Jimbo Fisher: Taxing month ahead for Oregon's Marcus Mariota

It's award season, so Oregon's Marcus Mariota faces a month of travel and distractions. And Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is more than happy to point that out.

FSU meets Oregon in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl, and it appears Fisher is trotting out a bit of gamesmanship as the teams prepare for the playoff semifinal.

Mariota is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman, which is handed out Saturday night in New York. Mariota obviously will be at the ceremony. But he also will be in Orlando on Wednesday and Thursday for events surrounding the College Football Awards Show, and he also is likely to make a few other trips during December.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston made the same kind of rounds last year, so Fisher has a sense about what lies ahead for Mariota.

"I think it definitely is (taxing) and I'm sure (Oregon will) have a great plan for that and what goes on, but I don't know if you can ever prepare for it," Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. "Because it's the time away and you feel so obligated because so many people are giving you so many great, outstanding awards."

Fisher is right, of course: Mariota is going to be pulled in numerous different directions during the next month. Mariota is used to the spotlight, but it's going to burn brighter than ever. At the same time, you can't help but think Fisher was just itching to bring up the issue. He has to be loving that an opponent -- and not his star quarterback -- is going through this. It's a distraction for his opponent's best player.

"You see the toll it takes on the kid," Fisher said. "Just the travel, from here to here to here. You're speaking and doing that and it's fun, but you've got (to) be respectful and you've got to spend your time and you can't slight anyone in any way, shape or form. And I think it can be a wearing procedure on guys and it's very tough.

"You've got to go through it to understand."

What Fisher left unsaid: Winston did just fine handling the pressure last year, guiding FSU to a win in the BCS National Championship Game. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich will be hoping Mariota can get through similarly unscathed.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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