Urban Meyer coached the Jaguars for just 13 games, but his time there was bad enough that it left a mark with the long-time college coach.
Meyer opened up about his time with the Jaguars on Outkick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” and detailed the thing that bothered him the most about his NFL tenure: losing.
“It was the worst experience I’ve had in my professional lifetime,” Meyer said. “What really got me, I almost don’t want to say people accept it, I mean, you lose a game, and you just keep … I would seriously have self-talk. I went through that whole depression thing, too, where I’d stare at the ceilings and [think] ‘are we doing everything possible?’ Because I really believed we had a roster that was good enough to win games. I just don’t think we did a great job.”
Meyer also added that losing “eats away at your soul.”
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It’s easy to understand why losing bothered Meyer so much. He posted a 187–32 record across college stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. His .854 winning percentage ranks seventh-highest of all time, and he never lost more than five games in a single season.
With the Jaguars, Meyer posted a 2-11 record in 13 games. The 11 losses were more than Meyer logged during his entire seven-year tenure at Ohio State, during which he had just nine defeats.
Beyond that issue, Meyer admitted he had trouble adjusting to the NFL practice schedule. The league’s lacking practice time was an obstacle he struggled to overcome.
“It is a lot different,” Meyer said of the NFL compared to college football. “Just the amount of time you get with your quarterback. Just the amount of time you get with your team. The roster management. How you practice. You know, the amount of reps you get before you go play a game, to me, was shockingly low. For example, we would practice, you maybe get one or two reps at something, next thing you know you’re calling it in the game.
“In college, you never do that. In college, you’re gonna get at least a dozen opportunities to practice that before you ask a player to go do it in the game. So there are a lot of differences.”
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Another major issue that Meyer dealt with was roster management. Meyer was used to spending a lot of time recruiting, but at the NFL level, his job required more game-planning and tinkering with the 53-man roster.
“Used to be in college, the reality is you spend 75 percent of your time recruiting,” Meyer said. “In professional football, there’s no recruiting. So it’s all scheme and it’s all roster management. You’re getting guys rolling in on your organization on a Tuesday and they’re gonna play for you on a Sunday. So there is some obvious differences to the two games.”
Meyer acknowledged he “certainly didn’t help” put an end to the old adage that college coaches can’t be quality NFL coaches. However, he denied one of the more serious allegations that led to his departure from the Jaguars. He says that he did not kick then-Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo during a preseason practice.
“You know when you come out and say there was a player kicked … That’s not true. That’s not true at all,” Meyer said. “To say I didn’t tap him with my foot … To kick someone? Come on. I’ve done this 37 years. Kick a player? The other players came up to me and said, ‘We saw the whole thing.’ Because I’d mostly forgotten about it.”
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Nonetheless, Meyer was dismissed shortly after Lambo aired his accusations. As a result, the Jaguars are looking for a new coach for the second time in as many years while Meyer’s NFL tenure will go down as one of the worst in NFL history.