The sailing hasn’t been completely smooth for new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer as he’s currently trying to grow accustomed to coaching in the NFL after strictly working in the college ranks.
So far, he has certainly learned about some of the challenges that come with coaching professionals rather than college students, and a former Hall of Fame coach who has recently been in contact with Meyer revealed one aspect that may have “frustrated” him the most.
That coach is Dallas Cowboys legend Jimmy Johnson.
Urban Meyer has already made mistakes as the Jaguars’ new coach
Meyer already has a tall task in front of him heading into his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach. He looks to turn around a team that went 1-15 last season, as well as a franchise that has only made the playoffs once since 2008 and three times since 2000.
But trying to change an already poor culture isn’t the only challenge Meyer has faced so far. In fact, despite not coaching in one game yet, Meyer has already made mistakes.
In February, Meyer made a controversial hire when he brought in former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle despite accusations of him allegedly making racist remarks and bullying players during his time at Iowa, per ESPN. Doyle and the Jaguars then parted ways one day later.
Meyer and the Jaguars were also penalized earlier in July after violating no-contact rules, according to NFL.com. The NFL fined the Jags $200,000, and Meyer received a $100,000 fine. Jacksonville must also forfeit some OTA practices for next year.
Urban Meyer is ‘frustrated’ by one aspect of being an NFL head coach
After ending his successful tenure with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Meyer worked at Fox, where Johnson also works. Meyer then ultimately used him as a resource when making his decision to jump to the pros given Johnson’s past success with the Miami Hurricanes at the collegiate level and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.
Johnson, who has been in contact with Meyer, recently revealed something that has “frustrated” the Jags coach most so far.
“He’s a little frustrated right now because he’s spent so little time with the players,” Johnson said, per The Florida Times-Union. “He’s accustomed to being around the players all the time, and they weren’t able to do that because of COVID-19.”
Yes, COVID-19 has made things more difficult for all coaches, but, as NFL.com noted, professionals have more freedom than college players. They can skip voluntary workouts, and there are various restrictions on when players can actually take part in football activities.
However, Johnson, who plans to attend some of the Jaguars’ training camp, is still confident Meyer can find success.
“Urban’s very thorough. Urban has spent his due diligence getting ready for this job,” he said, per The Florida-Times Union. “He knew what he was getting into when he accepted the job. We had numerous conversations during the job process. And I think he’ll do a great job. He knows how important personnel is. He knows how to deal with people.”
Jimmy Johnson knows a thing or two about finding success in college and the NFL
If there’s a perfect coach to help Meyer learn the differences between the college and pro levels, Johnson’s the guy.
Johnson helped the Miami Hurricanes become one of the most dominant programs in college football in the 1980s and ultimately won a national championship as their head coach in 1987. He then became the Cowboys head coach in 1989 and won back-to-back Super Bowls with them during the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
However, even Johnson also had to learn the differences between being a college coach and being a head coach of an NFL team.
“There’s not a world of difference, there’s a galaxy of difference,” he said, per The Florida Times-Union. “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.”
He continued: “So my relationship with the players was a heckuva lot different than professional players, who are really – they’re dictated by financial reasons, it’s a business, their agents are influencing them – so it’s a completely different relationship.”
We all know Meyer knows football and his X’s and O’s, but time will tell if he can manage not being a fatherly figure and instead just the boss of a bunch of millionaires. At least he has Johnson to help him if needed.