How Urban Meyer’s risky jump to the NFL can succeed somewhere between Nick Saban and Pete Carroll

Urban Meyer is one of the most successful college football coaches of all time.

It’s worth seeing if he can add to that success in the NFL. It’s the valuable decision the Jaguars will make when they come to an agreement with the three-time national championship coach, which is expected to be finalized on Thursday, according to several reports.

Meyer, 56, has the opportunity to prove it at the highest level, although renting is generally seen as a risky move by a franchise that has compiled a 12-36 record over the past three seasons.

Meyer isn’t just a former college football coach – he’s one of the most accomplished in history. He had a .854 winning percentage between four coaching stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. The only FBS coaches with at least 100 wins and a higher winning percentage are Knute Rockne (.881) and Frank Leahy (.864).

Will he be more like Nick Saban or Pete Carroll at the next level? There shouldn’t be any rush to judgment, and it could go both ways.

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Is hiring Urban Meyer too risky?

Start with health issues. Meyer, 56, has retired twice due to health issues at the university, ranging from chest pain to severe headaches. He left Florida after the 2010 season, took a year off, then returned to the state of Ohio. In his last season with the Buckeyes, Meyer was suspended for three games after mismanaging allegations of domestic violence involving former assistant coach Zach Smith. Meyer has spent the past two seasons as an analyst on Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff”, and he’s fantastic in the role.

Meyer, however, has no coaching experience in the NFL. The favorite feeling is that Meyer won’t be able to handle week-to-week failure in the NFL knowing his worst season as a college head coach was an 8-5 with Florida in 2010. .

Meyer’s offense, which usually relies on a power play, is another question. Ohio State averaged more than 200 rushing yards each year under Meyer’s 2012-17 before his final season, in which the Buckeyes averaged 358.7 passing yards and 177 rushing yards. It was with offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who shifted the attack to a model pass first. Given the mesh between the college and professional regimes, questions about Meyer’s offensive won’t be answered until he reaches the Jaguars.

Is there a precedent? Meyer scored 187 victories at the college level. The only coaches with more college wins who have coached in the NFL are Nick Saban (256), Lou Holtz (249) and Steve Spurrier (228).

Saban was 15-17 with the Dolphins from 2005-2006 before taking the job in Alabama. Lou Holtz was 3-10 with the Jets in 1976. Steve Spurrier finished 12-20 with Washington in 2002-03 before returning to coach at college in South Carolina.

Will Meyer follow this path? Or will he follow the three former National Championship coaches in college who won a Super Bowl?

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Urban Meyer can build a winner

Meyer is also a hyper-competitive motivator who has had success with college rosters filled with NFL talent.

Who else did this? Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Pete Carroll. Johnson won a national championship with Miami in 1987 before leading the Cowboys to two Super Bowl championships. Switzer, who won three national championships, also won a Super Bowl with Dallas.

Carroll is the best modern example of a coach who has been successful on both levels. Carroll won two national championships in nine seasons with USC, and he’s just finished an 11th season with the Seahawks, reaching the playoffs in eight of those years. Seattle was 19-29 in all three seasons before Carroll’s arrival.

Seems familiar? It is the best of times for Meyer when trying to build a winner in Jacksonville. It’s possible.

The Jaguars have the No.1 pick, which will likely be used to take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and over $ 75 million in ceiling space. Meyer has gathered lists of five stars in Florida and the state of Ohio, and there are enough former Buckeyes in the NFL to form a team. Meyer should have enough to build a talented roster who can compete in the AFC South. The franchise quarterback is a good start.

There’s a mesh between college and NFL concepts, and it’s worth looking at the coaching staff Meyer is putting together. Keep in mind that former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was considered a huge risk when Arizona hired him in 2019. The Cardinals are 13-18-1 the past two seasons and narrowly missed the playoffs with sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray. Meyer is not comparable to Kingsbury, Chip Kelly, Bobby Petrino or Lane Kiffin in terms of overall success.

Meyer is better than all of these coaches.

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How Urban Meyer can be successful

It’s easy to predict a crash-and-burn scenario here, but it underestimates Meyer’s track record of success and his ability to motivate players.

It is about the relationship between Meyer and the owner of Jacksonville, Shahid Khan. Patience will be required on both sides as the Jaguars have just finished a 1-15 season. The Jaguars had their most successful stint in franchise history from 1996 to 1999 with Tom Coughlin, who rose from Boston College to the pros. It will take ego controls on both sides over the next few seasons or it will never work.

Saban, Spurrier and Holtz competed with their respective ownership in the NFL. The same was true for Johnson and Switzer. Carroll is the best example of a coach who thrived to the next level with his owners. Meyer should follow this example and use the connections he made through the college game.

The Ohio State NFL pipeline has helped Meyer develop relationships with NFL coaches, and he has undoubtedly spent the past two years learning from other coaches. Meyer’s name was tied to USC and Texas for the past two seasons, and those jobs never materialized. However, it was the opportunity he had been waiting for from the start. You could also argue that he faces less overall pressure to succeed in Jacksonville than he did at two national championship or bust programs at the college level.

Will Meyer be more like Saban or Carroll on the next level? It looks like something in between at first.

At least Jacksonville is worth a visit.

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