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Oklahoma football: Johnny Manziel will be OU's greatest challenge from an individual this season

The Sooners have four more weeks to prepare for the Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M. The freshman has an electric skill set and versatility.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 9, 2012

“We're just working on us and tightening up the little things that have been a problem for us all year,” junior linebacker Tom Wort said before facing TCU. “The draw and the inside zone has not been good for us.”

Keeping Boykin from running wild was a nice start, but containing Manziel is an entirely different animal. He set the SEC's single-season record for total yards, rushing for 1,181 of them to go with his 19 rushing scores.

In his signature win of the season, Manziel made big plays with his arm and legs against Alabama's vaunted defense; he rushed for 92 yards and threw for 253 in A&M's 29-24 upset victory, which vaulted the freshman into serious Heisman contention.

Perhaps time will be Oklahoma's greatest ally in its Cotton Bowl preparations; Mike Stoops' defense struggled mightily through most of November, but did seem to improve against TCU.

With several weeks to strategize for Manziel and Texas A&M, a familiar opponent with a familiar head coach — former OU co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin — Stoops is certain to have his defense prepared as possible for the Cotton Bowl.

Oklahoma lost to the second- and third-place Heisman finalists; it remains to be seen if — in the next few weeks — the Sooners can prepare, improve and adjust enough to have a chance against Manziel.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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