COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has coached enough Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks and QBs who have been in contention for that award that his endorsement of J.T. Barrett as a Heisman candidate on Monday probably carries some weight.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach some guys who have been in New York [at the Heisman Trophy ceremony] and he’s a Heisman candidate,” Meyer said about Barrett on Monday at his weekly press conference.
Since 2004, Meyer has had quarterbacks or a former quarterback finish in the top 10 in the Heisman voting seven times.
Florida’s Tim Tebow won it in 2007, was third in 2008 and fifth in 2009. Utah’s Alex Smith was fourth in 2004 and Braxton Miller was fifth in 2012 and ninth in 2013. Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman winner at Auburn, spent his first two seasons at Florida before transferring. And Meyer’s 2006 Florida team faced that year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, and Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game.
— Urban Meyer
Other than that, though, Meyer’s theme on Monday was that now is not the time to hand out awards or pats on the back or to look beyond Saturday’s game against Indiana.
No surprise there. The Hoosiers (3-7, 0-6 Big Ten) aren’t expected to be much of a threat to OSU (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten), which is a 33-point favorite.
With one more win, Ohio State will return to the Big Ten championship game for a second year in a row.
Meyer said OSU appears focused on this week’s game.
“I’m having a lot of fun coaching this team. Yesterday was a perfect example. They went out and worked their tails off. I hope it doesn’t change.
“Everything we did was to get another shot at the Big Ten championship. Everything. And that’s at the doorstep. I imagine that’s why they were pretty juiced up yesterday in practice,” he said.
Ohio State, No. 8 in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings, is expected to move up at least one spot this week.
Meyer did not want to declare OSU was one of the top four teams in the country right now. “I don’t want to because I don’t want to make ignorant comments. I just don’t know. I’d make the comment that we’re one win away from representing the East in the Big Ten championship game because I do know that,” he said.
What he did say was, “We are lights out a much better football team than we were at the beginning of the season.”
Meyer also said he believes the top teams in the Big Ten can be competitive at a national level.
“I’ve got to be smart how I say this. I think the Big Ten Conference, it’s no secret the difference between it and the other top conferences is not one through five. The top five teams in our conference can play anywhere,” he said.