Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Manti Te'o loses Heisman, gains "motivation"

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About a half hour after Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was named the winner of the 78th Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o no longer looked like the man at the end of a week of unceasing travel, photo ops and media obligations.

He sounded happy. Relieved. And not just a little fired up.

"I just felt that burn," he said when asked what it felt like to hear someone else's name called. "I can't really describe it. I just felt that burn -- hey, gotta get better."

Te'o called it "motivation." Motivation for the 30 days that lay ahead, as top-ranked Notre Dame prepares to face No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 7 in the BCS national championship game. That's something on which Te'o can finally focus, when he lands in South Bend early Monday morning after taking the red-eye home from southern California, where he attended the Lott IMPACT award ceremony -- the last of eight trophies for which he was a finalist.

"It's motivation," Te'o said. "I always wanted to be the best. I just use that as motivation to be the best I can be. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do. I'm just excited to get back and get things cracking. ... Go back home, see all my brothers, get back into the groove of things. Get the pads back on, smack around some guys, study a lot of film. That's what I love about all this time, I have weeks and weeks to study film. Usually, I'll have about three days to study film, but now I've got three weeks to study film."

Some of Te'o's teammates -- including nose guard Louis Nix III, whom Te'o told a national TV audience would get his Heisman vote if he had one, and DaVaris Daniels -- took to Twitter to express their displeasure with the results. It was motivation for them, too.

"That's family, man," Te'o said. "That's what families are all about. And that's what our team is all about. ... They all just blew up my phone just now."

Te'o took some solace in the fact that he earned more points -- 1,706, including 321 first-place votes -- than any strictly defensive player ever had. And while Irish coach Brian Kelly had said that if Te'o didn't win the Heisman, it should just be recalibrated as an offensive award, Te'o disagreed that a defensive player can never win the award, pointing to the sheer volume of votes for him. And he laughingly apologized to the masses back home in Hawaii, who gathered for a huge watch party.

But more than anything, Te'o was eager -- excited and invigorated, even -- to get off the awards circuit, and get back to the grind.

"I did the best I could do, and I'm happy with that," Te'o said. "I wish I could have came first, obviously, but it gives me motivation and gives me fire to come back and get better. Obviously, what I did wasn't good enough. And I felt I could do better, and that's exactly what's going to happen." 

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Te'o is bum who didn't deserve to be a finalist. The hype machine which is Notre Dame will be dismantled by Alabama.

You all didn't get your way in something. Lets say it's not fair and complain about it some more...

Manti, great season this year you inspired all the kids of Hawaii and taught them that just because your a kid from the islands doesnt mean you cant go far in football. You showed the world the heart and spirit of the people from Hawaii and everyone back home is proud of your humility and hard work, I thank you for making a huge opening for defensive players in the game and showing how defensive players are just as good as an offensive player. You showed your true character to the world and showed the boy your parents raised. Mahalo

I too have lost all respect for this award. Big Disappointment! They really need to change the way they vote because it is ridiculous. But hey it is what it is. Manti Teo deserved it. Oh well, time to move forward and win the most IMPORTANT award that really matters the BCS CHAMPIONSHIP. Which Johnny is not playing in.

Any CFB fan should have known how this was going to play out. Heisman voters had no choice but to buck tradition and give the trophy to either a.) a freshman or b.) a defensive player. I'm a Domer. Have been since I could walk and talk. I wanted Manti to win this thing, but knew deep down he would not. Statistically, he had a good season. Not stellar, but very good. And unfortunately, when you aren't scoring TDs and avoiding tacklers, the drones who cast votes for this thing cannot guage what you bring to the table. And now, get ready to unleash Hawaiin Terror on the Crimson Tide. GO IRISH!!!

Te'o didnt 'lose' the heisman.. He just didn't win it.

I was more than a little disappointed that just simply because Manti Te'o was a defensive lineman, they would give the trophy to a freshman that had been red-shirted, didn't do very well in his last games he played, and had been arrested for drunk and disorderly, and giving false I.D. to the police. Manti stood for everything the Heisman trophy mission statement said it was about. I hardly believe anyone who has been watching the news and paying attention to him, could deny that he was by far the most skillful and worthy contender. The next time a quarterback gets ready to throw a pass, he should look at the offensive and defensive lines that make it possible to do his job. Yes, good quarterbacks are worth their weight in gold, but they wouldn't be able to play the game they do without the rest of the team doing it's job. Manti more than deserved that trophy and I just wonder how the Heisman committee can look at themselves in the mirror on Monday morning when everyone is going to weigh in on this issue? It was so obviously weighted towards the fact that manziel, a freshman was a quarterback.

What a joke of an award. When is the last time a true defensive player won the Heisman? Oh wait, never. Please rename this "award" "Offensive Player of the Year," because that's what it is. I have lost all respect for this award.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on December 8, 2012 9:17 PM.

Te'o on Heisman: "I didn't come here to get second." was the previous entry in this blog.

Brey: Big East upheaval could expedite ACC move is the next entry in this blog.

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