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Transcript - Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and Owner Shad Khan: January 15, 2021

SHAD KHAN: (Opening statement) "Before I make the introduction, I'd like to say something about the process that ultimately brought us here this morning. Since the end of the season, I was privileged to interview numerous candidates to fill our head coaching vacancy. To a man, they were first-class, they had a high character and they can coach. And I expect them all to be NFL coaches, head coaches in the future. In the meantime, I wish each of them the very best and I want to thank them for the time and commitment they took to talk to me and share their thoughts with me. But from this remarkable pool of candidates, one man clearly separated himself from the field. And I said yesterday, he's a winner, a leader, and a champion. He's the man we want and need in Jacksonville and as you'll see shortly, he wants the challenge. He's ready, so without further delay, it's my privilege to introduce the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Urban Meyer."

URBAN MEYER: (Opening statement) "Well, thanks, Shad. I would first like to thank Shad Khan for this opportunity to lead this organization into 2021 and beyond. Like I said yesterday, I felt like this was not only the right time for me to return to coaching, but the right place in Jacksonville as well. Duval is a very special place to me and I'm excited to be back in the great state of Florida. The work has begun to get this team where it needs to be and my primary focus, as we speak, is to put together a great staff. I've been very supported by some incredible coaches throughout the years and I expect to do the same here in Jacksonville. These fans, especially our loyal season ticket holders, deserve a winner. And I can speak on behalf of myself, my staff and eventually our team, they will get our very best. Thanks again."

MEYER: (On what he has learned from Pro Football Hall of Famer and former NFL Head Coach Jimmy Johnson) "Jimmy Johnson has been a very good friend over the years and our time at FOX together—he was a guy that I leaned on very heavily during television for the last two years. But then I had a few phone calls with him recently. He will be a resource for me, he will be a guy that I'll speak to quite frequently. And I think there is a perception out there; he told me that you have to be much different when you're in college, than you have to be in professional football. But he made clear that players want to win. Players, they want to win, they understand their value, their brand—and their lifestyle proves that you win and they want to be around winners. So I'm very enthusiastic after speaking with him. I've also spoken to several of my very close friends that are head coaches in the NFL. But Jimmy Johnson was fantastic and he'll be a guy that I'll lean on quite frequently."

MEYER: (On whether the opportunity to have the number one draft pick impacted his decision to accept this job) "Huge. I think Shad and the organization is positioned [well], and it's not by accident. Shad got very involved in the entire roster, etc. and I think it's prime to put together a good team. I think, Gene, we know each other and people know me. I'm not going to jump into a situation where I don't believe we can win. I won't do that. And I think everything this year we've got to do—first of all, I've got to get a great staff, not a good staff, a great staff. And when people are recommended, I've had a multitude of people calling and my comment is to save the recommendation unless you feel that person is elite in all areas. Because that's what Jacksonville deserves and that's what we're going to have on our staff. But the players and putting together a team that—they want to win, I know that."

MEYER: (On confidence of his health not being an issue and on being in a position to lose more than he ever has before) "Well, if you're asking me I'm going to enjoy losing, I think we all know the answer to that. I'm older and it's [health] something I'm going to be conscientious of. It's something I'm going to watch very closely. I will be the head coach, but I'm going to hire great coaches that are going to be expected to do their job. I'm not going to be running around like a nut on the practice field, those days are gone. I'm certainly going to—I know what it's supposed to look like and I want to be very demanding of everyone. It's something I'm going to watch very closely, but it's something that—you know, I had that surgery in 2014 that really helped things. But it's just something that I'm going to watch very closely."

MEYER: (On what makes this perfect for right here, right now) "I think you said it first; Shad. Shad Khan is a person—we spent [an] incredible amount of time together. I first met Shad back at the Super Bowl. He's an Illinois grad, so we kind of gave each other a hard time about the Big Ten. But something I started last year, I interviewed a bunch of our players, former players that were in the NFL or recently out, and I took notes. I was just intrigued—why does this organization win? Why does it not? Or why do they fail to win? The research was very strong, it was something that I was not surprised at the results. Because the players will tell you, players know. Sometimes you talk to coaches and I'm not sure they all know—I don't know. But players are the ones that play the game and I really value the guys that I have in the NFL. And we spent, I mean, hours upon hours, I did work on this. And I spoke to Shad about that and that was our conversation at the Super Bowl—we really had a nice conversation at the Super Bowl a year ago, I believe it was in Miami. And then we just recently had a very in-depth conversation, for many, many hours."

