Urban Meyer and Joe Burrow have spent plenty of time together, it just wasn’t time that football fans got to see.
Burrow barely played in the three years he spent at Ohio State while Meyer was the Buckeyes’ head coach. Burrow eventually transferred to LSU, won the Heisman Trophy, and was the first overall pick of the Bengals. He’ll face Meyer’s Jaguars on Thursday night.
Meyer says he thinks so highly of Burrow that when he was preparing to draft Trevor Lawrence first overall in this year’s draft, he contacted Burrow to get tips about how to help a first overall pick adjust to the NFL.
“I just wanted to talk to a guy who was in that position in recent history,” Meyer said, via the Associated Press. “We talked several times throughout the spring, just about what I could do — what we could do — to help our rookie quarterback.”
Burrow says Meyer was a demanding coach during Burrow’s time as a backup. Burrow ultimately left Ohio State because he worried he’d never earn any playing time with Dwayne Haskins ahead of him on the depth chart.
“He was really hard on me, and it made me a better player and better person,” Burrow said. “What he does is, when he gets a new player, he tries to put them in a very intense situation to see how they respond, to see if he can trust that player. He really did that to me early in my career. I really wasn’t sure why it was happening. But then as I got older and more mature, I really understood why he was doing it, and it did make me better.”
So far, Lawrence is struggling with the demands of the NFL. But Burrow struggled as a rookie too, and is making strides in his second season. As Meyer will see on Thursday night.