It is the responsibility of a head college football coach to support his players in the good times and especially in the bad. In that regard, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin should be a lock for every award coaches can be given in his support of quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Through the ridiculous ups and downs of Manziel's short career, Sumlin has remained a champion for his young player every step of the way.
But at what point is Manziel abusing Sumlin's support? At what point do Manziel's antics become too much?
Or do we as college football fans need to take the microscope off of "Johnny Football" already and just let Johnny be Johnny?
The answer: a little of both.
Manziel has made his share of ill-advised decisions—a downfall he can surely improve.
But at the same time, the college football media and fans don't need to chew up and spit out every move he makes like we have ever since the conception of "Johnny Football."
The Manziel saga started last June with an early-morning fight in College Station and an infamous shirtless mug shot. At the time, Manziel hadn't become Johnny Football yet—he was still viewed as just a name in the battle to win the Aggies starting quarterback position.
And as Matt Hinton of CBSSports.com wrote at the time, whatever shot he had of winning the job, probably went out the window with that arrest. From the outside, it looked like Manziel would disappear and Jamiell Showers would take over Sumlin's offense at A&M.
Inside the program, it looked that way as well. As reported by Kate Hairopoulos of the The Dallas Morning News, Manziel was initially suspended for the entire 2012 season and seriously considered transferring out of College Station.
However, Manziel appealed the suspension and meanwhile shaped up and worked his tail off to make his way back into Sumlin's good graces.
Sumlin, still entering just his first season at A&M, took notice. To help out his young QB, he wrote a letter supporting Manziel in the appeal process, as reported by Anthony Slater of NewsOK.com. When speaking with Slater, Sumlin broke down how Manziel worked his way back into good standing within the program after his arrest:
A lot has been said about discipline, but he went through all that, which is a little bit more than people think. That's not a public deal, it's just what I ask him to do. He did all those things and his parents were involved in all of that. So for him to go through that, then go through camp and those types of things and earn the job, that's what's brought him to where he is now.
After winning his appeal, Manziel also won the starting job. After that, he led A&M to a remarkable season, broke SEC records, won the Heisman Trophy and became "Johnny Football."
What ensued was an offseason in the spotlight in which every move Manziel made ended up splattered all over the internet.
TMZ published photos of Manziel partying with a firecracker in his mouth and a bottle of Dom Perignon in his hand after the Cotton Bowl. He also posted a picture on his Instagram account of himself with a stack of cash at a casino in Oklahoma (Via YahooSports.com).
As Sumlin told Slater, Manziel made his share of "mistakes" this offseason:
You know, he's a young guy. And because of that, he is who he is and he's made some mistakes. Everybody knows that.
At the same time, Manziel was also spending time working with QB guru George Whitfield. That work included being battered by ocean waves in California while in his drop-back stance (Via YahooSports.com).
Unfortunately for Manziel, his hard work didn't go viral like his leisure time did. However, at the same time, Tajh Boyd of Clemson, Braxton Miller of Ohio State, Bryce Petty of Baylor and many others worked with Whitfield without making the news.
After all the hoopla of the winter and spring, Manziel returned to A&M and joined back up with his teammates to prepare for the 2013 campaign—a transition Sumlin thought would be very beneficial:
But right now, I think for him to be back, we have summer school going, we have fall camp coming up. Him being back with his teammates, that's a good deal, good for him.
However, it was once he made it back to College Station that his offseason hit rock bottom. In mid-June, Manziel tweeted that he can't wait to leave College Station, "whenever that may be" (Via The Dallas Morning News).
Those words from Sumlin about Manziel's return to A&M actually came after his controversial tweet. Through everything, even his latest mistakes, Sumlin has been there in support of Manziel.
Now, it's time for Johnny Football to show some love back to Sumlin. With the season approaching, Manziel needs to dial it back and stay out of the news.
Johnny can still be Johnny, but some consideration for the ol' ball coach and the Aggie program that has supported him would be nice too.
Manziel hasn't done anything terrible in the grand scheme of things, so while he makes his transition to take some pressure off of his coach and focus forward on football, we could all help the kid out.
It's also time for us to take our magnifying glass off of Manziel—at least for Kevin Sumlin's sake.
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