One day after brushing past Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on his way to the sideline following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel continued to draw flak Sunday from college football analysts.
The primary issue centered around replays of Manziel bumping into, then walking past Sumlin as the coach approached him after the fourth-quarter penalty. Sumlin benched Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, after the incident.
But the A&M coach, who rebuked Manziel in his postgame news conference, needs to take things to another level, ESPN analyst Matt Millen said.
“That kid, I would bench him this week after I gave him a size-13 [shoe] in the rear end. That stuff can’t happen,” said Millen, a longtime NFL player and former Detroit Lions general manager. “The thing that got me was when he just ignored Kevin Sumlin as he’s walking off the field. The guy won the Heisman Trophy. Everybody knows, including himself, that the spotlight is brightest on him. So … have a little class. Not third. First class.”
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ESPN analyst Mark May, a 13-year NFL offensive lineman and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, said Manziel’s action in regard to Sumlin was unacceptable and smacked of “a very selfish player that doesn’t care about his teammates.”
Both analysts made their comments during Sunday’s telecast of the Louisville-Ohio football game.
“Now, the fans are starting to turn against Johnny Manziel. And they should,” May said. “He needs to wake up. He’s not a 6-year-old at Toys ’R Us not getting his favorite toy. He’s a college football player and … you don’t ‘diss’ your head coach on the football field.”
In Saturday’s game, Manziel regularly jawed with Rice players before drawing his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sumlin called it a “foolish penalty” and said he had no plans to bench Manziel until it occurred. He also said he would address hand gestures Manziel made during the contest toward Rice players after reviewing videotapes.
ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, a longtime college coach, said: “I have faith in Kevin Sumlin. He’ll handle it properly.”
A&M players expressed support for Manziel and his fiery demeanor after the game. In a Sunday interview with the Carroll County (Md.) Times, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco indicated the anti-Manziel sentiments are becoming too much.
“I feel like now, everybody hates him. He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football,” Flacco said.
But May said Sunday that Manziel must be more “professional” on the field when he releases emotion. And that cannot include actions that show up his coach in front of teammates and TV cameras.
“If Tim Tebow did that, I’d fall out of my chair. If Brett Favre ‘dissed’ a coach like that, I’d fall out of my chair,” May said, citing two other fiery quarterbacks. “When you’re a leader and you’re a college quarterback, you … act professional. It doesn’t mean you’re a professional football player. It’s how you carry yourself as a professional.”