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Urban Meyer - Jaguars

A Galaxy of Difference

About every third time Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer meets with the media, he references how he’s learning the pro game. He admits he is surprised by some things and has hired a staff full of coaches with NFL experience to shepherd him through the process.

While I admire the transparency, never Meyer’s strong suit, just how many things are different between the NFL and the college game? And at what point can it make a difference between wins and losses?

In the first ever Jaguars game at home in 1995 against the Houston Oilers, some of the nuanced differences between the two games were on full display.

“Will the chain gang please report to the field,” the PA announcer said as the teams lined up for the second half kickoff. The guys holding “the sticks” had done so many college games at our stadium it caught them off guard how quickly the NFL halftime goes.

Officially, the mid-game break in the NFL is twelve minutes from the time the last coach or player leaves the field. The game is run by television, and they have a schedule to keep. In college, the halftime is scheduled for fifteen minutes and often last up to twenty. The chain gang was still sitting in the lunchroom while the referee was ready to blow the whistle.

When you look at a drive sheet from an NFL game, you can see where the outcome turns on just a couple of plays. That’s new for Meyer.

“I can’t stand bad plays,” he said after the Jaguars first exhibition loss to the Browns. “It is even magnified now because you just don’t have that many plays.”

Last year NFL teams averaged between sixty and seventy offensive plays per game. The Jaguars averaged just over sixty-two, seventh fewest in the league. College offenses can average more than eighty snaps. Clemson had just over seventy-eight plays on average last year, fifteenth most among college teams.

“I remember looking up and was like, my gosh, we’re in the middle of the second quarter and we’ve had three drives,” Meyer said, admitting to being surprised Saturday night. “In college, you have three drives in the first quarter or four if you are really cooking. I knew that, but now that I did it, it’s on you quick.”

Meyer has spoken often about the roster limitations in the NFL and having to cut nearly half of the players who are in camp to get down to fifty-three on opening day. The Jaguars staff meets regularly about “roster management” and Meyer admitted having that limitation led to the Jaguars cutting Tim Tebow.

“It comes down (to that) because we expect to be very good on special teams,” he said, explaining that special teamers have to both block and tackle, things Tim hadn’t done in a while. “The tight end position is one of those (positions) and tailback. If you can’t contribute on special teams, that’s a tough go.”

It will be different for Meyer when he walks on the field at Houston on September 12th if only for the amount of talent on every roster in the league. For the first time in his coaching career, probably since he left Utah in 2004, Meyer will not have the best team on the field. Certainly, at least in his first year here, every time Meyer steps through the tunnel, the team on the other sideline will be at least as talented as the Jaguars.

In addition, at every college stop, Meyer had eighty or ninety players to choose from on Saturday. On NFL Sunday’s, he’ll have about half that number. And just getting down to a game day roster is full of difficult decisions.

“I’ve been warned by colleagues that you know that’s going to be a tough deal,” he explained. “I just start thinking about these guys careers. We can’t be wrong. It’s not fair to that player.”

More than once Meyer has lamented the size of the roster and with cuts looming in the near future, he admits he’ll be leaning on the coaches on his staff who have been around the league.

“How do you actually practice with fifty-three veteran players?” he asked. “I can handle the college game pretty good. It’s a little different animal here. Those are all things I don’t think college guys know. College guys know how to motivate and run an organization. But for that kind of intricacies (practice plans, roster management), you need to have people around you. And I do.”

While the transition from the college to pro game is littered with coaches who didn’t make it, there are some who have adapted with great success. Tom Coughlin was a winner at Boston College before taking the Jaguars job. Barry Switzer, Jim Harbaugh, Bill Walsh, and Pete Carroll all had success at both levels. Jimmy Johnson might be the most successful coach who’s won championships in college and in the NFL.

“There’s not a world of difference, there’s a galaxy of difference,” Johnson told a Miami newspaper before his induction this year into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “As a college coach, I was a mentor, I was kind of a father figure, I did a tremendous amount of counseling with the players.”

Johnson believes players in the professional game are motivated and dictated by financial pressures, creating a completely different coach/player relationship.

And he agreed, sometimes you just “out-talent’ the other team in college.

“Sometimes I didn’t even need to show up we had so much talent,” he said of his time at the University of Miami. “You’re gonna have to be at your best for maybe three games a year (in college). In professional football, it’s really a different world.”

While college coaches have massive staffs, hold sway over the school at large, and make significantly more money than their bosses, they also must deal with academics, alumni and growing young men.

