I’m so old that I can remember when it was possible to believe that Urban Meyer wouldn’t duck and run at the first sign of trouble.
On a beautiful afternoon of football in the 1990s, Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick insisted at the end of training that I meet a brilliant young assistant on his team. This top trainer was 30 years old at the time. In our first conversation, he looked fit enough to play the Rams’ defensive back, but seemed charismatic and smart enough to lead his own team.
This guy is destined to be a big star in the coaching profession, Lubick told me, out of earshot of Meyer.
Well, Lubick got it right with that prediction.
Meyer won 187 games and three national championships as a college football coach before moving to the NFL, signing earlier in the year to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite all his success, Meyer has forged a reputation for a tormented soul whose obsession with winning has serious consequences for his health.
Although he made Florida a powerhouse in the incredibly competitive Southeastern Conference, more than 30 players were arrested during his six-year tenure with the Gators, and his departure from Gainesville left me with me. ask if Meyer was more concerned with his physical well-being or a tarnished reputation.
Meyer enjoys earning more than his health. Shortly after leaving the Gators, he was roaming the sideline for Ohio State.
In early 2019, Meyer retired from the stress of training after leading the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl in a season in which he was suspended three games for mishandling allegations of domestic violence. by one of his assistant coaches.
“I don’t think I will be a coach anymore,” said Meyer as he decided to leave Columbus.
But money speaks louder than words. Meyer cannot quit football.
Her short stay in Jacksonville was not a day at the beach. Meyer turned the Jaguars into a circus of clowns.
Calliope music began when Tim Tebow was tricked into giving the failed NFL quarterback a chance to play on the tight end. The Jags were fined $ 200,000 and Meyer were fined $ 100,000 for breaking the league’s no-contact rules during spring training. Despite the presence of No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville was routed by the Houston Texans in his first game of the season.
This Jaguar team is in trouble. But Meyer won’t talk anything with reporters in Denver this week, dismissing a long-standing NFL tradition of participating in a conference call with members of the media covering the next opponent.
“Rip me up,” Amy Palcic explained in a tweet, Jaguar Communications veep, explaining that the decision to make Meyer unavailable was her appeal. “I understand that we live in a world where people must be outraged by something.”
No outrage here. But laugh? You bet.
There are topics I would like to discuss with Meyer:
Is former CU wide receiver Laviska Shenault the passing target Lawrence needs to thrive?
What made Meyer think Steve Addazio could be a good CSU Rams coach?
And has Meyer checked for soaring real estate prices in the greater Los Angeles area?
These might be too hard questions for a 57-year-old to answer.
What Meyer discovered in Jacksonville is the same hard lesson Lou Holtz and Nick Saban learned before him. The job of coaching adult men in the NFL is not a dictatorship. This not only takes more tact than effort in training, but also the realization that a professional successful coach is there to serve the best interests of his players, not the other way around.
After losing his NFL coaching debut, Meyer told reporters covering the Jaguars: “I’ve been warned for a long time that this is a marathon, not a sprint, so calm down and relax… not relax, but forward, soldier. Come on. ”
Meyer is not a model. In a profession of dog eater, he watches for No.1.
While some insane pride may stubbornly make him believe he can conquer the NFL, this is a college campus that Meyer belongs to.
I’ve heard that my old friend Mike Bohn, now USC athletic director, has a vacancy in a legendary soccer program that has won 11 national championships and produced half a dozen Heisman Trophy winners, including Marcus Allen and OJ Simpson.
“I want to be exceptionally clear: our university and its leaders are determined to win national championships and restore USC football to glory,” Bohn said after firing Clay Helton when the Trojans were routed by Stanford. “This decision represents our next step towards this goal in what has been a thoughtful and strategic process of building a comprehensive football organization equivalent to the leading programs in the modern landscape. I accept the enormous responsibility I have towards our current and former players and the entire Trojan family to live up to our incredible heritage.
Meyer is the USC Worker. USC is Meyer’s job.
I just hope Meyer gives an inkblot wretch like me five minutes of his precious time when the CU Buffs travel to an Los Angeles game against the Trojans in 2022.
Is it too much to ask?