Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel finally meets the press | College football
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, often called "Johnny Football," weighed in on his catchy nickname and other topics as he spoke to the media for the first time all season.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The legend of "Johnny Football" has grown all season while Johnny Manziel piled up yards and the Texas A&M Aggies piled up victories.
On Monday, the freshman quarterback finally weighed in on his catchy nickname as he spoke to the media for the first time all season.
"I think a lot of people here in Aggieland enjoy it," he said. "But I find it extremely funny."
The success of Manziel and the Aggies is no joke. His 4,600 yards of total offense have helped No. 10 Texas A&M (10-2) to its first 10-victory season since 1998; he is a Heisman Trophy contender.
Manziel said he respected coach Kevin Sumlin's decision for him not to speak to the media during the regular season because he is a freshman. But he sounded pleased to talk to more than 100 media members listening on a national teleconference.
"It's kind of nice now to be able to kind of let you guys know how I am a little bit more," he said. "There's so many question marks out there."
Sumlin, who is in his first year at Texas A&M after four seasons at Houston, raved about Manziel and said he was a catalyst for what his team was able to do in its first season in the Southeastern Conference.
"He's a tremendous competitor and a tremendous leader, and that's something that you really don't see in a player as a redshirt freshman," Sumlin said.
Manziel has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores in a regular season the Aggies capped with five straight victories, including an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama.
Celebrity status has been shocking to Manziel, 19. Though it happens daily, he is still surprised when people approach him at restaurants and other places around College Station to ask for photos and autographs.
"I'm a small-town kid," he said. "I come from Kerrville, Texas, and I still see myself that way. I don't see myself as Johnny Football. I still see myself as Jonathan Manziel, a small-town guy from Kerrville who is extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to be able to play football here at A&M."
Manziel seemed amused by the attention given to online photos of him at a Halloween party dressed as Scooby Doo alongside scantily clad women.
Embree speaks out
BOULDER, Colo. — A choked-up Jon Embree suggested the only way he could have turned around Colorado's program in his two seasons as coach was to take shortcuts in the classroom and on the recruiting trail.
"If you just hire the next guy and say you've got two years, keep your fingers crossed," Embree said at his farewell news conference, a day after being fired with a 4-21 record, including 1-11 this year.
The 47-year-old Embree, who gets a $1.625 million buyout, seemed to think he got a raw deal, noting he only got 1 ½ recruiting classes to turn around a program that had been down on its luck for several years.
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn said, "Jon's results were extremely revealing in a very short period of time, and the prowess of the Pac-12 conference revealed it a lot faster."
• San Diego State (9-3) accepted a bid to play Brigham Young (7-5) in the Dec. 20 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.