JACKSONVILLE – Five key facts about new Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer…
1.He has been uber-successful at big schools … Why is Meyer the new Jaguars head coach? We'll learn more about that from Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and Meyer in the coming days, but one reason unquestionably is Meyer's phenomenal success in all his previous stops as head coach. Meyer, 56, has won consistently at the highest level of college football. He coached the University of Florida to a 65-15 record from 2005-2010, winning the national title following the 2006 and 2008 seasons. The Gators beat Ohio State, 41-14, in the 2007 BCS National Championship game (following the 2006 season) and beat Oklahoma, 24-14, in the 2009 BCS National Championship game (following the 2008 season). He coached Ohio State to an 83-9 record from 2012-2018, winning the national title following the 2014 season. The Buckeyes beat Oregon, 42-20, in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship. Since the AP Poll started in 1936, Meyer and Nick Saban are the only two coaches to win national championships at multiple schools.
2. … and "less-big" schools, too. Meyer's success in college went beyond his success in the Big 10 and Southeastern Conference. He went 187-32 overall as a college coach, coaching Bowling Green to a 17-6 record in 2001-2002 and Utah to a 22-2 record from 2003-2004. The Utes won two Mountain West Conference titles under Meyer, their first such titles since 1957. They went 12-0 in 2004, with quarterback Alex Smith – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft – leading the Utes to a Bowl Championship Series bid. Meyer retired from Ohio State as the third-winningest coach in major college football history (by winning percentage) behind Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. He also is the only coach in major college history with four different winning streaks of at least 20 games: 20 with Florida/Utah, 22 at Florida, 25 with Florida and Ohio State and 23 at Ohio State.
3.He played professional baseball. Meyer played safety at the University of Cincinnati, making the Bearcats as a walk-on in 1984, and played two seasons in the Atlanta Braves' organization. The Braves selected Meyer in the 13th round of the 1984 draft. Meyer played shortstop, second base and third base in the Braves' organization and hit .182 with a home run in 44 games at the rookie-league level. "I think we all thought Urban, more than any of us, even, would be in the big leagues someday," longtime Braves infielder Mark Lemke, a teammate of Meyer's in the rookie league, told MLB.com in 2016. "You knew he would succeed in whatever he did, because he was that type of guy. Even back then as a teenager, he was always asking questions and always wanting to learn more.''
4.He is an offensive innovator willing and able to adjust. Meyer was more than a successful college coach; he also was an innovative football mind who helped change college football over the last two decades. Meyer's spread offense not only keyed his success at Utah, Florida and Ohio State, his success helped make run-pass options and running quarterbacks common – first in college and increasingly so in the NFL. Meyer, after beginning his coaching career under Sonny Lubick at Colorado State, developed his spread offense as a wide receivers coach at Note Dame – when current Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen was his graduate assistant. Meyer has credited former St. Louis Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan as a mentor, and has said also he learned from Joe Tiller at Purdue and Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia. Meyer has called the offense a combination of a one-back offense and a "shotgun-to-run" spread, with Meyer once calling it "power football with a spread set." Quarterback play, particularly decision-making, is key. "The one thing about our offense, you can't have a bad quarterback," Meyer told the "Eleven Warriors" website in 2012. "And the quarterback can't have a bad day or you'll lose. Some offenses turn around and hand the ball off; that doesn't happen. There's a lot of games where the quarterback has to make a read every play, 80 snaps. I don't think there is any other offense that does that." Meyer is known for adjustments, as this story notes, and he undoubtedly will work to adapt his offensive philosophies to the NFL.
5.He's relentless. Meyer's drive and will to win is legendary. While at Utah, he was quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune as saying: "I can't function as a human being after a loss. I can't eat. I can't shave. I can't hug my kids. I take losses too hard. …" Also: "I believe in hard work. I'm not afraid of losing as much as I'm horrified of underachieving." He once described his first head-coaching job, at Bowling Green, as follows: "I went nuts. I was all about doing things right. Twenty-two kids quit the team. If they made mistakes, I ran the whole team. If somebody got in a fight, I ran the whole team. Fortunately, the right guys quit the team." Speaking early in his tenure at Utah, he said: "You don't need any one individual. You need a group. You need everyone to come together. We made it so hard for those guys that there was no way they were going to lose games in the fourth quarter, no chance they would give in. They found a way to win." Relentless.