In the NFL they’re coaching adults. They have to deal with one person: The Owner.

And they have one job: Win.

“He doesn’t need to know what the goals and ambitions of these young men are,” Barry Switzer told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “He doesn’t need to know [a player’s] mother. He doesn’t need to know if he had a father in the home, or if he had any siblings. All those things are irrelevant. That player might be in camp one day and on the waiver wire the next one, and the coach will never speak to him or see him again the rest of his life.

“A college coach sees every player — when you recruit a player, you’ve got him for life. You can wrap that up with one sentence.”
About a month ago, Meyer revealed that he doesn’t expect to change much from his days at Florida and Ohio State.

“I think you win for your coach and the coaches coach for their players,” he said of his philosophy. “I know they get paid now and I’ve heard all about “pro.” I don’t necessarily buy that. I believe in relationships. I believe that these are not number 75 or number 72, they’re people and that’s one of the reasons we’ve had success over the years.”

Will that work in the NFL? Will grown men buy into that when their livelihood is on the line? Will Meyer see it differently as his NFL career progresses?
Barry Switzer has lived through it:

“The job of a professional coach is to win football games with 53 players, and his only goal is the Super Bowl.”

Laviska Shenault

Sports Performance

We’ve heard Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer talk a lot about how important he thinks “sports performance” is to the success of his new team.

What exactly is “sports performance?”

“There has been a lot of research about different tools to improve sports performance,” Dr. Kaitlyn Buss a doctor of physical therapy here in Jacksonville said this week. “From a scientific standpoint, there’s a lot of research about different techniques and tools trainers, athletes and therapists can use to improve sports performance.”

This week the Jaguars announced plans to build a 125,000 square foot football performance center that will bring state of the art training facilities to the Jaguars organization as part of a comprehensive overhaul of their facilities and the stadium.

Meyer has been vocal and to the point that the Jaguars need to upgrade their facilities and to stay competitive, he’s right. College facilities all over the country, including at Florida and Ohio State where he coached, put most comparable NFL facilities to shame.

“If a player decides to go somewhere else to get better, then I’m going to try to hire that person they’re going to, because they deserve the best,” Meyer said, explaining why he wants this new facility to move the Jaguars forward. “I don’t want to have a player tell me he can get better training in Phoenix. That shouldn’t happen, it should happen right here.”

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said he wants to make Jacksonville a football destination and to “be the envy of other cities in the US and all over the world.” Although there’s not technically recruiting in the NFL, Meyer knows that showing off shiny new training facilities in Gainesville and Columbus enabled him to attract top talent to those schools. He thinks the same will happen on the professional level here.

Along with the Jaguars new football performance center, Baptist and the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute are planning on a 42,000 square foot sports medicine complex that will include an elite training facility that anybody will be able to be as part of.

That’s not a new idea, but it is one who’s time is probably now right for North Florida. Dr. Joe Czerkawski, a Sports Medicine/Internist was way ahead of the curve when it came to creating a sports performance facility here in town.

Nearly twenty years ago Czerkawski created the High Intensity Training Center off of Phillip Highway, a place with the latest testing and performance equipment as well as a 25,000 square foot field house with sixty yards of artificial turf for training, batting cages and other “toys” to make athletes better.

“Remember the sand pit,” Joe recalled with a laugh this week, evoking memories of some of the hardest workouts you could go through. “That’s the kind of thing we created that was new. There was a lot of hokey science out there and that’s why I got involved. There were programs that showed improvement with some high intensity training without increase risk of injury. We only hired exercise physiologists. We helped athletes with sports specific training, and it worked.”

To open a sports performance facility like that on your own takes the right people and the right money, which Czerkawski had, but it also takes a steady stream of clients to keep the doors open. The HIT Center had contracts with the police and fire departments and was building group fitness and weight loss programs as a baseline revenue stream.

“You can’t stay in business with just three NFL quarterbacks coming in,” he explained. “You have to find the right price point for the elite professional athlete as well as the high school and college athletes and weekend warriors. Without that, you can’t stay in business. You have to find the people who want to be pushed just a little bit more and you have to find the right price point for them as well.”

The key phrase there is ‘people who want to be pushed a little bit.” Working out at a sports performance center isn’t just going a jogging on the treadmill and lifting a few weights. It’s training that will make you better at whatever sport you choose.

“Absolutely you can make a difference,” he explained. The data supports it and my anecdotal experience shows it works. The improvement in foot speed, forty-time, upper body strength. Does it make you a better athlete? Yes. You go into the sports acclimatized better. It’s not just from a power and strength and speed standpoint. It’s neuromuscular training as well. The confidence building, that’s part of it.”

