It seemed inevitable from the beginning of the head coaching hiring cycle, and after some doubts, Urban Meyer has officially been hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as their next head coach.
This is a major moment for each side, as Jacksonville looks to reverse years of inferiority and failed expectations (save 2017).
The Jaguars, who will have the right to pick Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft, could be set to redefine their entire organization with a franchise QB. Lawrence is said to be a generational QB prospect in the mold of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and John Elway. Those are high expectations, but those types of players can change the course of a team for the better.
But it takes more than one player.
The Jags will have loads of cap space and ample draft capital in addition to the first overall pick to build a new foundation.
They’ll also have a new head coach in Urban Meyer.
Meyer, 56, is considered to be one of the best college football coaches of his generation and a strong team builder, something the Jaguars desperately need.
He coached at Bowling Green (2001-2002) and Utah (2003-2004) before stepping onto the national stage at Florida. During 6 seasons as the head coach of the Gators, he won two BCS titles and implemented his take on the spread offense, which revolutionized college football.
He retired from coaching after the 2010 season (more on this shortly), but soon came back to coach at Ohio State. He coached the Buckeyes for 7 seasons, winning the first ever College Football Playoff Championship in 2014. He again retired from coaching in 2018.
His overall record in college? 187-32 (.854). Wherever he goes, winning ensues.
For all the winning, lets not forget the cultures he built came with some questions marks. Many of the players he coached while at Florida had arrest records. One coach at Ohio State abused his ex-wife, and Meyer is said to have known it happened (which he lied about at first) but did nothing – which was learned after the details become public and the coach was fired by the school in 2018. Meyer let questionable behavior by the coach slide even before this abuse came to his attention.
Then there’s Meyer’s health. He has a arachnoid cyst in his brain, which has caused him severe headaches and led to his 2018 retirement. His first retirement in 2010 (and technically the brief one in 2009) was due to health concerns. Meyer went to the hospital after the 2009 SEC Championship Game with chest pains. The symptoms were connected to acid reflux and the same cyst we learned more about in 2018, all apparently being triggered by job-related stress.
Jacksonville does not seem concerned.
They see the on-the-field resume of championships and consistent winning and believe Meyer is the person to shape the future of the organization. If they’re right, maybe he’s the next Pete Carrol and the Jaguars win a Super Bowl with him and Trevor Lawrence.
If they’re wrong, it could be yet another setback for the team that is far too familiar with them.
Credit to image above to Jay LePrete of the Associated Press
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