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Johnny Manziel is muzzled, but college coaches prattle on

Texas A&M's star quarterback, a redshirt freshman, can't speak to the media. But could he say anything more inappropriate than what the grown-ups are saying?

November 15, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrates after a review proves an Aggie touchdown in the first half during the team's 29-24 victory over the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide on Saturday.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrates after a review proves… (Gary Cosby Jr. / Associated…)

Texas A&M won't let Johnny Manziel talk to the media this year because it has a policy against freshmen doing interviews.

The fear is that these young Aggies, even redshirts like Manziel, might say something immature or inappropriate.

Manziel led the Aggies to college football's upset of the year Saturday against Alabama and nobody knew how "Johnny Football" felt.

I cover college football but don't know if Manziel sounds like James Earl Jones or has a high, squeaky voice like the one historians say belonged to Abraham Lincoln.

Gary Danielson of CBS confessed on air he violated policy and spoke briefly to Manziel before the Alabama game. The sense is that Danielson won't be reprimanded because his positive work on behalf of the Southeastern Conference marginally outweighs this sort of egregious encroachment.

It's going to be something if Manziel wins the Heisman Trophy this year and has his feelings conveyed by one of those giant picture billboards Oregon uses to relay plays from the sideline.

Tank + Ewe. (Thank You).

Unless, of course, you are cynical enough to think the embargo will be lifted just in time for ESPN.

Yet no school has dared to muzzle the more serious repeat voice violators: head coaches.

The redshirt grown-ups continue to prattle on without a spit filter. Just this week, Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher said of the BCS, "How retarded is it?" before walking that inappropriate comment back.

Fisher is like a lot of coaches with decent-to-good teams discovering the Bowl Championship Series for the first time. Fisher took off in a rant because his Seminoles are being decimal dinged for playing Murray State and Savannah State.

Florida State is No. 6 in the coaches' and Harris polls, but only 10th in the BCS standings because of its No. 17 computer ranking. Two BCS computers, Sagarin and Massey, don't even have Florida State in the top 25.

That can be argued as ridiculous, but someone needed to pull Fisher aside and tell him the BCS has been around 14 years and the reason it's flawed is the same reason it's being junked in 2014.

"I think it stinks," Fisher said as if he coined the phrase yesterday.

Sorry, but former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti topped you in 2001 when he called the BCS a cancer.

Fisher might have stopped there, but then said he thought coaches should pick the national title teams and revealed he voted his team No. 4.

Florida State is not No. 4 in any poll, including the North.

"The coaches would be the best," Fisher said. "You've got to have people who have a clue."

Sure, let's return to 2007 when New Mexico State Coach Hal Mumme voted Hawaii No. 1. Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, bless his dad-gum heart, tended to prop up teams coached by his sons.

Fisher said he devoted two hours to his vote in the coaches' poll every week but, when pressed, couldn't remember where he ranked Clemson.

If only someone had whispered in Fisher's ear, "Psssst, coach, the BCS has been pretty kind to Florida State." In 2000, the BCS computers pushed the Seminoles into the title game instead of Miami, which stood No. 2 in both polls and defeated Florida State during the season.

Texas A&M's Manziel isn't allowed to talk, but Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville can whack the headset off a graduate assistant's head on national television and later tell everyone it was an accident. And get away with only a reprimand.

Mike Leach has said his Washington State players had an "empty corpse quality" and looked as if they came from a zombie convention.

He and his staff are now being accused by his former star receiver of abuse. Leach denies any wrongdoing.

Manziel can't talk about beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa but we get to hear Wyoming Coach Dave Christensen savage Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun in a postgame, expletive-filled attack that would have turned Howdy Doody's face 100 shades of Alabama's Crimson.

Lane Kiffin suggested out loud he wouldn't vote USC No. 1 when he did. UCLA Coach Jim Mora said a lowlife sending out tweets using a Bruins player's name should be jailed, though he later amended his comments.

Manziel is Harpo Marx, or the silent half in Penn & Teller, but Oregon Coach Chip Kelly can go on television week after week and spin fairy tales.

As Oregon players literally limped off the field toward surgery in Saturday night's game against Cal at Berkeley, the Ducks coach blithely chanted his rehearsed mantra to a sideline reporter: "What injuries?"

To start with, starting safety Avery Patterson had been shown being helped down a staircase with tears streaming down his face after sustaining an apparent knee injury that will keep him out of this week's game against Stanford and all others.

Other "what injuries?" included star back Kenjon Barner's writhing in pain as he clutched his wrist and star quarterback Marcus Mariota's dangling his left (non-throwing) shoulder as he ran to the sideline.

Among other Oregon players not recognized as injured were three of the Ducks' top defensive linemen, who watched from the sideline with non-injuries to their shoulder, foot and knee.

The X-ray was developed in the late 1800s, but it is only "rumored" in Eugene that defensive lineman Wade Keliikipi has a broken ankle.

Injuries are taboo at Oregon, yet it appears offensive star De'Anthony Thomas may have to play some cornerback against Stanford this week.

Johnny can write and read (especially defenses), but don't let him near a microphone this year.

Let the paid professionals handle the tough questions, because you just never know what might come out of a freshman's mouth.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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