCAA didn’t whack his eligibility for something,

some well-conditioned linebacker surely would do the job in the trenches.

But Johnny Football is steady playing some football.

Don’t let this get out among coaches, but maybe a distraction-filled summer that is light on team interaction and heavy on

blackjack is the new way to go, the wave of the future.

Maybe blood, sweat and 10-yard out routes are all overrated. More Jell-O shots!

Because Johnny can still flat play some

football, even if he’d sooner be caught at the Cannes Film Festival

than the A&M film


But now, I’m not even sure the paparazzi will bother showing up.

The season started with a lot of

promise. He was suspended for the first game and a half — hang on for

the ride — presumably

solely on suspicion or principle, since the NCAA said it never

could prove that he signed his name for anything more than

the sheer, Tebow-esque joy of watching those delightful little

smiles light up on the weathered faces of autograph brokers.

He also made sure to offend some by ignoring and walking past a teachable moment (butt-chewing) from his head coach following

a perfectly good taunt of a Sam Houston State player.

Oh, yes, this was going to be a fun season, a regular Texas roller coaster.

But, since then, nothing really, nothing but football. No Johnny Cocktail.


Even on the football field, Manziel is showing more and more of the warning signs of a conventional quarterback, rather than

the reckless force of nature that was such a shock to everybody’s system a year ago.

He’ll still run around back there,

still daring to carry the ball one-handed through the defensive briars

and bushes, but

always looks to be searching for secondary receivers, outlets they

call them, rather than butting heads with guys twice his


There’s been no true Heisman Moment yet, but right now he’d have my vote. He kind of put a semi-scare into Alabama, almost

got killed in a gallant effort trying to beat Auburn.

Thing is, though, he’s throwing for more yards and touchdowns than he even did a year ago, which was a bunch and which also

didn’t seem possible.

I’m not into stats for my Heisman, but mainly there is the image of the one-man worry-wart desperately trying to score more

points than his leaky defense can up.

He was more fun, though, when he was trying to stay one step ahead of the gossip shows, too.

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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com