With this kind of sports performance training being a part of professional sports, once pro athletes started taking that level of work into the off-season, some celebrities got involved as well. That’s when the general fitness public wanted to be a part of that.

“Are you training for the Gate River Run or are you getting Trevor Lawrence ready to play in the NFL? Everybody’s getting ready for something,” Matt Serlo, a Master Physical Therapist at PT Solutions in Pone Vedra explained. “It’s just the intensity of level. You need to be in the right hands, so your intensity level is right. You can get specifically trained for whatever competition you’re involved with.”

Serlo also believes that sports specific training for young athletes has helped the sports performance business explode in the last twenty years.

“Part of it is that parents want their kids to be sport specific, so they’re going to sports performance trainers. That’s why it’s good to have trainers who really understand the body and really understand the mechanics. They can break it down and train you biomechanically for the right sport. Records are being broken left and right because of the kind of training they can now provide. “

Dr. Buss sees patients at the Sports Recovery Annex on Hendricks Avenue and agrees, research and science have made athletes better.

“Bringing the kind of training that pros do to the general public is important,” Buss, a varsity cross country and distance track athlete at FSU, explained. “When you’re training that much, you’re breaking your body down, so you’re taking all of these tools to put them all together to provide care for the athletes so they can perform at their best.”

This kind of ‘elite sports training’ has exploded in the last twenty years. Professional athletes have been gathering in different parts of the country to train together in the off season and it’s become a bit more formalized. Dozens of NFL players have been working out at the Pete Bommartio Performance Center in South Florida each off season.

Jaguars’ Laviska Shenault and Shaq Quarterman are among those who honed their fitness there before the NFL combine. Bommarito’s business has flourished so much in the last two decades, he now has four facilities around the country.

You might recognize Jay Glazer from his work as a ‘NFL Insider’ on Fox Sports. But Glazer was an MMA fighter and enthusiast who started training NFL players with his MMA techniques and now has a whole business of elite sports performance training through his ‘Unbreakable’ gym in Los Angeles.

“We will find your breaking point and move it and move it and move it so when you go back to training camp or your recording studio, you say: ‘Man, this isn’t tough. That was tough.’ Glazer said recently in the New York Times.

Jamil Liggin was a track sprinter in college but now is considered a ‘speed specialist’ to over three hundred professional athletes based in California. He started with Marshawn Lynch and Odell Beckham, Jr. and it grew from there.

“When people ask me, ‘How much is a session?” Liggin explained to Men’s Fitness. “I say, ‘I don’t sell training—I give an experience.’ It’s mental training, it’s physical, and we are going to help you reach your goals—whether it be to tone up, lose weight, or get faster, whatever it is.”

And it’s not just about going for a run and lifting weights. Flipping huge tires isn’t going to make you throw a hundred mile an hour fastball.

“There’s a nervous system improvement,” Dr. Czerkawski explained. “It’s not just pushing iron for three months. It’s speed, strength, how your muscle reaction improves. Your body knows how to react to the stressful situations. Your muscle memory improves. It builds that confidence you need to be your best.”

Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor and Tebow A Jaguars Solution

In a conversation this week, I had a couple of Jaguars fans tell me they thought that Head Coach Urban Meyer was “calculating.”

“That’s a good word,” I told them.

It really does seem to be part of Meyer’s personality, and one of things that, to me, is unappealing.

But that calculating trait can’t be overstated on the plus side when it comes to potentially signing Tim Tebow this week. Meyer said yesterday after the rookie camp practice that the staff would meet today to decided what to do with Tim. Which for the Jaguars, Meyer, Jacksonville and Tim, signing him to a contract would be a good thing.

All of the animus toward Tebow, Meyer and the Jaguars comes from the outside. It should make those of us who live here, and especially those who have covered the NFL laugh out loud.

How often was Bill Parcell’s lauded by the media for bringing ‘his guys’ along to whatever team he was coaching at that point. Dave Meggett, Keith Byars and even Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe were among those added to Parcell’s rosters in his four-team, nineteen-year NFL coaching career. They got his message across in the locker room.

Putting Tim on the team isn’t about what he can contribute starting September 12th, it’s about what he can contribute between now and the opener on September 12th.

It’s been hilarious to hear all of the angst and the so-called ‘experts’ weighing in on Tim’s chances and his potential ability as a tight end. Anybody who’s been around Tebow knows he’ll give it his all and see what happens. He’s had a baseball career, he’s been in broadcasting and he still wants to be a football player. In Jacksonville, in the NFL.

