Sumlin not worried about Manziel

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
5:44
PM ET
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Manziel took home the Heisman Trophy last season, but what Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin wants to see from him this spring is the same thing he wants to see from the rest of the Aggies when they begin spring practice on Saturday: Improvement.

Manziel and the Aggies return to the practice field this weekend to begin work towards the 2013 season after a memorable 2012. The talented signal-caller from Kerrville (Texas) Tivy has had a busy offseason that included an award ceremony, photo ops with celebrities, courtside seats at NBA games and of course, classwork and time in the weight room.

Sumlin said he isn't worried about where Manziel's focus is heading into spring.

"That's part of it," Sumlin said of the things that have come with Manziel's new fame. "We start practice tomorrow. That has nothing to do with his performance level."

Earlier this year, Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman did call a meeting that included Manziel, his family, Sumlin and A&M compliance officials to make sure everyone was on the same page as public scrutiny on Manziel increased.

It was about getting on the same page, where [Manziel] was from a support system standpoint from our university, just so he and his parents knew that -- from a compliance standpoint, from every standpoint in the university -- the proper protocol for he and his parents to go through," Sumlin said.

Manziel set the SEC record for total yards in a single season -- 5,116 -- and is looking to build on what was an impressive redshirt freshman campaign in which he threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for another 21 while leading the Aggies to an 11-2 season. Don't expect his practice repetitions to be any less than what they would normally be, at least in the first couple of weeks of spring drills, just because he had a lot of success.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsDon't expect Johnny Manziel's spring reps to be reduced despite his status as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
"Johnny needs to continue to get better," Sumlin said. "So I wouldn't look for the reps to change very much more than they would, particularly early in the spring. And when you have new coordinators, there's going to be a different personality to the offense."

The Aggies welcome three new coaches into the mix -- special teams coordinator Jeff Banks, linebackers coach Mark Hagen and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital. Also, there's a new offensive coordinator, as running backs coach Clarence McKinney was elevated.

As players get acclimated to the new coaches, Sumlin is looking for improvement from everyone, Manziel included.

"I don't know that there's anybody out there that doesn't need to get better," Sumlin said. "We'll see where he is."

Personnel notes:
• Senior defensive tackle Kirby Ennis, who was arrested in February on a gun charge, will not participate in spring football. Sumlin said that's partly because of an injury he is recovering from (Ennis had knee surgery after Texas A&M's win over Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl) and partly because of his suspension as a result of the arrest.

"He has some things he has to do internally to get back to the status he was in before," Sumlin said.

Ennis played all 13 games last year and started 11 at defensive tackle for the Aggies.

• The following players will miss some or all of spring football with injuries: linebacker Justin Bass (knee), linebacker Steven Jenkins (torn labrum), defensive end Julien Obioha (undisclosed), defensive tackle Ivan Robinson (torn Achilles' tendon) and running back Trey Williams (sports hernia)

Sam Khan | email

Texas A&M/SEC reporter

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