You'll have to forgive Johnny Manziel if he's feeling pretty good about himself these days. He won the Heisman Trophy, after all. And the Associated Press Player of the Year. And the Davey O'Brien Award. Heck, he's even hanging out with Megan Fox backstage at NBC's The Tonight Show.
It's been a good year for the freshman quarterback. A very, very good year. But Johnny Football has to find a way to keep this offseason from going to his head.
It would be easy to sit back, relax and assume he'll simply replicate his 2012 season. But that won't happen. Defenses are going to be keyed into him each week. Defensive coordinators will desperately hope to prove they can contain Johnny Football. Opposing players won't want to look bad at his expense.
It's only going to get more difficult. With the spotlight comes more pressure, greater expectations, increased scrutiny. Relax too much, and you get burned when you're The Man. And Manziel is most certainly The Man in the SEC now.
Plus, he's likely losing a few people who were key to his success this year. Wide receiver Ryan Swope is off to the NFL. Tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews probably are as well. Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury is taking over as head coach at Texas Tech.
His supporting cast is dwindling. Hopefully, that doesn't mean that the group of people capable of keeping him in line and making sure he remains humble is dwindling, too.
When you accumulate 4,600 yards from scrimmage (an SEC record, by the way) and 43 touchdowns in the country's toughest conference, the hype machine will naturally follow. And that's fine. What won't be fine is if Johnny Football starts buying into that hype.
He deserves to make the rounds after all of the awards he's won. It's good for him to be the new ambassador for Texas A&M football, especially since the school is still the new kid on the block in the SEC. There's nothing wrong with him soaking this all in a little bit.
My old football coach used to have a saying before we would practice. Once you step over that white line, you leave everything but football behind. Having problems with the girlfriend? File it away until after practice. Concerned with a test? Study your butt off, but do so once practice ends.
Feeling like a big shot after last year? Good for you. But once you're on the practice or game field, you're the quarterback, the team's leader and the guy everyone is going to look toward to make big plays and know his stuff. If you're slacking because you think you can, the entire team will suffer.
I think Manziel will be fine. He seems like a grounded kid who is as surprised by all of this attention as the rest of us are that he earned it with his play this year. I don't expect him to suddenly expect success will be handed to him on a silver platter.
Against Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, we'll find out just how much all of this extra attention has affected him.
Yes, Johnny Football, all eyes are on you. How that affects you will now define the rest of your college career.
Oh, and say hello to Megan for me, would you?
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets hope Johnny Football stays frosty.
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