Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Before Joe Burrow was a Heisman favorite leading LSU to national championship contention, he was a struggling youngster unable to get on the field for Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
Meyer, a noted offensive guru, was harsh on his young protege. He hurled out insults as Burrow struggled to find his groove, including telling him he threw “like a girl.”
“Yeah, coach Meyer when he gets a new quarterback there as a freshman, he kind of pokes and prods them to see what they can take and then if they can go out and execute while he’s back there yelling at them so he kind of mimics environments you’re going to see on the road so he wants to see if their quarterbacks can handle it so he would be back there yelling at me saying, ‘You’re a D-II quarterback, you can’t throw’ and just see if you can handle it as a quarterback,” Burrow told reporters.
Of course, it appears Meyer’s insults had some positive effect. Brody Miller of The Athletic previously reported on Meyer’s insults, noting they motivated Burrow to find noted quarterback guru Tom House, who helped the signal-caller improve his arm strength.
“It completely changed the way I threw the ball,” Burrow said.
Blatant sexism aside, these motivational tactics are not exactly revolutionary. Football coaches tend to tread closer to insulting their players than coddling them, hoping to bring out the best from their players in a brutal sport.
While Meyer never got to see the fruits of his labor with Burrow, things are certainly paying off now. He’s thrown for 1,520 yards and 17 touchdowns against two interceptions while emerging on the shortlist of players who could hoist the Heisman at the end of the season.