Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Johnny Football continues the media tour.
Johnny Manziel joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss being able to talk to the media, what it was like going into the Alabama game, if anyone in his family calls him Johnny Football, the surprise of his fast success, why he didn't go to Oregon, losses to Florida and LSU, what he would do against Notre Dame and the quarterbacks he's comparable to.
We were worried. We didn't know if you were allowed to speak or not:
"It was kind of a grey area there with everybody not knowing if I could even speak English or whatever it was. I'm glad to finally be able to talk to you."
What was the feeling like going into the Alabama game?
"Going into it, I had a chance to watch the movie 300 on the way from the hotel to the stadium, and kind of put in my mind the idea of going up an immovable and incredibly talented, just a force of a team. And kind of being the underdog, as we were played out to be, watching that movie really helped me get my mind straight. And I sent out a tweet before the game that I kind of thought would be scrutinized if we won after. … You knew it was going to be a special day."
Does anybody in your family call you Johnny Football?
"Nobody in the family, it's all stuff that's played out by the media, by fans in Aggieland. It's something that I find extremely funny, when people come up to me and maybe my last name is hard to pronounce [or] they don't really know it. For them to just come up and say, ‘Johnny Football,' that's fine with me if that's what they want to call me, but to myself, to my family, it's Johnny Manziel."
How surprised are you with your success?
"Pretty surprised at the high magnitude that it's at this year. I had high expectations for myself and for this team going into this year, when I was named the starter. But 10 wins, a chance to go to the Home Depot Awards … and hopefully get a chance to go to New York, is beyond my wildest imagination."
You almost went to Oregon. Why didn't you?
"I took a trip and was fortunate enough to have the quarterbacks coach come out. … He took a look at me and said, ‘Hey, we want you to come out in the spring.' … We went up there and you hear all the hype about the jerseys and the facilities and it's true, it really is. The town, I loved it, and had a great time when I was there, and as soon as I got an offer, boom, without a doubt in my mind, that's where I wanted to go. … And then after Texas A&M kind of came in in my senior year and made me realize I had a sister that's still in high school, and I'm going to want to see her. I love my family, I love my sister and I love the people I have in my life, and I don't want to get too far away from that. It really pushed me to stay in Texas and come to Texas A&M, which has been one of the best decisions of my life."
When you look back on the Florida and LSU games, what went wrong there?
"Well you look at the Florida game, it was my first time to run out on Kyle Field, College Gameday's there, it's all you could really ask for. … Learning as you go, it was something you had to grasp extremely fast, and I feel like we didn't open up to our full potential. We didn't open up the playbook, didn't open up some of the calls enough, because of my maturity and how young I was in the process. Then you go to LSU, and the key story of that is turnovers. I think we had four or five turnovers. … We really shot ourselves in the foot there."
How would you do against Notre Dame's defense?
"It's kind of one of those what-if questions. I don't really see how it would play out. … They have a great defense, with the heart and soul of that defense being Manti. He's done everything that that team has asked him to do. … We'd really have to go in and do what we do, and play sound. The main thing to me is don't turn the ball over and you give yourself a chance in any game."
Who are you compared to?
"I think a lot of people throw Doug Flutie out there. It's something that I sit back and laugh at. … The way that he played the game, and you hear him talk, and he's just a great guy and a great person and a great football player. … If I had to throw a comparison out there, too, Brett Favre - what a guy he was and a true gunslinger. If I was throwing the ball in the backyard, with my Green Bay Packers' No. 4 jersey on, when I was a kid, that's who I was trying to be like."
More from Sports Radio Interviews
• Ed McCaffrey used to wear tissues in place of pads.
• Tyson Chandler is in awe of Rasheed Wallace.
• Russell Martin is going to be the veteran in Pittsburgh.