JACKSONVILLE – The stories flowed freely.
That's to be expected when Pete Prisco talks Jaguars history, which is what he and senior writer John Oehser did on a special two-part edition of the O-Zone podcast.
The first of the two episodes can be heard HERE, and perhaps the most intriguing part comes relatively late in the episode when Prisco – longtime senior NFL columnist for CBS Sports – talks about covering the Jaguars' 1995 expansion season for the Florida-Times-Union.
What was it like covering then-Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin?
"He was psycho," Prisco said with a laugh.
But while Prisco detailed the often-dictatorial Coughlin's first stint with the team from 1993-2002, he also made clear a deep respect for a coach who built the Jaguars into a four-time playoff team from 1996-1999.
"He's a good man," Prisco said. "There are some good coaches in the league and some good men in the league, but one thing about Tom Coughlin: He is genuine when it comes to being him as a person. There's no question about that."
Prisco and Oehser covered the Jaguars for the Times-Union in the franchise's first seasons, with Prisco also covering the expansion process that ended with the Jaguars being awarded the team in 1993. He discussed that process in the podcast, and also discussed the team's first training camp – which was held in record-setting heat in Stevens Point, Wis., with construction crews still working to complete renovations for what is now TIAA Bank Field.
Prisco also discussed the not-always-positive reactions of players – and of Coughlin – to his "grades" that ran in the Times-Union the morning after games.
"The offensive linemen used to hate it," he said. "They all hated it. It infuriated them."
Prisco also told of Coughlin questioning his grade of a "B-minus" following a Jaguars victory. During the exchange, Prisco said he offered Coughlin the opportunity to give himself a grade with the promise that he would put the grade in the paper the next day.
"He stormed off," Prisco said with a laugh.
Prisco noted that such stories in a sense may be a thing of the past, with social media and a 24-hour news cycle forever changing the relationship between the media and players and coaches.
"The access and trust is so much more limited," he said.
For the entire first episode of the O-Zone podcast with Prisco, click HERE.