He might make the team, and he might not. But bringing him in is a calculated, correct move.

He and Meyer are tight. I’ve been in enough situations with both of them to see the two of them together after practice, walking down the hall after a big victory, standing behind the wall together waiting to enter a press conference to see it.

It’s not your typical player-coach situation. Tim is committed to Meyer and will do what he’s asked. He’s not taking a roster spot from anybody. His chances to make the team are about the same as any other ninetieth player on any NFL training camp roster. He is in the right situation for this team at this time with this coach.

We all also know that the perception of Tebow outside of the people who know him is very different than who he actually is. His commitment to evangelizing his faith can be a turn-off to some but he’s about as straightforward a person that you’ll ever meet.

I was at the Super Bowl a couple of years ago with Peter King, the well-known NFL writer, when he turned to me and said, “I just spent an hour with Tim Tebow.”

“How’d that go,” I asked.

“Is that real,” Peter said, walking down the hallway, knowing I’ve covered Tim and gotten to know him well over the last twenty years.

“You mean who he is?” I replied.

“Yeah, he’s the most earnest and honest person I’ve ever talked with. Is that an act?” he asked, clearly astonished.

“No, that’s who he is,” I said with a chuckle. “It’s not an act, he’s as transparent as it gets. He talks it, but he also walks it. Nothing hidden there.”

“Amazing,” King said as his voice trailed off.

And don’t think Meyer hasn’t thought about the amount of media glare that can be deflected off his new quarterback by putting Tebow on the roster. If Tim’s not there it’s Trevor Time, all the time.

With Tim there, he’ll take some of the media heat just by being. And the amount of media that will be around the Jaguars this summer will be nothing new for Tebow. That’s been his life since leaving high school. Trevor has dealt with a lot of that already, but if he needs any advice on that front, he should look no further than his own locker room to the guy wearing the number one less than his.

Occasionally you’ll hear a coach talk about his own team in terms of the “top” or the “bottom” of the roster. Players are ranked within their own team according to their contributions, usually on the field.

If the Jaguars have ninety players on their roster when training camp opens, it might be fair to say that Trevor Lawrence is at the top of the roster, and perhaps Tim Tebow, about to turn thirty-four years old and five years removed from the league, is at the bottom.

If Tim is the ninetieth player on the roster, what’s expected of somebody who fills that spot? There have been fourth or fifth-string tight ends who have been the ninetieth player on the roster before. They’ll get reps, play scout team and get a chance to show what they can do. Sometimes they make it. Keenan McCardell might have been the ninetieth player on the Washington roster when they drafted him in the twelfth round in 1991 out of UNLV. McCardell went on to become a starter, a Pro Bowl player and won a Super Bowl ring in his seventeen-year career.

Tebow will do all of the things that the ninetieth player on the roster is supposed to do, hustle, fill-in, get a few reps and show what he can do.

But he’ll check a lot of boxes that no other 90th player on any team will. Tebow is on the Jaguars because of his previous relationship with Head Coach Urban Meyer. That’s not new nor is it news. Happens all the time. Especially in the NFL.

Meyer is the coach in Jacksonville and Tim is from here. It’s the only confluence of events that could put Tebow back in the NFL nearing his 34th birthday. Don’t expect Tim to have those locker room exhortations you’ve seen matriculating around the internet from his college days. He’s had success, he’s had failures, he’s gotten married, and he knows the kind of environment that exists in an NFL locker room.

He’ll go about his business, but most importantly, he knows what Urban Meyer expects from the players on his football team. He’s lived it and just by being there and doing, the other players trying to make this team will take their cues on how to get it done.

Does Meyer like it when you show up a half-hour early or does he think that’s patronizing? Does he want two extra reps or four? Tebow has all of the answers to those questions just by being part of the grind.

There were a full group of rookies at their first minicamp as Jaguars yesterday. I’m sure all of them were fast, motivated and trying to shine. But nobody can tell you much about most of them.

They can tell you how Trevor Lawrence walked onto the field, how he put his helmet on, how he took it off, how he drank water and oh yes, they can tell you how he threw the football from the quarterback position.

The answer to that is very well.

Here’s another place I agree with Urban Meyer: You can watch all the tape you want but there’s nothing like standing near a quarterback to see and hear how the ball comes out of his hand.

There’s a singing sound that comes off the ball when somebody can really “spin it” in the modern-day vernacular. You don’t hear that very often and very rarely have we heard that at Jaguars practice.

