Rice football coach David Bailiff is just like everyone else, in that he started suffering from Johnny Football Fatigue late this summer.
“You can’t help but follow some of it,” he said at a Friday press conference, “(but) it was almost overexposure to where you wanted to listen to classical music on the way home because you knew you weren’t gonna get any reports.”
That’s coming from a guy whose opportunity to win a football game this weekend is deeply affected by Manziel, who will sit out the first half of Texas A&M’s season-opening game Saturday against Rice on suspension for breaking an NCAA amateurism rule.
Hot diggity dog, right?
“We can’t make this about Johnny Manziel,” Bailiff said.
Bailiff, who was neighbors with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin when Sumlin was coaching at the University of Houston, acknowledged what a booger Manziel is to prepare for. There isn’t even a consensus among coaches as to the best way to defend him.
“We talked to every school they played last year,” Bailiff said. “Some people said, ‘We should have blitzed more,’ other people would say, ‘Whatever you do, don’t blitz him.’ ”
Texas A&M is, of course, a heavy favorite over the Owls, but Manziel spending the first half on the bench gives Rice a hook on which to hang its hopes.
The two quarterbacks behind Manziel on the depth chart are junior Matt Joeckel, who has 11 career pass attempts, and freshman Kenny Hill. So, you know, you get an inexperienced quarterback out there — he’s got a little of that don’t-screw-this-up pressure on him — and maybe you turn him over a time or two before the Heisman Trophy winner pulls off the dunce cap and straps on his helmet.
Because once that dunce cap comes off, look out.
“He’s the best in the world,” Bailiffe said. “It didn’t matter who they played, if he wanted to break contain, he broke contain. He can extend the play better than anybody I’ve seen in the history of college football.”
Now, here comes your links entering the holiday weekend . . .