Less than two hours after redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the sixth time, coach Urban Meyer said Barrett’s name is in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
Meyer spoke to the media during his weekly Monday luncheon and addressed Barrett, the Buckeyes’ 31-24 win against Minnesota last Saturday and an upcoming game against Indiana. He also took note of exactly what a potential return trip to the Big Ten Championship Game means for OSU.
- “He’s a Heisman candidate,” Meyer said of Barrett. The third-year OSU coach has had players in the Heisman conversation in the past, including one winner (Tim Tebow) while at Florida.
- He said the Wichita Falls, Texas, native is in the conversation, but could’ve played much better against Minnesota despite racking up 389 yards and four total touchdowns.
- Meyer said Barrett’s 86-yard touchdown was a called quarterback run, but many of his carries are scrambles.
- “If it’s not there, he puts his foot in the ground and gets six yards,” Meyer said of Barrett’s scrambling ability.
- He said the Rider High School product does a good job of getting to the ground and avoiding big hits.
- Meyer said senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett, redshirt-senior offensive lineman Darryl Baldwin, Barrett and sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott graded out as champions against the Golden Gophers.
- He said Vannett has “earned some more playing time.”
- He said senior wide receiver Evan Spencer was the offensive player of the game for OSU.
- Meyer said junior linebacker Joshua Perry, senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett, redshirt-freshman cornerback Eli Apple and senior cornerback Doran Grant graded as champions on defense.
- He said he’ll nominate Grant for All-Big Ten consideration.
- Two sophomores — safety Vonn Bell and defensive lineman Joey Bosa — were OSU’s defensive players of the game, Meyer said.
- He added that Heuerman was the special teams player of the week.
- Meyer said it’s “great to come back home” after a two-game road trip. He added that the Buckeyes should have redshirt-sophomore running back Bri’onte Dunn back for Indiana.
- He said OSU hasn’t lost confidence in redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall despite a pair of fumbles last week.
- Meyer said he’s “having a lot of fun coaching this team.”
- When asked about a potential future restructuring of the College Football Playoff format, Meyer said: “We play Indiana, man, I’m not sure.”
- On Indiana junior running back Tevin Coleman, Meyer said: “I see his stats are ridiculous.” Coleman had 307 rushing yards in a loss to Rutgers last weekend.
- He added that Coleman is “the threat, the No. 1 threat on their team.”
- “I can’t imagine a team works harder on tackling than we do,” Meyer said about his defense in practice.
- He said junior defensive lineman Tommy Schutt is close to earning more playing time “but he’s got to play better.”
- “I want a real aggressive team that’s not afraid of making mistakes, and I think we have that,” Meyer said of the Buckeyes. OSU had three turnovers against Minnesota.
- Meyer said Apple has come a long way since he arrived in Columbus. “He was not what we wanted when we signed him,” he said.
- Meyer said the Buckeyes’ goal hasn’t changed: “We wake up everyday to compete for championships in November.”
- He added that the team as a whole has come a long way since August. “We are lights out a better football team than we were at the beginning of the year,” he said.
- Meyer said he doesn’t know enough to call the Buckeyes a top-four team, but said he knows they are one win away from locking up a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.
- He said crediting the weather for mistakes against Minnesota is a “dog ate my homework excuse.”
- Meyer said earning a trip back to the Big Ten title game is “everything” for the Buckeyes.
OSU is scheduled to take on the Hoosiers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.