JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mark from Archer, FL
John. This is my concern with hiring Meyer. You have very often said that college football is very different than professional football, that they are almost different games. If they are that different, then thinking Meyer will be a good NFL head coach because he was a good college coach is rather foolish. The Jags have been bad for so long. I do not think now is the time to take such a huge hire risk on someone with no professional football experience.
The Jaguars indeed hired Urban Meyer as head coach Thursday, making the much-anticipated hire official at 6:40 Thursday. There are many facets to the move – Meyer's past health issues perhaps most notable – and we'll undoubtedly discuss all of them here in the O-Zone in the coming days and weeks. And your question indeed is among the most-pertinent issues around the hire. Meyer, who coached Florida and Ohio State to a total of three national titles, is one of the all-time great college football coaches. If he were being hired at a college program, it would be a no-brainer hire – and a can't-miss hire. That's not the case in the NFL, because there's no such thing as a can't-miss NFL hire. There are too many factors outside a coach's control, with the most obvious such factor being a head coach has far less control over talent level in a draft-based NFL than at the recruiting-based college level. But here's the other side – and a pertinent side – of that discussion. Meyer has adjusted at the college level and proven an ability to adapt to his situation. He's not as much an "offensive guru" or "quarterback whisper" as he is a leader and big-picture head coach. He won at four different schools, winning at smaller schools such as Bowling Green and Utah and at power schools such as Florida and Ohio State. He also is the biggest name of this hiring cycle, and that – along with the potential to select Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft – gives the franchise a national credibility and energy it hasn't had in a while. No, hiring Meyer doesn't guarantee the Jaguars success. Neither does holding the No. 1 selection. But Meyer's ability to adjust to circumstances and stay ahead of trends could translate to the NFL. If they do, those are a couple of significant strengths that will give him a chance to succeed in what in many senses indeed is a different game than the one he coached before.
Tony from Los Angeles, CA
I'm a big FSU fan and was thrilled when we drafted cornerback Jalen Ramsey. My love for the player turned to hatred when he left the way he did. If the Jags were to bring him back next year, I would be furious … until his first Pick Six. I would probably feel a lot better about the situation at that point and be right back to, "Love you, Jalen." I think we might find a similar situation for all the Gator fan/Meyer haters. If we win, I think they'll be just fine.
This is almost certainly true, as it should be. Fans aren't supposed to be logical. They're supposed to want their teams to win. And when they do, they will love them. No matter what they may have felt/thought before. Ain't it grand?
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL via Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL
O-Man: I sense the makings of a long-awaited organizational turning point. Some fundamental pieces are materializing. Let's keep it going, and here's to hoping that the future is as bright as it seems it might be. Thanks, and GO JAGS!!!
You go, girl.
Ed from Jacksonville
With all of the Urban talk, do you think this could be the end of London game? Urban is such a fierce competitor and he understands that homefield advantage is a big deal. In my opinion he is all about winning and will only sign on if the owner is all about winning. He knows a home game in London is no competitive on-field advantage and I could see him asking for assurance that it will end. At the very least the two games in London thing will be laid to rest. What do you think?
Most head coaches I have known are fierce competitors. It's tough to rise to the top of this ultra-competitive profession without that being the case. I absolutely could see Meyer not wanting the team to play in London. I also could see him understanding the need for it and being confident enough in himself that he can turn London into a home-field advantage. I'd probably lean toward the former, but we'll see.
Steve from Nocatee
As you always state, there's a big difference between college and the pros. I believe that applies to coaches as well as players. I hope we don't get a "Meyer" lemon.
Perry from Daytona Beach, FL
KOAF, I know it's your job and you kinda "have" to respond to questions surrounding potential coaching hires to the best of your ability, pretending as if you care (in between naps, of course). But, knowing your position on "It's Always Coaching," I'm guessing you're already bored with the subject … wondering why it's an important enough topic to readers to even cover in the O-Zone?
Coaching is very, very important as far as leadership, vision, motivation and setting a tone. If a roster has good enough players, coaching can mold and lead those players. So, yes … getting a head coach right matters very much. I thought Doug Marrone did a good job in that role. I expect that aspect of the job to be a major focus for Meyer. That's certainly his reputation.
Reuben from Pikesville
It merits mention that Nick Saban is the most successful college football coach ever, and he was not successful in the NFL.
Fair, but trying to project the future success of one head coach based on the performance of another – while a popular exercise in the media and among fans – is a pretty useless endeavor. If there was a formula that always worked, every team would follow it. A great man once said that. No, wait. It was me.
Duke from Jacksonville
You said that there is no reason to expect Meyer not to adjust to the NFL. How about history? To find a head coach of a Super Bowl team that didn't have NFL experience prior to getting that job, you have to go back 25 years to Barry Switzer. Both Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier failed in the NFL. Why should we expect otherwise with Meyer?
This will be a topic until it's not. Remember, though: If it's a sure thing you want, there's not one. Candidates such as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy had strengths that make them good candidates in this hiring cycle. But if you think their NFL experience guarantees anything at the next stop, history indicates that's not the case. Winning in the NFL is hard. A lot has to go right, and the head coach doesn't guarantee success. But Meyer is at worst as good a hire as any in this cycle, and if he can come close to duplicating his college success he could be a really good one.
Scott from Wichita, KS
I heard on the radio today that roughly 50 Division I colleges have better facilities than the Jags. Are you kidding me? Purdue really has better facilities that the Jacksonville Jaguars!?! If there's a gofundme page for this then I'll send a hundred bucks to it. My gosh I had no idea. So, Trevor Lawrence is going to show up and think what the….
I don't know the origin of the statistic. If you're asking if the Jaguars' facilities need upgrading … yeah, that's safe to say.
Michael from Columbus, Ohio Via Duval
Hearing some of the 'hate' and trashing of the city of Jacksonville from some of the national radio and television sports shows is distasteful!! They're even taking some insulting shots at Coach Meyer! They are just upset that it's Jacksonville where Urban Meyer will be coaching instead of Dallas, New York, or Philadelphia! I really hope he succeeds in JACKSONVILLE and proves all of the haters wrong!
You know what? Let them hate. They're going to do it anyway. So, why worry about it? National "media" types are never going to not take shots at Jacksonville. It's an easy target, particularly for the lazy – and while I love my media "brethren," many are nothing if not lazy. And you know what? My guess is Meyer won't mind a little-us-versus-them attitude on the part of the Jaguars, and he might even embrace it – and my guess is that embracing might make the winning a little sweeter. So, there's an idea. Embrace the hate. And when the Jaguars win … embrace it a little more.