Notebook: Tebow reaches out to Manziel


Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel moves to the next interview room Wednesday at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 6:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 6:11 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — If you think Johnny Manziel could use some advice from another Heisman Trophy winner about the way to conduct himself off the field, it could happen soon.

Manziel said Wednesday he received a call from former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow recently, but it went to voicemail.

“I haven't talked to him personally,” Manziel said. “He said he was just checking in. I really would like to get a chance to. He's a guy I really look up to. He's an SEC legend. I can only hope to do the kinds of things he did at Florida.”




UK a football school?

In the difficult challenge of trying to establish a successful football program at a basketball school, new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said he's getting an assist from the hoops coach, John Calipari.

“It's been great so far,” Stoops said. “Coach Calipari, he could not be any better. I really appreciate everything Coach Cal does for us.

“He takes time. We bring recruits in. He visits with them. He's really embracing myself and the staff. I love it. He's so charismatic. He's been so successful. I love spending time with Coach Cal.”

Stoops said Wildcat fans will embrace UK football just as passionately as they do the basketball program if the 'Cats start winning games.

“There's such great support for Kentucky basketball because of what they've done. They deserve it,” Stoops said. “They've had an awful lot of success through a lot of years.

“That's what we're trying to get to. If we put a good product on the field, something the whole state's proud of, they'll show up in droves. In Kentucky, there's a rabid fan base. I'm quite sure if we do our part that there's going to be great support for football and basketball.”

Up-tempo Wildcats

Being a longtime defensive coach and coordinator, Stoops has a good understanding of how difficult it can be to defend a fastbreak, up-tempo offense.

That's why he hired Neal Brown to install that style of offense at Kentucky.

“I've had my problems with up-tempo offenses,” Stoops said. “We all have had our moments of failure against tempo offenses because it gets you in disarray.

“I've watched Neal's offenses at Texas Tech. I see the way they moved the ball against some quality teams. I hope we can have the same success. I think it gives us the best opportunity to win at Kentucky. I like the style of play. I like the roots of it, coming back to Kentucky, when Hal Mumme was there and had success with it.”

Tigers want to go fast, too

Under new coach Gus Malzahn, the Auburn Tigers also are going to a fastbreak offense.

“We completely believe in pace,” Malzahn said. “If we can execute our offense at a fast pace, it's a big advantage.”

The only problem now is finding out which quarterback will run the offense. Malzahn said four candidates will be vying for the starting role when camp opens in two weeks.

“We'll be doing things a little bit different in fall camp early, and hopefully one of those guys will emerge sooner rather than later,” he said.

Former UT coaches weighing in

New Tennessee coach Butch Jones said he's been seeking advice from former UT coaching legends Johnny Majors and Phil Fulmer.

“Coach Fulmer and Coach Majors have been a tremendous resource,” Jones said. “Coach (Doug) Dickey as well. We get back to a pride of who we are. They're Tennessee football. The more I can speak with them, the more they can come around, the better.

“We've developed great relationships with Coach Majors and Coach Fulmer, and they've been great. They've been a great resource for me.”

Muschamp on Hernandez

There has been limited University of Florida reaction to former player Aaron Hernandez facing a murder charge in Massachusetts. But Will Muschamp was willing to weigh in on it Tuesday.

“That's something bigger than a Florida problem. It's life,” Muschamp said. “It's a horrible situation.”

'Dogs off the radar

When Stoops was asked if any team in the Eastern Division stood out to him, he failed to mention the team that many are predicting to win the division — Georgia.

“In our side of the division, certainly you have to look at Florida and South Carolina. I expect them to be very good,” Stoops said. “Shoot, we're just worried about ourselves, to be honest with you.

“All the teams in this league are good. We all know that. Top to bottom, there's no break. It's hard for me, first-year guy in this league, to predict who the top guys are going to be.”

Rebels steal Mullen's momentum

A year ago, Dan Mullen and Mississippi State were the biggest things in the state of Mississippi as far as football is concerned. In one turnaround season at Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has changed the dynamic in that state.

Ole Miss is now the hot thing in Mississippi following the Rebels' rout of the Bulldogs in the Egg Bowl, followed by Freeze putting together one of the nation's best recruiting classes.

“It's certainly sparking the rivalry even more,” Mullen said. “I think it's going to make Thanksgiving night an even bigger game.

“(Ole Miss) is starting to create some stir. When you go around the state of Mississippi, it will make Thanksgiving night this fall a pretty important day throughout the whole state. It's going to draw a lot more attention to it nationally, how important and big that rivalry is in our state.”

Eight is not enough

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell said Mullen's success has changed expectations in Starkville, where winning has not been a tradition.

“Going 8-5, going to a bowl game isn't good enough anymore,” Russell said. “A few years ago, you win five games and that was a pretty good year. Now, we've changed everything, we continually get better.

“Our goal is to go 7-0 (like MSU started the season a year ago), to continue on the season undefeated and ultimately make it to the (SEC Championship Game). If you don't have those goals, you really shouldn't be playing football.”

Morrison could miss opener

Starting UF middle linebacker Antonio Morrison, who recently was given deferred prosecution on his charge of misdemeanor battery, is facing a possible suspension from the Aug. 31 opener by the school.

Muschamp said that decision has not been reached yet.

As part of his deferred prosecution agreement, Morrison must pay $100 in prosecution costs and either pay an additional $150 or perform 12 hours of community service. He must also complete a UF drug and alcohol abuse course, attend an anger management course and participate in two eight-hour ride-alongs with the University of Florida Police Department.

If Morrison meets those conditions within six months, the battery charge will be dismissed.

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