MEYER: (On changing his coaching methods from college to professional football) "Well, from Florida to Ohio State, I changed dramatically. Like a lot of former players from Bowling Green to Utah, I mean, the times are changing. College football is different, Mike, you know that, I mean, the days of coaching the way you did back when I was at Bowling Green or when I was an assistant coach. I mean, the whole country has changed, everything's changed. And so you have to adapt, and those who adapt have success, those who don't, fail. And I certainly have my failures along the journey, but for the most part, I can't wait. That's the part of the game that I love, is to be able to adapt to the NFL player and we've had no shortage of them the last 12 years, or whatever it's been, but it is. Talking about grown men, you're talking about—this is a business, you have a job to do. And I've always looked at the college environment as an opportunity to—not that we're not going to do it in the NFL, but you're dealing with 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds that are leaving home for the first time and you're also dealing with an academic environment. So, just a much different environment. However, between the white lines, I don't see a lot of difference. I've studied the NFL game now for really years, but really studied it for the first time in my life [over] the last six months."

MEYER: (On tackling the biggest challenge during this transition from college to the NFL) "Winning. You're in a league that is designed to be .500. You're talking about Coach [Bill] Belichick, one of my great friends, a person I've always admired. He's the best of all time and you're talking about a .686 winning percentage. You're talking about the league is built to be .500 and that's—I've coached at Utah where we were picked to lose most of our games, I've coached at Bowling Green where we were picked to lose most of our games, and then Florida and Ohio State, you're picked to win most of the games. So that's the biggest challenge, is looking across the field and saying they've got what you've got, or sometimes they've got more than you've got."

SHAD KHAN: (On whether this is one of his most triumphant moments and on the roster control) "Well, I think this was definitely what I shared, I think with you and some of the other people about a week and a half ago, that it is in an inflection point for the Jaguars. A lot of things have happened which really put us in a position to win and the choice of the head coach was probably the most important thing. And I'm really gratified and I'm delighted, obviously, that Urban is on board. But moving forward, I think the issue of roster control, it's more technical or symbolic. My whole aspect—and this started really about 15 months ago—that we need to be a coach-centric team and organization, where the head coach really has to lead the kind of players he wants, the kind of team we need to be. And the general manager, myself, we have to support that mission. And somehow, someway, that had been lost. The idea here is really more about transparency, collaboration, teamwork and accountability. So I think this would lead to the natural question. I mean, I've talked to Urban about our general manger, who it ought to be and we're working together on it. I hope we'll have an announcement or something in the next week or so, but the objective is going to be that—and I've shared this with Urban, he's on board—both of them will be reporting to me. But everybody in the organization, I mean, we're going to be carrying out Urban's vision of the team and the kind of players we want."

URBAN MEYER: (On his basic coaching philosophy) "Very good, four to six, A to B. My vision and my dream has always been the fastest team on the field and the team that plays, when I say fastest, not necessarily 40 time, but fast. One of the great compliments I can remember we ever had was in—the legendary Coach John Robinson. He was coaching at UNLV and I was at Utah, and we walk over to the 50-yard line and he looks at me and he says, 'That's the fastest team I've ever coached against.' And I'm thinking we only had maybe one guy that runs [really fast]. But then you watched the film, they play fast. And the reason you play fast—the four to six is, I want a team that plays fearless, and that first falls on the coaching staff. One way to take a great player and slow him down is to be too complicated. And that, I can assure you, that will not happen and if it will, I'll step in. So, four to six, that's the length of a play. The only demand that I'll have is you give everything you've got. If you make a mistake, we have to coach you through that, and that's on the coaching staff. Point A to B is there's a starting point A and a finish point B and that's easy to evaluate on film. Between A to B, it better be everything you've got. And that's going to be the expectation of our organization. So other than that, whether we run or throw it, I think you know the history, it's very adaptable. If you have a [former Ohio State QB] Dwyane Haskins at quarterback where he can throw 50 times a game, we're going to do what's best. If you happen to have an [Dallas Cowboys running back] Ezekiel Elliot at tailback, we happen to run the ball more. So it's going to be built, there's not a set system yet. And that will certainly be impacted by the coordinators as we play. So, that's—my vision is when you grab a seat in this beautiful stadium is you're going to see a team play really fast."

