The nation has been abuzz with talk about Johnny Manziel disrespecting his head coach. Kevin Sumlin denied all that on Tuesday.
The perceived slight came late in the game, when Manziel received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sumlin was seen on video as saying something to Manziel as the quarterback kept walking.
"When he came off the field, I made two statements to him, neither one of which should he have responded to," Sumlin said. "They weren't questions. They were direct statements that I can't repeat right now. And so, what's amazing to me is the perception that he ignored me. The worst thing that could've happened was for him to reply based on what I told him."
What did happen was that Manziel was benched for the remainder of Saturday's 52-31 win over Rice. His play was unquestionably strong with three touchdown passes in less than one half of action. However, his on-field behavior, whether it be that 15-yard penalty or his other barbs with Rice defenders, captured the headlines.
"What you don't want to do is kill that emotion and that passion because I think it's what separates Johnny from a lot of different players," Sumlin said. "But what we can do is sit down and say, 'Hey listen, that same emotion and that same passion can be used positively and here's how you've got to do that."
With Manziel's Saturday behavior grabbing the nation's attention, he has yet to be made available to the media by school officials even though the investigation into whether or not he accepted money for autographs is complete.
"It's not just my decision what goes on with that," Sumlin said. "We feel like right now is not the time. Will there be a time coming up? Sure, there will be. I think if you look back at the events of Saturday, the volatile situation in which that game ended, I don't think that's a time for he or Deshazor (Everett) or anybody.
"I don't think right now, that him coming out right here and saying a few words is going to change some people's opinions about who he is."