A&M players stumping for Manziel repeat
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- While Johnny Manziel might be saying all the right things and not focusing on winning a second Heisman Trophy, his Texas A&M teammates have certainly played the part of yell leaders.
"You know how society is, they get bored with people," receiver Malcome Kennedy said. "You know, you win one and it's like: 'OK you don't want to be greedy.' But when it comes down to it, the numbers say it all. He knows it, we know it and people who watch sports know it."
Most polls, however, don't have him favored to join Archie Griffin as the second two-time Heisman winner.
"I wasn't even in it for a long time last year and didn't really get much into it last year," said Manziel, who as a redshirt sophomore is eligible for the NFL draft after this season. "Same way this year.
"I want nothing more than to win these next two games and to get into a good bowl game and go 10-2. I can't even put into words how bad I want that for seniors on this team and for this team in general."
He's put up eye-popping numbers similar to what he did a year ago, but he's become much more polished in the pocket. He's already thrown 31 touchdowns after finishing with 26 last year. His 3,313 yards passing are just 400 yards shy of what he finished with a year ago.
Manziel leads the nation in points responsible for (234), is second in total offense (392.4 yards a game) and third in yards passing and passing efficiency (186.9). In addition, his completion percentage has risen from 68 to 73 percent.
"He's going to take chances because he is a dynamic player and that's what dynamic players do," senior receiver Travis Labhart said. "And you can't fault him for those times when he takes chances (and makes mistakes).
"I look back to last year and we had a lot of senior leaders ... and we didn't really have to have Johnny step up and be a leader."He did, but this year he's a completely different leader. He's vocal, he challenges guys."
Manziel hasn't made any off-the-field headlines during the season after an offseason full of them. But he has been criticized for some of his behavior on the field this year, notably fake signing autographs to mock Rice defenders and rubbing his fingers together in some sort of money gesture after most scores.
His teammates say that his brash demeanor is one of the reasons they love playing with him.
"Just to see that fierce competition in his heart and to know that he's not being cocky, he's being confident and a lot of players can't do that," Kennedy said. "When you see your quarterback with so much radiance and confidence then it transfers to all the other players on the team."
"People who think we don't have a chance to do something that hasn't been done at this school in a long time really are crazy," he said. "Because we still have a chance to do almost everything that we wanted to do. We still have a chance to win out and go to a BCS bowl and still do some really special things here."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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