Urban Meyer’s first-ever stint as an NFL coach is barely underway, but it appears he’s already feeling some of the pressure in adjusting.
FOX Sports NFL analyst Jimmy Johnson — who knows a thing or two about coaching at both the college and professional level — touched on the modifications Meyer is dealing with.
“There’s not a world of difference, there’s a galaxy of difference,” Johnson said via Zoom on Wednesday, via USA Today.
Johnson made the jump from coaching collegiate football to the pros back in 1989 when he left the University of Miami for the Dallas Cowboys, who he led to back-to-back Super Bowl wins just a few years later.
Despite his past success, Johnson admitted there is still a learning curve when making the jump, especially when it comes to the new player-coach dynamic.
“As a college coach, I was a mentor, I was kind of a father figure, I did a tremendous amount of counseling with the players,” Johnson detailed. “So my relationship with the players was a heckuva lot different than professional players, who are really – they’re dictated by financial reasons, it’s a business, their agents are influencing them – so it’s a completely different relationship.”
Johnson, who has spent time with Meyer off the field, said the new Jags coach is “frustrated” he can’t spend more time with players due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. (The Jaguars were one of three teams fined earlier this month for violating the league’s no-contract rules during OTAs. Jacksonville received the heftiest fine of the three, with the team being docked $200,000 and Meyer $100,000.)
Expectations for Meyer to turn the Jags around are also quite high, given his 85.4 winning percentage is the third-best in NCAA Division I history. Through 17 seasons, Meyer registered a 187-32 college coaching record and never had a losing season. He went 12-3 in bowl games and won three national championships — one with the Florida Gators and two with the Ohio State Buckeyes.