MEYER: (On whether he can grasp the buzz in Jacksonville over the last few weeks) "I do. I've spent a lot of time down here, obviously. I've spent a lot of time in Jacksonville recruiting. Friends, my kids were athletes growing up at the time, so I remember driving to Jacksonville 10 times a year for whatever events. And so we have great friends here and I kind of feel it through them. I have 479 messages I'm trying to get back to, but it's been fantastic and I can't wait to do the very best for this incredible place." 

MEYER: (On the upcoming quarterback class and having the first overall pick in this year's draft) "You see [Clemson QB] Trevor [Lawrence], you see [Ohio State QB] Justin [Fields], you see [BYU QB] Zach [Wilson]. As Shad said, this is a monumental moment for this franchise. We've seen some franchises explode and we've seen others fail. I've said this many times throughout my career is that when the NFL says it's a quarterback league, I would say 'well so is college and so is high school, so is Pop Warner.' It's a quarterback sport, so whoever takes that snap, we have got to be right on. I think Shad said it best that this is going to be, the term that you're going to hear throughout our time in Jacksonville, is a partnership. There is going to be as complete transparency [as possible]. That's the way I've always operated and the GM that we hire is going to be complete, complete transparency to our owner. He is invested in an organization. I'm telling you now, the reason I'm standing behind this mic [is] he wants to win, and he wants to win not for himself, he wants to win for Jacksonville. Who we pick at that quarterback spot, that's going to be one of the most important decisions I've made in my lifetime, along with the partnership of our owner and our general manager. The ones that are out there, my initial study, because I have been studying a lot, I like to use the term elite. I see some elite quarterbacks out there right now."

MEYER: (On bringing former staff from Ohio State to join him in Jacksonville) "I talked to [Ohio State Athletic Director] Gene [Smith] and I talked to [Ohio State Head Coach] Coach [Ryan] Day, and you know my affection for both those guys and the great university that we represented, and I won't do that. Does that mean there might be one? Maybe. I'm not there yet, but I told Gene, '[Ohio State Director of Sports Performance] Coach [Mickey] Marotti, [Ohio State Director of Player Personnel] Pantoni, the whole crew's leaving' and they're like, 'What?' That's the best infrastructure in college sports, so no they will not be leaving. I'm not touching [that]. There might be one that I said that will leave, but I'm not going to do that to that organization. I'm not sure they would go. Ohio State is home to those guys now."

MEYER: (On changing his decision to come back to coaching) "Some college opportunities showed up and made you start thinking. There's not a day I'm sure that every person, [former college coach] Bob Stoops is my dear friend, there's not a day that goes by that you just [don't think about it.] You see that grass, you see the team, you see a locker room and you think, then you start thinking about your quality of life, etc. The comment I made, [I said] it'd have to be perfect. College, I just don't plan on doing it. I don't see that happening. NFL has always been an intrigue. I had some opportunities in the past, but just wasn't the right time and wasn't the right situation. Bill, you know me as well as anybody. We have to be in position to go win a game and I believe this is the place."

MEYER: (On the role of the head coach prioritizing game play versus team management) "In college, you would add recruiting and NFL I would add personnel. It's hard to say which one's more important. I'm not going to be the play caller. I've been very active in play calling throughout my career on offense and kicking game. On defense, I'm not. I'm going to hire the best defensive coaches. I think something I've done halfway decent is I know what it's supposed to look like and feel like and the fundamentals, but schematically the NFL is different. The one thing about offensive football is you find weaknesses. The difference in the NFL is they're all the best players in America, so it's hard to find those weaknesses. To answer your question, you can't put one above the other. The minute the guru or the person that's an exceptional coach or exceptional strategy person that doesn't put emphasis on culture or leadership, talent acquisition, they usually fail because that strategy is a big part of who you have obviously doing it. But then there's also people that will actually win games because of strategy. It's hard to say which one's more important."

MEYER: (On retaining members of the current coaching staff) "That's what's going on right now. I've actually been going through [that]. This a deep, deep dive into this. I know all coaches say that. The next week will be a critical time for the Jaguars organization."

