- Urban Meyer’s NFL coaching career is off to a rough start.
- Meyer’s Jaguars are 0-2 and he has suggested being overwhelmed by the talent level in the NFL.
- Meyer’s handling of the team has reportedly created tension and he’s had to reaffirm his commitment.
Urban Meyer is experiencing a bit of a learning curve in the NFL.
A successful college coach for two decades, Meyer had no NFL coaching experience when he was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.
Now, just months into his tenure, the team is 0-2, and much of the focus has been on his blunders, struggles adapting, and future in the NFL.
On Wednesday, Meyer admitted that the transition from college to the NFL has been “really hard.”
“I’m working, we’re all working through it,” Meyer said, according to John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. ”Of course it’s different in college, I get that, I’m not trying to equate the two … I knew it was going to be hard.”
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told reporters on Wednesday that after the Broncos beat the Jaguars in Week 2, Meyer told him that the NFL was like playing Alabama — a college football powerhouse — every week.
Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network confirmed the exchange happened.
—Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 23, 2021
The admission seemed to be innocent enough, but many were still surprised that Meyer has been caught off-guard by the skill level of the NFL.
—Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 23, 2021
Former NFL kicker Pat McAfee said on his show that Meyer is learning the NFL is “a different animal” than college football.
There have been questions about Meyer’s ability to handle an NFL locker room already.
CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported before Week 1 that there has been “tension” in the Jaguars’ locker room over Meyer’s outbursts.
“He becomes unhinged way too easily, and he doesn’t know how to handle losing, even in the preseason,” a source told La Canfora. “He loses it and wants to take over the drills himself. It’s not good.”
La Canfora reported that Meyer had trouble adjusting to the NFL schedule and getting schemes prepared on time.
Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones, who played for Meyer at Ohio State, told reporters that Meyer needs to change some of his ways to adapt to the NFL.
“Going from college to pros is always difficult no matter what the level is, whether coaching or playing,” Jones said, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “Especially because a lot of his philosophies are college-based, and you can’t do that with 30-plus men or even 25-plus men who have been around the league and know what they’re doing now and are well established. You got to shake things up in how you coach.”
Jones said he wasn’t surprised by reports that Meyer’s style has rubbed some the wrong way, though he didn’t specify why.
Meyer’s NFL career even began with some turbulence when he was criticized for inviting Tim Tebow to Jaguars training camp to play tight end, despite the fact that Tebow had never played the position and hadn’t played in the NFL in years. Alas, Tebow was cut during training camp.
Though two regular season games may seem like a laughably short time to call a coach’s future into question, Meyer has already had to refute reports that he may be interested in the head-coaching job at University of Southern California, which fired Clay Helton after two games.
“I’m here and committed to trying to build this organization,” Meyer told reporters.
Meyer, of course, has an uphill battle trying to turn around a team that went 1-15 last season. He has star rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a building block, but even Lawrence has had some bumps in his first two NFL starts, throwing 5 interceptions to 4 touchdowns.
Meyer and the Jaguars will look to avoid an 18-game losing streak, dating back to last September, against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.