No more.

“It was really good”, my colleague and friend Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com said with a laugh. “He was limited in his throws (Thirty to forty according to Meyer) but when the ball comes out of his hand, it’s crisp.”

“He’s as good as advertised, on target and on the money,” my trusted colleague here at the Times Union, John Reid said after practice.

Then John gave the assessment of seeing thousands of footballs thrown in practice that only comes from an experienced reporter’s career.

“It comes out spinning and it’s accurate,” John said. “The ball is there when the receiver makes his cut. He doesn’t have to wait on it and it hits him right in the numbers.”

“Oh yeah,” DiRocco agreed. “It’s very different than the quarterback stuff we’ve seen here in the last couple of years. Spinning, crisp, rollouts, drop-backs, didn’t matter.”

In other words, that thing ‘sings’ coming out of his hand. And there was one more thing both Mike and John wanted to relate:

“He looks the part,” Mike said alluding to the whole package of quarterback and first pick overall. “We’ve seen something different before, this was something totally different.”

“He’s got that persona,” John added. “He went from one drill to the next with no problem. He’s the tallest guy out there, he looks big time. He has the intangibles. He’s cool and composed, like he’s done this before. He has the presence of a leader.”

Urban Meyer

Urban Redux

Dear Shad,

Hope you and the family had a great holiday season and are looking forward to a happy and healthy 2021!

Just wanted to send along my congratulations on your new head coach hire. It’s the kind of big splash that put the Jaguars back on the map instantly. With Urban on board and Trevor Lawrence waiting in the wings, the Jaguars are relevant again! I’m sure the phones for season tickets are ringing off the hook.

I’m not sure who you were leaning on for advice on this hire but there are a few of us who have been around for a while and know Urban from his seven years at Florida. I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on the excitement in town but there are a few things I wanted to make you aware of.

Wow, did they have some success there in Gainesville under Urban! I’m sure you asked and I’m sure he had a good answer for the lawlessness and the criminal activity that happened under his watch while he was in Gainesville as was reported and verified after his departure from there.

There are a lot of Gator fans who think the most amazing thing that happened while he was there wasn’t the two national championships but rather that nobody went to jail while he was in charge!

Nonetheless, winning seems to cure all ills, but it is kind of funny that he’s so reviled by Gator fans even though he brought two national titles there. They’re trying to figure out how to put Urban in the Gators Ring of Honor at Florida Field but they’re afraid he’ll be booed! Imagine that? Maybe they’ll bring the HBC or Timmy along to keep that from happening. I guess Gator fans didn’t like how he left, either time!

I mean, we were all concerned when his wife Shelley told us she couldn’t revive him one night despite her repeated “Urb, Urb,” calls to him on the floor. Turns out he had some kind of serious, as he described it, ‘esophageal spasms’ that were causing his problems. I guess the next year when he quit to spend more time with his family, that was the best thing for everybody. Who knew a stint with ESPN could be so much a part of family bonding?

But wow, medical science is amazing isn’t it? Just eleven months later he was back coaching at Ohio State! I’m not sure Gator fans in North Florida quite understand that but I’m sure they’ll be buying Jaguars tickets anyway.

As you said on Friday when you introduced him, Meyer was impressive above all candidates in the interview process. He is an impressive interview and was equally impressive in his first meeting with the press at the end of last week.

I just wonder how things will go as we get into the year and hopefully things start to get back to normal. You know when you met somebody and after you shake hands, (we used to do that) and look them in the eye, you got the feeling ‘Hey, something else is going on there’? That’s the feeling I always got around Urban. A friend of mine who worked with him a lot said, “It’s like he’s always looking past you.” “Yeah, that’s it,” I thought. Not quite transparent, not trusting, and with a whole agenda nobody else knows anything about. Hopefully as he moves to the pros that’ll change, right?

Because I\it can be a bit of a different transition from college to the pros. One thing I’m sure you talked with Urban about is dealing with the media. Going to a press conference in Gainesville or Columbus, the room is full of young reporters, many still students, who are learning their jobs and oftentimes are graduates and fans of the program their covering. Urban had control of that situation and honestly, not many hard questions were asked.

And when the hard questions were asked, he usually rebuffed, laughed off or answered them with a “Where are you from?” answer. I know, he asked me that more than once! That won’t be the case in a professional setting like the NFL. He’ll have to get used to being asked the how’s and why’s of what he’s doing. His decisions will be second guessed, legitimately, and constantly on every level.

