Vanderbilt expects the unexpected from Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel

Vanderbilt will become the ninth different Southeastern Conference team to face Johnny Manziel when the Commodores play at Texas A&M on Saturday (11:20 a.m., SEC Network).

There was some doubt about whether a shoulder injury sustained last Saturday against Auburn might cause last season’s Heisman Trophy winner to miss this weekend’s game, but CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that Manziel is “fine to play.”

By now, the Commodores, like everyone else, have seen plenty of Manziel. He has played 12 SEC games and has faced four conference opponents twice.

That doesn’t mean they know what to expect. It’s likely no one does.
“Most of his yardage … is backyard football,” Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. “It’s not the zone read. It’s not the power read. It’s drop back, look here, look here, run around in a circle, look, jab step and take off. He’s a playmaker. He creates plays.”

Manziel leads the SEC in total offense at 396.4 yards per game. In addition to his 2,289 passing yards, also first in the SEC, he is the Aggies’ leading rusher with 486 yards.

SEC LEADERS
 PASSING AVG/GAME        Team Cl  G Att Cmp Int  Pct.  Yds TD Avg/G
 ------------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Johnny Manziel...... AM   SO  7 217 159   7  73.3 2289 18 327.0
 2. Aaron Murray........ UG   SR  7 224 139   6  62.1 1938 17 276.9
 3. Zach Mettenberger... LS   SR  8 207 135   5  65.2 2164 16 270.5
 4. James Franklin...... MO   SR  6 195 132   3  67.7 1577 14 262.8
 5. Bo Wallace.......... UM   JR  7 241 150   3  62.2 1790  9 255.7
 6. A Carta-Samuels..... VU   SR  7 197 129   7  65.5 1672 10 238.9

 TOTAL OFFENSE           Team Cl  G Rush Pass Plays Total Yds/G
 --------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Johnny Manziel...... AM   SO  7  486 2289   302  2775 396.4
 2. James Franklin...... MO   SR  6  290 1577   260  1867 311.2
 3. Aaron Murray........ UG   SR  7   88 1938   256  2026 289.4
 4. Bo Wallace.......... UM   JR  7  162 1790   322  1952 278.9
 5. Zach Mettenberger... LS   SR  8  -77 2164   229  2087 260.9
 6. Nick Marshall....... AU   JR  6  388 1138   218  1526 254.3
 7. A Carta-Samuels..... VU   SR  7   98 1672   254  1770 252.9

The Commodores have struggled to stop dual-threat quarterbacks for much of the last season and a half. Most recently, Missouri’s James Franklin had 341 yards of total offense (278 passing, 63 rushing) and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace had 331 (283 passing, 48 rushing). In both cases that was more than their season average.

That’s not to say Manziel will be the latest to exploit any flaw in their scheme or play calling. For the most part, it does not matter what people have tried to do against him.

“I see a lot of people trying to spy him and do some things like that,” Franklin said. “It is really, really good schemes in the passing game, really, really good schemes in running game and then where he hurts you is the plays that really aren’t designed and drawn up in a playbook. It’s him just creating plays.”