Jim McBride’s four items of interest on this week’s college football landscape:
Johnny, be good
Well, it sure looked as though Johnny Manziel was humbled by his stern punishment of sitting out a half in Texas A&M’s rout of Rice last weekend. It wasn’t long after Manziel entered the game that he started acting like a punk. Among his notable actions were signing air autographs and taunting the Owls — resulting in a penalty and another benching, this one courtesy of Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin. Heisman Trophy winners are supposed to be guys you root for. Right now, Johnny Football isn’t displaying a lot of likeable qualities. Luckily, Sumlin has also put a gag order on his QB. “At the appropriate time, he’ll be able to speak for himself,’’ said Sumlin. Trust us coach, we are not waiting with bated breath.
Baker was cookin’
And now for a quarterback from Texas who’s easy to get behind. Texas Tech’s Baker Mayfield (with that name, he’s going places) completed 43 passes for 413 yards and four TDs in a win over SMU. He also rushed for a score. Not bad for a freshman. Make that a walk-on freshman. Could it be two straight freshman Heisman winners from the Lone Star State? That’s premature, for sure, but Mayfield has a great tutor in first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury. You might remember, he was a Patriots draftee in 2003. Kingsbury, 34, the youngest coach in FBS, threw for 12,429 yards and 95 TDs when he ran the Red Raider offense. Oh, and he was Manziel’s mentor for last season’s magical run in College Station.
Texas lose ’em
The folks in Tallahassee are beside themselves. And it has nothing to do with the fact that E.J. Manuel is working in Buffalo now. No, the Florida State loyalists are beside themselves in a good way after watching red-shirt freshman Jameis Winston (another great name!) carve up the Pitt defense to the tune of 25 of 27 for 356 yards and four TDs. The folks in Austin, Texas, however, are kicking themselves after reports surfaced that Winston, an Alabama native, was very interested in becoming a Longhorn but the interest was not mutual. He is the latest high-profile QB (a list that includes Texas natives Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Manziel) who has slipped through Mack Brown’s fingers.
Former 49ers coach Red Hickey receives much of the credit for devising the “shotgun’’ formation. Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier made the “Fun ’N’ Gun” offense the rage in the Swamp. Colin Kaepernick made the “Pistol” offense famous at Nevada. Now comes word of a new formation in Arkansas: the “No Gun” offense. And it has little to do with X’s and O’s. The school announced that it will no longer use a T-shirt gun, which is used to fire shirts into the stands, after an employee was injured when one of the unattended launchers discharged at last week’s game. It was unclear what injuries the gun caused to the employee, who was taken from the field on a stretcher and brought to a hospital.