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Friday May 29th, 2015 2:16AM

Access Sports Weekly: Taking offense at SEC offense; Manziel under the microscope

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
You think running marathons is tough on the feet? Mere child's play compared to the new sport that I recently re-discovered: Disney walking.

All you need to compete is a young child, a stroller and enough money to get you to and into any Walt Disney theme park around the globe. What you need for success is far more demanding, however, including nerves of steel -- the ability to handle any situation that emotions of Disney engenders in your child (you know: wild abandon and excitement followed by the inevitable crash and burn of whining and tiredness), and, of course good walking shoes.

You know you've won when you return home in one piece and still sane. I'm kidding, of course (maybe), but after a few days at the, "happiest place on earth," I am in need of another vacation. Unfortunately, the sports world rests for no man, and this week is certainly no different.

With that in mind I've come across five more pieces of media from the world wide web that captured my attention and are worth a look...


1. To speed or not to speed?

That's the question several Southeastern Conference football coaches are starting to ask. A number of offenses within the league want to go the way of the Oregon-style spread, leaving breathless defenses in their no-huddle wake -- Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss and Auburn's Gus Malzahn, for example, would love to run non-stop attacks, keeping defenses from subbing and catching any breath.

But don't expect defense-oriented coaches like Nick Saban and Will Muschamp to take these trends in stride. And new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has also come out in favor, quite vocally, of finding a way to force offenses to allow defenses to substitute -- something that, ironically, the Ole Ball Coach himself would also like.

Is there a controversy and possible power struggle brewing here?

To read more in depth about the issue, check out Joel A. Erickson's article on AL.com.


2. Poor Johnny Manziel

It's rough being an icon and focus of a media over-hype campaign. It can't be easy tossing out first pitches, going to casinos and attending NBA Finals series. Can it?

Just ask Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Texas A&M standout is learning just what it is like to be a public figure -- at a very young age. There have been several barbs tossed the signal caller's way of late, a lot of what some might term "haters," commenting on his lifestyle.

I might have some sympathy for Johnny "football/Heisman/poor Twitter choice," if he had not brought so much of the ire on himself.

Sporting News columnist Matt Hayes puts things into perspective perfectly in his latest offering here.


3. Tragedy or a strange sort of triumph?

When Richard Swanson set out to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, no one really knew why, short of Swanson himself. Yes, he was promoting a charity, but that developed only after he had made the decision to make the arduous trek on foot.

The divorced father's trip ended in premature tragedy when he was hit and killed by a pick-up truck in Oregon.

It is a story that has few answers but plenty of questions and plenty of human interest.

Writing for Grantland.com Robert Andrew Powell captures the story beautifully, and shows that the tragedy may have actually been a sort of triumph.


4. Of what is a slump made?

It's a question that Braves second baseman Dan Uggla has faced over the past couple of seasons, but as good as Uggla is/was, he was never on the level of a Josh Hamilton, who, just a short while ago, was one of the great success stories in Major League Baseball history.

An incredible athlete that had overcome the clutches of addiction, Hamilton was named American League MVP with the Texas Rangers in 2010 and seemed to be on his way to super stardom. He then left the Rangers to sign a blockbuster contract with the Los Angeles Angels -- and his offensive numbers have not been the same since. Despite showing some signs of slumping in his last season with the Rangers, he has fallen off the proverbial cliff so far this campaign.

In his latest article, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown takes a look at what is going on with the former MVP.


5. Skill or luck, or both?

Enough of the heavy stuff, here's some light-hearted visual stimulation for you, and it comes courtesy the Lithuanian Under-21 national soccer team.

The amount of skill required to pull off this backheel volley verges on the incredible -- although a fair bit of luck was also involved. Whatever the circumstances, it's still a bit special to watch...
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