MEYER: (On considering the move from college to the NFL) "Ten years ago I would say I started getting some phone calls and it made you wonder, and it made you think. I've had some very good friends in the National Football League that I would sit down and have very confidential conversations with, coaches, even some GMs about just what it's like. Then the most important people are the players, and that didn't start until this past year, probably around December. It was about a six-month journey that I went on and had very in-depth, detailed conversations with some of the players. I've always considered it, always thought about it, but not until the last 12, 13 months now has it been a [real consideration]. I just want to be educated. I spent a lot of time this year on the salary cap, [understanding] roster management. I just want to be very well educated and it's something that is obviously going to be critical to our success."

MEYER: (On updating the facilities and other aspects that make a successful organization) "I believe everything is. There's one way that people who work for me, with me, they'll hear a statement, it's just the best of the best. If it's not, then the question is why? That's the same thing I'm doing every time I walk through everywhere. We did that at Ohio State. We did that at Florida. It's just the very best. If it's not, especially when you start talking about player welfare and safety and then just the players and if it's not the very best, let's have a chat and do what's very best. The Jacksonville players are going to get pushed. In return, we give them the very best, that includes the coaching staff, number one the coaching staff. Does a big hot tub have that much of a difference? I didn't say that, but I just want to make sure it's the best of the best. Shad is very committed to that, as well as this organization. That's something that it's hard for me to answer right now, but I think within months you might see or hear things that we're doing the very best we can for our players."

MEYER: (On what changed with his health to make him comfortable to return to coaching) "[There's] not too much to share, to be honest with you. It's well documented what happened in '14 and then '17 and '18. I'm very curious about the preventative [measures I can take] and that's what I've looked into in great detail. I'm talking about the headache issue I've dealt with. That's something that I'm going to watch closely. I've had long detailed conversations with people that helped me through that, the physicians that are very close to me."

MEYER: (On his study of the Jaguars roster) "I've done a lot of research on several rosters throughout the season and really more than the Jaguars, just the NFL in general. It'd be hard for me right now to give you an assessment that'd be fair to the most important people, the players. That's ongoing. This situation only materialized recently, so I've not had a chance to do that as we speak. I'm trying to discipline my time right now and I'm finding most of my time is on staff, so it's at the right time. A bunch of players have reached out. I've had great conversations with some of them already. I look forward to talking to as many as I can, but the focus right now is on that staff."

KHAN:(On his conversation with future Head Coach Urban Meyer at the Super Bowl last year) "For me, I was really impressed obviously, as Urban said. I've watched him coach Ohio State against Illinois many, many times and I've admired him for a long time from a distance. The Super Bowl conversation was very insightful, the analysis he had done on winning organizations in the NFL and even college organizations. Really, last Monday when the opportunity came, he was one of the people I kind of reached out [to]. I think the more important thing was, I think it's been addressed, his health, but really the commitment, the fire in the belly. He's achieved a lot in college coaching. I'm sensitive to the legacy he has, and this is a very different challenge. I was just absolutely blown away [with] how he can help us and really reinvigorate the Jacksonville Jaguars. I'm obviously delighted he's here today."

MEYER:(On conversations with his family) "We had a zoom call the other day. We've had deep conversations and they're all in. They all got their Jaguar T-shirts in. They're all grown now, so that's the biggest difference. To me, that's a huge difference that you're not missing as much. The difference is I have two grandkids that I plan to shuttle back and forth as much as I can because that's very important to me, but for the better part of my marriage is that's essential. They're all in. They're all Duval now."

MEYER:(On winning back the Jaguar fan base) "I think it has something to do with, I'm not sure I said this earlier, but I talked to Shad about this, it might be a little high school-ish, I get that, but when they see the Jaguar emblem, you better have ownership and you better love it. If not, it's my job to eliminate those people from this organization and I take that very seriously. I've taken that [seriously] when I was a Florida Gator coach. When you talk about the gator head, if you go back in memory lane, I actually took it away from the players and staff. You don't always blame the players. I hear that. You guys know that. I don't blame players. I blame coaches before players. This city of Jacksonville, when they see that Jaguar emblem, there's a sense of pride and let's go man, let's go. I can see a fast team. I see people who care deeply about that organization. The two things I always talk about that inspire or are part of inspiration are love and ownership. I want you to own it and if you don't want to do that then you can't be here. Own that emblem."

KHAN:(On the longevity of the franchise and the staff) "I think actions speak louder than words. I've been there nine years. We've not won but it's not because of lack of effort. I think where we are today, I think it's positioning us to win in the future. That's what everyone wants. We have a great game day experience. I think we have a great fanbase. We need to deliver winning."