Nationals

Heisman winner Manziel glad to get back in huddle

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Heisman winner Manziel glad to get back in huddle

Johnny Manziel is ready to get back to being Johnny Football.

After not talking to the media all season until Nov. 26, two days after the regular season finale, the Texas A&M quarterback has been from Florida to New York to Hollywood. Along the way, he won the Heisman Trophy and a host of other major awards.

Manziel is back on the College Station campus after a ``Tonight Show'' appearance this week, when he presented actress Megan Fox with a No. 12 Texas A&M baby jersey for her newborn son. Manziel did a Top 10 list for David Letterman last week, along with plenty of other media appearances as the Heisman winner.

``He got back in here the other day, he just said, `Hey, coach, I'm ready to play some football.' He's through with all that,'' Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Wednesday.

``He can get back to just being with his teammates and practicing,'' the coach said during a conference call featuring the Cotton Bowl coaches. ``Just talking with him yesterday, he looks excited to just be off the circuit, be back in the huddle calling plays.''

No. 10 Texas A&M (10-2) plays 12th-ranked Oklahoma (10-2) at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 4. While Manziel will be the eighth Heisman winner to play in the Cotton Bowl, he is the first since Texas running back Ricky Williams 14 years ago.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said preparing to face Manziel presents unique challenges.

``Unique in that he's the leading rusher. It makes it really difficult. He throws the ball so well, throws it so well on the run,'' Stoops said. ``But he's one of those guys, maybe sometimes the worst thing you can do is cover everybody because there he goes. He just has a great knack, an instinct for avoiding pressure and creating plays.''

Manziel had 4,600 yards of total offense in 12 games to break the SEC record set two years earlier by Heisman winner Cam Newton, who needed 14 games to gain 4,327 yards. Manziel became the first freshman, first player in the SEC and the fifth player overall with 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.

Along with the Heisman Trophy, Manziel was named The Associated Press Player of the Year, the SEC's top player and the winner of the Davey O'Brien Award that goes to the nation's top quarterback.

All of this for a kid who just turned 20 years old two weeks ago.

Sumlin said he has had a conversation with his young quarterback about handling things moving forward, and the fact that he's just getting started.

``People are asking, What are you going to do now? With success, there comes other things,'' Sumlin said. ``I think we've got a lot of the things in place here to help him, which really helped him through the process originally, and we've got a lot of things in place that are going to continue to help him handle a lot of these things. ... I think you can see he's pretty mature for a 20 year old.''

Without being specific, Sumlin said the Aggies would help Manziel through that process.

``But, like I said, shoot, he's happy to be back here in the building,'' Sumlin said. ``Sitting in meetings, watching video.''

Notes: With Aggies offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury gone to become Texas Tech's head coach, Sumlin said running backs coach Clarence McKinney will call plays in the Cotton Bowl. ... Before becoming Houston's head coach in 2008, and going to A&M after last season, Sumlin was an Oklahoma assistant for Stoops from 2003-07. Before that he was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M for a win over Oklahoma. ``I had great respect for Kevin before he was the O-coordinator there when they beat us,'' Stoops said. ``Heck, Kevin and I used to run around South Florida together recruiting when he was at Purdue, I was at K-State. We were chasing the same kids all the time.''

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National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

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USA Today Sports

National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

In less than a month, the 2018 MLB All-Star game will take place at Nationals Park.

There are plenty of details that still need ironing out, but none are more important than the 64 players that will be taking the field at the Midsummer Classic.

Surely the Washington Nationals are hoping that many of their hometown stars will make the cut.

So, lets clear the air. How are the MLB All-Star rosters created? Well it is a combination of the fan vote, the player ballots, and the MLB Commissioners Office. No, it is not a 33-33-33 split, but rather a political (yet fair) process. Here is how it shakes out for there to be 32 players on each team:

  • Fan vote: eight position players in NL/ nine in AL (DH); plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 16 players in NL; 17 players in AL (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players) and five AL players (four pitchers, one position player)

Keep in mind, the MLB Commissioner’s Office merely is just there to ensure that there is one representative from all 30 MLB teams. Additionally, the player’s ballots are generally in-line with statistics and name recognition.

So let’s see how this shakes out for the National League All-Star Game roster. This factors in the latest fan vote returns:

National League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Buster Posey, Giants (Fan Vote), Wilson Contreras, Cubs (Player Ballot)
1B – Freddie Freeman, Braves (Fan Vote), Jose Martinez, Cardinals (Player Ballot), Justin Bour, Marlins (Commissioner’s Office)
2B – Ozzie Albies, Braves (Fan Vote), Scooter Gennett, Reds (Player Ballot)
3B – Nolan Arenado, Rockies (Fan Vote), Kris Bryant, Cubs (Player Ballot)
SS – Brandon Crawford, Giants (Fan Vote), Chris Taylor, Dodgers (Player Ballot)
OF – Nick Markakis, Braves (Fan Vote), Bryce Harper, Nationals (Fan Vote), Matt Kemp (Fan Vote), Albert Almora Jr., Cubs (Player Ballot), Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (Player Ballot), Corey Dickerson, Pirates (Player Ballot), David Peralta, Diamondbacks (Commissioner’s Office), Christian Yelich (Commissioner’s Office)

SP – Max Scherzer, Nationals (Player Ballot), Sean Newcomb, Braves (Player Ballot), Jon Lester, Cubs (Player Ballot), Aaron Nola, Phillies (Player Ballot), Jacob deGrom, Mets (Player Ballot), Mike Foltynewicz, Braves (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Brad Hand, Padres (Player Ballot), Sean Doolittle, Nationals (Player Ballot), Josh Hader Brewers (Player Ballot), Wade Davis, Rockies (Commissioner’s Office), Kenley Jansen (Commissioner’s Office), Jeremy Jeffress (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Dave Roberts, Dodgers

After this, there will be one more player chosen by another fan vote. The MLB Commissioner’s Office, along with the manager, choses five players to be selected in the penultimate vote. 

This puts three Nationals on the All-Star team with the Braves leading the charge with five selections.

Now of course nothing ever goes to plan, but heck its baseball, not everyone will be happy.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

Less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup, the Caps are in need of a new head coach.

Barry Trotz resigned as the Caps coach on Monday after he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. How did we get here and where do both parties go from here? JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break it all down.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.