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Johnny Manziel Will Silence Critics with Big Season

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Johnny Manziel Will Silence Critics with Big Season
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Johnny Manziel has had the most publicized offseason in college football history, but he will be able to silence his critics by putting up big numbers on the field this season.

From Kirk Herbstreit, courtesy of AL.com, to Ricky Williams, per KEYE TV, many people have made their opinions of the Heisman Trophy winner public. 

Manziel's offseason has been widely discussed. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reported that Manziel left the Manning Passing Academy early. The Associated Press (via ESPN.com) reported that the NCAA is investigating the quarterback's role in autograph signings.

Those were just a couple of things that have happened since the season ended.

Less than two weeks remain before Texas A&M's season begins, and Manziel will finally be able to silence his critics, assuming he is eligible. If the NCAA finds that the quarterback received money for signing autographs, the passer could be ruled ineligible.

When the Aggies take the field against Rice on Aug. 31, all eyes will be on the offense.

Expectations are high this season, for both Manziel and the Aggies. The sophomore will be expected to follow up his outstanding freshman season with an even better performance. Texas A&M is ranked No. 7 by the AP and No. 6 by the coaches, according to ESPN.com.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The only way Manziel can silence his critics is to play well on the field.

He threw for 3,706 yards with 26 touchdowns to only nine interceptions, and he ran for 1,410 yards and added 21 more scores. He had five games with at least 250 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. 

As a dual-threat quarterback, teams have to figure out a way to stop his entire game. He can throw the ball to put up points, and he can move the football with his feet. His skills make him tough to contain even when he is pressured. 

The quarterback had at least one touchdown in all but one game and at least five touchdowns in six different games last season. It will be difficult to top those numbers, but he will continue to develop under coach Kevin Sumlin.

As a team, the Aggies went 10-2 in the regular season and blew out Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Losses to Florida and LSU by a combined eight points cost Texas A&M a shot at a BCS bowl. 

After last year's success, the team will now be expected to contend for the SEC title and make a run at a national championship.

There will be two ways for Manziel to quiet his critics: a second Heisman Trophy or an SEC title.

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Some critics will continue to criticize him if he fails to win a national championship, but winning the SEC will most likely earn his team a spot in the game.

The Aggies will be favored in at least 10 of their games this season, if not all of them. Texas A&M was the only team to knock off Alabama last season, and it gets the Crimson Tide at Kyle Field this year. A trip to Death Valley in November will give the Aggies a chance to avenge last season's loss, which was the only game in which Manziel did not account for a touchdown.

Texas A&M starts the year with four consecutive home games followed by two road games. The second half of the schedule repeats that pattern.

Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, and he will now face the challenge of matching, if not exceeding that success this year.

If he fails to repeat last season's performance, the critics will blame his wild offseason. However, he won't have to worry about that when he puts up big numbers in his second season.

The 20-year-old will find a way to live up to the hype. He likely has his sights set on becoming the second player to ever win the Heisman Trophy more than once, and his offseason will have no affect on his performance this season once he takes the field.

All eyes will be on Manziel and Texas A&M this season, and the sophomore will silence his critics.  

 

*All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com

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