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Oklahoma football: Sooners need to find their own Johnny Football

COMMENTARY — After the way Johnny Manziel ran away from Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners should be thankful that he's now the SEC's problem. The experience was also enough to make Stoops and Co. want a quarterback as much like Manziel as they can find.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 5, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas – Maybe the realization came when Johnny Manziel scrambled for a 24-yard gain on the Cotton Bowl's third play.

Maybe it came when Johnny Football tight-roped down the sideline for a 17-yard touchdown on the game's first possession.

Maybe it came when Johnny Heisman completed his first nine passes of the third quarter, igniting a second-half rout.

Whenever it came, rest assured the revelation landed on Bob Stoops. Thank God for conference realignment. Thank God that Texas A&M bolted for the Southeastern Conference and took its freshman wizard quarterback along.

Johnny Football ran away from the Sooner defenders all night long, but at least now he's in OU's rear-view mirror. He's the SEC's problem.

And what a problem he is. Manziel ran and passed the Aggies to a 41-13 rout of the Sooners on Friday night.

“It was like watching a guy play Madden NCAA,” said OU captain David King, one of the exasperated Sooner defenders who futilely chased Manziel all over JerryWorld.

Stoops trumped that example. Stoops said Manziel was as good a quarterback as the Sooners have faced. That's a club, remember, that includes the likes of Robert Griffin and Vince Young.

“Absolutely, because of not only throwing the football, what he does with his feet is just incredibly difficult to handle,” Stoops said. “Even when guys are in position, he is so quick and strong running, he's just hard to get to.”

A game like this will make Stoops even more resolute to go to a running quarterback himself. The Sooners in all likelihood are headed for the dual-threat QB system now that Landry Jones' august career has ended. Be it Trevor Knight or Blake Bell or whoever, expect OU to employ the quarterback run game in the future.

“We're not giving up anything in throwing ability,” said OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “But guys who have the ability to extend plays is something we're recruiting in quarterbacks.”

Of course, there aren't many, make that any, quarterbacks like Johnny Football. In the first half, he ran wild on the Sooners (113 yards on seven carries, most of them scrambles), who seemed content to cover tight and take their chances with Manziel's roadrunning.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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