Thursday, August 22, 2013
Coaches tab Murray, not Manziel, first team
By Chris Low
The SEC coaches have spoken, and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is only good enough to garner second-team status on the 2013 preseason All-SEC team.
Georgia’s Aaron Murray was voted first team by the coaches and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel second team. Alabama’s AJ McCarron was the third-team quarterback.
It’s a good thing the SEC stopped releasing the coaches’ preseason team in conjunction with the SEC media days.
Could you imagine the circus that would have ensued -- all the coaches being polled on who didn’t vote for Manziel?
It would have been the Tim Tebow-Steve Spurrier soap opera all over again in 2009 when the Head Ball Coach was the only one of the SEC coaches who didn’t vote Tebow first team, and it became THE story at the SEC media days that year.
Spurrier acknowledged that he wasn’t the one who filled out his ballot (a common practice among coaches) and then signed off on it without paying it much attention.
In this case, it’s obvious that several coaches didn’t vote for Johnny Football, who set an SEC record last season with 5,116 yards of total offense on his way to becoming the first freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy.
Manziel already has enough controversy swirling around him with the ongoing NCAA investigation into whether or not he took money for signing autographs. Those close to him insist that he was already salivating at the thought of carving apart a few defenses and taking out his frustration over all the scrutiny he’s received during the offseason.
Granted, Manziel brought much of that scrutiny on himself. But, now, he has even more motivation.
The coaches in this league either think Murray is better or they think Manziel might stumble under the glare of that scrutiny.
Of course, Texas A&M isn’t really saying anything about Manziel’s status this season other than its chancellor questioning some of the media’s reporting in the matter.
If Manziel plays -- and most close to the situation seem to think that he will – you can bet that it will make for great theater.
But, then, when is Johnny Football not great theater?
Regardless of who anybody thinks should genuinely be the SEC’s first-team quarterback, the truth is that the league has three of the best in the country.
Murray has a chance to become only the third player in FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards in four straight seasons and is 20 touchdown passes away from surpassing former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel as the SEC’s career leader in touchdown passes (114).
All McCarron has done is lead Alabama to back-to-back national championships. He threw 30 touchdown passes and only three interceptions last season and has played brilliantly in each of the last two BCS National Championship Games. He would become the first FBS quarterback in history to win three national championships if the Tide take home another crystal trophy this season.
Anyway, let the great debate begin.
Alabama placed a league-high five players on the first team. The Crimson Tide had a total of 16 players on all three teams. Georgia and LSU each had eight players receive recognition, while Florida and Tennessee each had seven.
Interestingly enough, South Carolina only had five players selected and Texas A&M four, and both of those teams will start the season ranked in the top 10 nationally. Kentucky is the only school in the league that had fewer than four players named to the All-SEC team.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own player.