Manziel to test Duke D
Posted December 31, 2013
Atlanta — Duke gets a big challenge in Atlanta at the end of the year as they face off against their second Heisman Trophy winner in as many weeks.
They took on this year's winner Jameis Winston in the ACC title game, and Tuesday, they face the electric Johnny Manziel.
It's hard to see a montage of the biggest plays in college football without including Manziel. He is widely known as the most exciting guy in the game. Just try defending him.
"I’ve been doing this a long time. I don't think I've ever seen anybody adlib on the field better,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. “The things that concern you are giving up explosive plays when you have a play defended."
Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is stressing one thing to his guys as they prepare: Don't watch the show. He simply wants his players to stick to their assignments and try to contain ‘Johnny Football.’
"Defending Johnny is completely different because these are not called runs,” Knowles said. “It's just him adlibbing and making plays. It becomes more of like basketball on the football field."
"Making sure our guys stay locked in in coverage. Don't watch the show,” Duke’s Kenny Anunike said of the team’s philosophy. “They keep the play alive and they can hurt you."
Manziel, who has battled with some of the best defenses in the country in the SEC, has a healthy respect for what Duke has been able to do this year, too.
"They have a lot of fire, they swarm to the ball and they play good as a unit,” the sophomore signal caller for the Aggies said. “You look at what they did at the beginning of the Florida State game, they really slowed that high-powered offense down. I think they play hard more than anything."
The game gets underway from the Georgia Dome at 8 p.m. and can be heard on 620 AM The Buzz.