Former Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer made headlines on Wednesday when he called former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel an “arrogant little (expletive).”
Manziel is a polarizing figure, so Switzer wasn’t the first to voice an opinion about Manziel and on Thursday, Switzer was on another radio program. This time, the 76-year-old Switzer was asked if he was a coach in the NFL right now if he would draft Manziel. In his long-winded answer, he made a puzzling remark about how he would never recruit a white quarterback.
“First of all, I would have a long talk with Johnny before I draft him. I haven’t had that opportunity. I’ve said some negative things about him but at the same time I’ve said some great, positive things about him. I love his ability,” Switzer said on WNSR in Nashville.
“I’ve always said I’d never recruit a white quarterback. The only way I’d ever recruit a white quarterback to play for me is if his mom and daddy would both have to be black, and that’s the only way I would do it. My quarterback is a quarterback-fullback offense – how the wishbone was. I’d have to have a Jamelle Holieway, J.C. Watts and Thomas Lott (former Oklahoma quarterbacks who are all black). Those guys are gonna be my quarterbacks – great runners, great ball carriers and be able to pass. Those guys could throw and run.”
It was clearly an off-hand remark by Switzer that didn’t seem to have any ill-intent behind it, but it can be construed in different ways. The stereotype of the black quarterback when Switzer coached was ordinarily a run-first player, while white quarterbacks stayed in the pocket. To effectively operate Switzer’s style of offense, mobility was crucial, as his team’s ran the ball far more frequently than they threw the ball.
In his two years as A&M’s starter, Manziel proved he is an excellent runner and thrower, which throws a wrench into the black vs. white quarterback stereotypes. On top of that, there have been a number of black quarterbacks who have proved to be tremendous pocket passers.
When Switzer finally answered the question, he said that his interview with Manziel would, more or less, make or break whether he would feel comfortable with Manziel leading his football team.
“I would go to Johnny and I would spend time with him and I’d find out and base my decision on what he has to say in my interview and my gut feeling about him then,” Switzer said.
“I’ve had a lot of renegades. Every football team does. That doesn’t mean he ain’t gonna be a good player and he ain’t gonna help you win some championships. He’s playing too important of a position on your team not to have a relationship – a head coach and a quarterback -- and be on the same page and him do what you ask him to do.”
The entire interview is below, so we’ll let you hear the comments from Switzer yourself. (The question about Manziel begins around the 17:00 mark.)
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