By Brent Stecker
Second-year Washington State head football coach Mike Leach has seen a media day or two in his time, especially during his highly-successful nine-year tenure at Texas Tech. Because of that, there isn’t a much better person to explain what Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is going through.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has been in hot water all week after leaving the Manning Passing Academy early. (AP)
Leach joined “Wyman, Mike and Moore” Thursday afternoon, and he had some insights about the 20-year-old Manziel, who has been surrounded by controversy all week after he left the Manning Passing Academy early and then didn’t do himself any favors with his interviews at the SEC’s Media Days.
“He commanded America’s attention because of his play on the field, and so I think that magnifies it some, probably unjustly to a point,” Leach said. “You’re talking about a true freshman. He had a gigantic year, and between people being impressed with the success he had, there’s those that are trying to punch holes in it. I think he’s probably a normal person.”
Leach said players of Manziel’s stature can be hindered by being held to a different standard than their less famous teammates.
“I think he’s always a competitive guy, but he’s not perfect. He does things on the field, and sometimes the guy on the field can do some things so brilliantly that they assume somehow they’re at a higher level in all aspects of their life, and that’s not necessarily the case, nor is it possible.”
As much trouble as Manziel has had this week, Leach believes it’s actually pretty easy to keep college players from getting into hot water during media days.
“Typically the players you bring to media day are guys that have some experience with the media, and they’re either guys that represent your team well or guys that the media sought after before,” said Leach. “I’ve never really had any problems, because they’re the more seasoned guys. Where you might run into something is like during the year, you might have a younger, more inexperienced guy, some kind of heat-of-the-moment deal, like after a big win or a big loss and somebody says something insensitive.”