Comeback at Ole Miss sparked Aggies’ season

By Parrish Alford
Daily Journal

HOOVER, Ala. – Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has cited last year’s dramatic comeback win at Ole Miss as a key point in the Aggies’ 11-2 season.

Had he not reached the ball over the goal line to avoid a safety on a sack by Isaac Gross, things might not have worked out for A&M.

“What a scary day that was,” he said.

Manziel described what he was thinking after Gross’ sack.

“Man, we’re in trouble. We’re in real trouble,” he recalled. “We snuck away with me having the ball out of the end zone and not getting touched down for a safety. That would probably have been it right there. We were at the lowest point we could be in that game, so much to overcome if we wanted to win. For all of us to come together and do that was awesome.”

Stoops: Slow down!

First-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops brings an interesting perspective to the tempo offensive discussion, and he believes change is coming.

Stoops, a defensive coordinator at Houston, Arizona and Florida State before being charged to turn around the Wildcats.
Stoops signed off on the tempo offense when he hired Neal Brown, formerly of Texas Tech, as his offensive coordinator.

“It’s going to be hard for me to watch when things aren’t going well,” he joked. “I watched Neal’s offenses as Texas Tech. I saw the way they moved the ball against some quality teams. I hope we can have the same success.”
Stoops, though, is also a proponent of rules that would slow down tempo teams.

“I come from a defensive background, and I’ve had my problems with up-tempo offenses. It gets you in disarray. I do think there needs to be (change), and I believe we’re working towards that, some time to let us get situated, certainly when substitutions are involved.”

Auburn-Mississippi connections
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn are good friends who both run the tempo offense.

Malzahn, who won’t find his starting quarterback until August camp, says he wants his offense to play faster than any in college football.

Ole Miss and Auburn won’t look similar on offense only.

The Tigers will run a 4-2-5 defense, just as Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack runs.

Two former Mississippi State assistants will play key roles in that defense. Ellis Johnson as the coordinator and Melvin Smith in the secondary.

“When we had the opportunity to get Melvin I thought that was real special,” Malzahn said. “The fact that he had a relationship with Ellis Johnson, that they had worked together, I thought that was very big.”
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes also coached at MSU previously.

Malzahn will emphasize pace on offense but with limits.

“As a head coach, I have to be able to understand how the game is going and what gives us our best chance for success. I have to manage each situation to give us the best chance to be successful,” he said.