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Oklahoma football: OU's Tom Wort and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel have tangled before

Wort and Manziel faced each other during high school scrimmages. Manziel said Wort was “one of the fastest players I ever played against in high school.”
by Jason Kersey Published: January 2, 2013

Then came the philosophical changes under new coordinator Mike Stoops. Early in the season, Wort struggled to adapt in schemes that asked linebackers to funnel ball carriers — and as a result, tackles — to defensive backs.

Over the regular season's final stretch, with Oklahoma meeting pass-happy, spread offenses like those of Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, Mike Stoops experimented with one, and sometimes zero, linebackers, choosing instead to play six or seven defensive backs.

“We go in every week knowing that we want to stop the run, but you see these diverse pass offenses, these four-wides and five-wides,” said linebackers coach Tim Kish. “We tried to come up with some wrinkles this year. Again, it was what we thought was best at the time.

“We learned from it, and we've kind of come into a happy mix where we're at today. I think it will evolve a little more toward the linebackers this year.”

Manziel, on the other hand, burst onto college football's national stage with impressive performance after impressive performance throughout the Aggies' first Southeastern Conference season. Manziel's signature game, of course, came when Texas A&M stunned then-No. 1 and defending national champion Alabama in its home stadium.

“I don't know if he really remembers me, or knows who I was from high school, but I definitely remember him,” Manziel said.

Wort certainly knows all about Manziel now, after watching Texas A&M elevate itself to new heights on the arms and legs of the flashy freshman they call “Johnny Football.”

“I'm kind of tired of the talk, as I'm sure he is,” Wort said. “I'm almost kind of done talking about it. I just want to get down to work.”

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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