Last week, Urban Meyer appeared before the media, said his team’s loss was “heartbreaking”, vowed “there are some good people in this locker room” who would stay together, then refused to. go home with them.
He apparently went out into town instead. Photos and videos surfaced (in 2021, who could have seen this coming?), Then Meyer had to apologize to his team. Equally demoralizing: He had to publicly admit that he had apologized to the team and apologized for being a distraction. What a show it was: Urban Meyer, a man who won everywhere and won’t stop to say hello to anyone running less than a 4.540, admitting he was a distraction for his 0-4 team. It looked like he had just washed a box of nails with wiper fluid.
Put aside, for a moment, whatever it seems to be doing in the photos and video. This is not the point. Meyer has four games and nine months in his tenure with the Jaguars, and while he has time to turn things around, it’s been a debacle so far – and it’s fair to wonder if Meyer really really has. wants to return it.
Meyer is 57 years old and has a history of health problems exacerbated by defeat. He’s never experienced anything like this. If you look at his time in Jacksonville on his own, and not through the lens of Meyer being a training legend who has to know what he’s up to, it was, objectively speaking, a mess.
He hired strength coach Chris Doyle, who was forced out of Iowa after being accused of making racist statements and intimidating players, defended him by saying “We made a mistake. great job checking that one out, âthen finally gave in and fired Doyle. Meyer hired a managing director, Trent Baalke, with a mixed record in San Francisco. (Baalke inherited an aspiring candidate from Scot McCloughan, improved it, then destroyed it.) Meyer’s two most prominent offensive coaching hires, Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer, feature prominently on the list of trainers that not all fans want.
Meyer gave Tim Tebow, now 34, a chance to compete for a spot on the roster in a position he had never played, for the simple reason that Urban Meyer loves Tim Tebow. He split the training camp reps between Lawrence and Gardner Minshew and acted like the competition was going on when no one, including Minshew, could believe it. Then, when Lawrence “won” the job, Meyer offered Minshew a conditional sixth-round pick.
Jacksonville was a disorganized mess in its first regular season game, losing 37-21 to a Texans team that hasn’t been competitive since. The Jags then lost their next three. They have some very winnable games for the rest of the course, but it’s also quite possible that they are the worst team in the league. Football exteriors gives them a 1 in 4 chance of ending up with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
It was the performance of a man who is far too sure what he is doing.
Meyer likes to say that his plans or his system are “foolproof” and that he has an incredible ability to make college players believe. It’s not college football anymore. It trains millionaires and aspiring millionaires. Hiring Doyle after last year’s social justice protests was a surprisingly bland decision, and for what? Meyer coaches one of the 32 NFL teams. Couldn’t he find a strength trainer with a better personal record?
You can tell the media and the rookies that Tebow is a transformational figure, and they could buy him. NFL players are wiser than that. They can tell when a coach is playing with the favorites. (That’s not a criticism of Tebow, who like most former players just wanted to keep playing.) NFL players also know when a quarterback competition is a sham. Jaguar owner Shahid Khan hired Meyer to change the culture of his franchise. What does it look like right now?
I thought Meyer would probably be successful in Jacksonville, both because he was so successful wherever he coached and because he did what he did when he went to Florida and the United States. Ohio State: He went where the talent was. Yes, the Jaguars’ roster was bare, but he inherited the sport’s most coveted asset: rookie contract franchise quarterback talent. Trevor Lawrence, it was thought, would give him a huge margin of error.
There were two reasons for concern. One was that Meyer has a long history of being too sure of his own righteousness. In Florida, he figured that anyone he recruited had to be a good citizen until there was overwhelming evidence to the contrary. At Ohio State, he figured he handled the charges against Zach Smith exactly the right way from start to finish until Smith had to leave and Meyer was suspended. A successful college coach can get away with this. A newbie NFL coach can’t.
The other cause for concern was Meyer’s health. How would a man who averaged less than two losses per college season handle a true losing season? Would he stick around for a long rebuild when he had never had to go through one before?
Going back to the broadcast booth would be easier. Taking the job at USC would be easier. Meyer surely took this job believing that he was exactly the right man for the job and that he would win as he always does. But if we’re talking about disturbing Meyer videos, let’s be honest: Every press conference he holds these days seems to produce a disturbing video. He looks exhausted, dejected, so different from one of the best coaches in the history of college football. Meyer coached in the NFL for four games. He has a long way to go. Or does he do it?
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