College Football Nation: Les Miles is scared and “Johnny Football” lawyers up

Jeff Hostetler FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

Three weeks until kickoff and the action is heating up. However, for some, specifically Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the only near-term action he will be seeing is in the court room. The NCAA has their hands full at this late hour thanks to the “Johnny Football” autographs mess. I think the NCAA needs to swallow their pride and start over before the athletes win all their lawsuits and destroy the association. A war of words is heating up between TCU head football coach Gary Patterson and Les Miles of LSU, and just ahead of their season opener set for August 31.

Patterson has every right to say what he said, the SEC should just change their name from SEC to WAAC – Win At All Cost. Come on opening weekend, distract us from all this noise. Alas, we must wait three more weeks.  Until then, let’s go further into these stories along with other news and opinion from around the college football nation:

1. Let’s talk a little more about what Gary Patterson of TCU said about Les Miles reinstating his running back Jeremy Hill and how he went about it. It is an honor and a privilege to play college football, especially on scholarship. Patterson knows that and wants his players to be more than just athletes. He wants them to mature and become good citizens since the NFL is most likely not an option for a majority of his players. Les Miles, on the other hand, does not care about his players’ futures, just the present. Miles knows it’s his job to win games and seemingly does not care how he gets the “W.” Unfortunately more than one SEC coach is like this. So many times coaches such as Will Muschamp, Urban Meyer and Mark Richt have handed down “gentle” punishments for violations of team rules.  Just enough penalty to satiate school oversite, then have those players back for the big games. Good for Patterson in calling them out and sticking to his guns. More coaches need to do what is right, reminding players that they are role models in the spotlight and need to behave accordingly.

Coaches are under pressure to keep them all on the field.

Daniel Gray

Coaches are under pressure to keep them all on the field.

2. Johnny Manziel made a smart  move – he hired Cam Newton’s lawyer to represent him against allegations he was paid for signing autographs. Recently this attorney said it is a done deal and Manziel will still get to be Johnny Football for the home opener. How can you argue that? If he got Cam Newton off he’ll get Manziel off. It’s the SEC, they are already getting paid — or so it is said — what’s the big deal? The NCAA is a mess right now but – and you can quote me on this – if the NCAA does find fault and needs to suspend Manziel, they will do it after the Alabama game. Of course, the NCAA is all about doing the “right thing,” but making money is more important. Having Johnny Football on the field vs. Alabama will bring in a lot of it. It is in their best interest just to look the other way for the first month of the season.

3. Kickoff is almost here and the injuries are beginning to pile up. Depending on the player, these injuries can be insignificant or season changing. USC’s main wide receiver and Heisman hopeful Marqise Lee left practice this week with a shoulder injury. Coach Lane Kiffin needs him back, desperately, especially to help his new quarterback. Florida lost Jeff Driskel but soon had him back on the field following a minor groin injury. Then bad news broke again at Florida, this time without a happy ending, when Andre Debose went out with a major knee injury. It appears LSU might have lost guard Josh Williford for the season with another serious concussion. At this rate many teams with national championship aspirations will be missing key players when the season starts. I know you want practices to be intense like games but with the season less than a month away – take it down a notch, coach.

August 31 is so close you can almost light the grill.  Hopefully the police blotters and news feeds of bad deeds slow down so we can focus on upcoming games featuring our favorite players, not just those that avoided the dragnet. C’mon players, focus on Week 1, you should have no time to get in trouble.

Now, if you’re feeling really bored waiting on the season, you can surf the internet and see if any other sites allow you to search college player jerseys by name. Add this recent revelation to the Miami case/Manziel autograph situation/EA Sports debacle and O’Bannon lawsuit – and maybe the NCAA should just call it a day and reform. I am sure we’ll have a lot of new NCAA news next week – just what the fans want, right?  Officiating crews are always mindful that the game is not about them – maybe the NCAA could follow their lead.

Now here are some college football highlights to enjoy until next week:


1. College football round table

2. College football mailbag

3. BYU has a change of heart

4. Miami is THE ROCK

5. Clowney okay with NCAA



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