Urban Meyer says Jags job was 'worst experience I’ve had in my professional lifetime'
The Urban Meyer debacle was one of the biggest stories of the NFL season. Now, for the first time since he was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars back in December, he's talking about his experience.
In an interview with Dan Dakich on "Don't @ Me with Dan Dakich," Meyer outlined the differences between college football and the NFL, differences that surprised him as a first-time NFL head coach.
“I’ll tell you, Dan, it is a lot different," Meyer said via Jags Wire. "It is different. Just the amount of time you get with your quarterback. Just the amount of time you get with your team. The roster management. How you practice.
“You know, the amount of reps you get before you go play a game, to me, was shockingly low. For example, we would practice, you maybe get one or two reps at something, next thing you know you’re calling it in the game. In college, you never do that. In college, you’re gonna get at least a dozen opportunities to practice that before you ask a player to go do it in the game. So there are a lot of differences.”
It seems that Meyer wasn't prepared for the speed of the NFL. He was used to having to work his college players a lot, which is just not how it goes in the pros. NFL players, who are paid to perform at the highest levels, are expected to learn quickly.
Meyer also mentioned that how he spent his time as a coach is vastly different in the NFL than it is in college.
“Used to be in college, the reality is you spend 75 percent of your time recruiting,” said Meyer. “In professional football, there’s no recruiting. So it’s all scheme and it’s all roster management. You’re getting guys rolling in on your organization on a Tuesday and they’re gonna play for you on a Sunday. So there is some obvious differences to the two games."
'It eats away at your soul'
Coming from Ohio State, Meyer wasn't used to losing football games. He told Dakich that losing 11 out of 13 games was extremely difficult for him to deal with.
“It was the worst experience I’ve had in my professional lifetime,” Meyer said. “What really got me, I almost don’t want to say people accept it, I mean, you lose a game, and you just keep … I would seriously have self-talk. I went through that whole depression thing, too, where I’d stare at the ceilings and [think], ‘Are we doing everything possible?’ because I really believed we had a roster that was good enough to win games. I just don’t think we did a great job.
“It eats away at your soul. I tried to train myself to say, ‘Okay, it happens in the NFL. At one point, the Jaguars lost 20 in a row. Think about that. Twenty games where you’re leaving the field where you lost. And we lost five in a row at one point and I remember I … just couldn’t function. I was trying to rally myself up, I was in charge of the team, obviously, and then we won two out of three, and I really felt like we flipped that thing."
There were good moments, and at one point in the season, Meyer felt like the Jags were really building momentum. Unfortunately, it didn't last.
“You know, our defense was playing excellent. At one point our defense was No. 1 in the league. We held Josh Allen to six points. Two field goals. And playing high-level football. Offense, we were really coming, and then quit scoring points. We just really struggled offensively and that’s when we went on another losing streak … I really struggled with that.”
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