Johnny Manziel Doesn't Need to Run Against Alabama

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 13, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 07:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws back across the field in hte third quarter against the Sam Houston State Bearkats at Kyle Field on September 7, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Everyone likes to talk about Johnny Manziel as a dual-threat quarterback, but he's not going to need to run in order to take down the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.

Manziel was able to cement his Heisman Trophy candidacy last season by taking down the Crimson Tide in a thriller.  The Aggies won, 29-24, and Manziel finished the game by going 24-for-31 with 253 yards passing and two touchdowns along with 92 yards on the ground.

It was truly amazing to watch Johnny Football play last season.  He finished with over 5,000 yards of total offense and 47 total touchdowns while he ran for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

This season, however, he hasn't taken off and ran that often.  He's only ran the ball 13 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, but that's not a bad thing.  

Manziel has looked better as a passer up to this point.  He may have been playing against subpar schools, but he has still put up good numbers through three halves of eligibility.  He's gone 34-for-49 for 497 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception so far.

The Aggies don't need to worry about Manziel running this season because their offense has a great one-two punch in the backfield.  Ben Malena is  a 5'9'', 195-pound running back with plenty of speed while Tra Carson, a sophomore back listed at 6'1'' and 230 pounds, has a good combination of size and speed.

As you can see from their stats so far, the two are doing just fine in making up for the lack of production on the ground from Manziel.

Both backs can be excellent weapons for Texas A&M this Saturday against Alabama.  A lot of the planning for the Crimson Tide is on figuring out how to stop Manziel, which means that Malena and Carson may keep the Tide guessing and help draw the defense up for Manziel to take advantage of deep with the play action.

It may sound crazy, but Manziel may not need to make incredible plays one after another on Saturday, or even this season, because there are a lot of questions for Alabama on offense.

A.J. McCarron was sacked four times against Virginia Tech and the offensive line just looked out of sync.  With D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack all gone to the NFL, Alabama's offensive line is a lot worse from a year ago.

Manziel is going to make plays on Saturday because that's what he does.  He's an incredible college football player and although he has the athletic ability, he won't be forced to run in this big-time matchup.