But hey, wasn’t it funny when that cub reporter from my former employer started his question with ‘Go Gators!’ on Friday? Doubt that will happen again.

I’m sure you asked him what the heck happened at Ohio State with his assistant Zach Smith. Urban had to serve a three-game suspension for his role in handling the spouse abuse allegations against his former assistant. Urban said he “mis-spoke” at the summer Big Ten media days when he told us he didn’t know anything about that. Female Jaguars fans have asked me about that, but I’m sure he gave you the right answers.

And who says you have to be likeable and considered a good guy to be a good football coach anyway? It’s certainly no requirement for the players in pro sports. Some sort of a rap sheet is never a deterrent if you can play.

I mean, Look at some of the most successful coaches and they don’t’ fall into the category of ‘likeable.” That’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells or even Tom Coughlin. And Vince Lombardi doesn’t evoke warm and fuzzy feelings.

The difference though is all of those coaches have their private defenders. Talk to any of their friends and they’ll tell you stories about their philanthropy, their humor and their general goodness. I rarely heard that about Jack Del Rio and I’ve never heard that about Urban Meyer in the seventeen years I’ve covered his career. Hopefully sometime soon I will.

But again, that’s not a requirement to be a good football coach. Meyer has shown he can be a good football coach, but on a completely different level. Perhaps his executive skills, his ability to organize and create a ‘program’ will translate to the professional level. But we don’t know that. But there’s hope!

We do know that there’s a long list of college coaches who haven’t been able to transition to the pro game, and a few, like Urban’s friend from FOX Sports, Jimmy Johnson who have, and have done it very well.

Urban knows college players are still forming who they’re going to be as people. And I’m sure he knows sometimes a coach plays a significant role in that. Scientists say your brain isn’t fully formed until you’re about twenty-four years old and while you’re in college you’re still figuring out where you fit into the world. If somebody in authority gives you direction, especially if you’ve been coached in sports your whole life, you go along. Urban did that as a college coach with plenty of success.

And on Friday he admitted that the game has changed and said he’s changed with it. Professional athletes figure out what works for them and they’re a different breed.

Their first year they’re figuring out how to stay in the league. And that’s the overriding motivation throughout their career. As they get established, some figure out how to win, but they’re all trying to stay in the game. Nobody ever leaves when they want to.

Speaking of leaving, what did he have to say about leaving Columbus? I know he said Friday he was older and was very aware of his health and how to take care of it but wow, arachnoid cysts on your brain sounds serious! I hope collapsing on the sideline and those headaches he suffered at Ohio State isn’t in his future here. I guess medical science really is amazing! That FOX Sports gig must have been just the relaxing tonic he needed.

You’ve been in the Jaguars locker room and you’ve seen the different ways players get themselves ready. They know what works for them. When to eat, how much sleep, rest and nutrition they need. What kind of workouts get them best prepared? I hope Urban has thought about that and the difference coaching grown men.

They’ll follow along with his schedule and the concepts, but there’s much more individualism in pro sports. He’ll will have to get used to that, not the other way around. College coaches who try to impose their will and their way in pro sports flame out pretty quickly. Hey, even Tom Coughlin adjusted when he was with the Giants and won two Super Bowls.

Look, you and I know you don’t have to be good, or even nice to be a good football coach. But you have to be respected by the players, the assistants, the people in your organization, the media and the fans. I’m sure Urban realizes that he doesn’t have that from the start with football fans here in North Florida.

Unlike a lot of hires where the coach has a bit of a honeymoon period while everybody sees where he takes the team, Meyer’s track record doesn’t afford him that. He’ll have to earn respect every step of the way.

There’s also the CEO aspect of the job where the head coach represents the organization. That matters a lot here in Jacksonville. Maybe more than other cities. The Jaguars head coach is the face of the team and has to be out there in some way as part of the community. That’ll be great to see Urban helping out at the Sulzbacher Center and speaking at Rotary Clubs spreading the good word of the Jaguars.

I hope occasionally losing on the NFL level doesn’t bother Urban too much. One fellow reporter said losing “crushed Urban’s soul” more than any other coach we’ve covered. That’s great on one level that he cares that much, luckily, he only lost thirty-two times in his entire college career. I mean, geez, the Jaguars lost fifteen times just LAST YEAR! He’ll remember losing five games in a season might have cost him his job in college. But wow, if he only loses five games a year with the Jaguars, we’ll erect a statue!

Anyway, I’ve taken way too much of your time. Looking forward to your General Manager pick and hopefully seeing more of you around, and winning in 2021!

Best, SK