The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Urban Meyer experiment in Jacksonville is going horribly wrong and needs to end

The Urban Meyer experiment in Jacksonville is going horribly wrong and needs to end

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 30: Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer looks at the scoreboard during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals on September 30, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Urban Meyer is now 0-4 as an NFL head coach, and it’s so bad his team even lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars! Why has it gone so wrong? That’s simple in college, a bull shit artist like Meyer works with teenagers, and he controls their future. In the NFL, he is coaching adults that see right through his B.S.! There are also no Eastern Michigan’s on the schedule; everybody in the NFL is a great player. After losing to Denver, Meyer told the Broncos that the NFL was like playing Alabama every week; what exactly did Meyer expect? Meyer is one of those fake evangelists that you hate. He walks around like a goody-two-shoes, and all along, his past shows that he is anything but that.

Urban as a Gator

Meyer took the job in Gainesville, promising to follow Steve Spurrier’s example of winning with integrity, building a culture on and off the field that would make Florida alumni proud. So from the very start, this was nothing but B.S. from Meyer, who has never run a program like that anywhere.

At an early Gator Club meeting with all of the prominent boosters, Meyer addressed the difficulty of being admitted to the University of Florida. Meyer noted he’d sell Florida as being “in the top one percent of academics,” then put it over the top on the B.s. meter, he added that he would target “the top one percent of people.” What Florida wanted, Meyer said, was “the top one percent of the top one percent.” All B.S. But Meyer is nothing but talk; the ends justify the means.

By 2008 when the Gators won the National Championship, the culture at Florida that 41 of the 121 players had been arrested, we are talking everything from simple misdemeanors to capital murder! So that’s the top one percent?

Meyer even conceded after departing Florida that the prevailing culture was rampant drug use, preferential treatment for star players, and an overall sense of entitlement. Meyer is a coach that is so consumed with winning that he will do it at all costs. Meyer did not care about his players. He only cared about winning games, and that’s sad when you consider he was bringing 18-year-old kids to Florida and promising their parents that he would take care of them.

Why Urban left Florida

This one is simple, and it’s not the actual reason he used health problems; the real reason is that Tim Tebow graduated, and he didn’t want to build the program back up and possibly have a down year or two. Meyer gets his self-worth from winning football games, and that’s just the truth. His ego could not stand a lousy year or two. So he said it was because of health issues, and he also said it was to spend more time with his family and all of that was typical B.S. from Urban.

The Ohio State comeback

His efforts to rebuild his image were showing up at all of his kid’s games in the ensuing year and telling everybody that he was re-centering himself and finding out what was important in life. Of course, reporters and fans wanted to believe him, but that would prove to be more Meyer B.S.

Over the next six years, it seemed that Meyer had indeed changed; he seemed more relaxed and less reflective. The media even touted him as being changed, and he was winning a lot.

Then Meyer wrote a book “Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season.” 

He wrote that

“We don’t control the events in life, and we don’t directly control the outcomes. But we always have control over how we choose to respond. How we respond means everything.

“How we respond means everything.”

That came back to bite him in the ass!

In 2015, Meyer was, according to a massive amount of circumstantial evidence presented by the abused woman, afforded the chance to respond to violence against the wife of one of his assistant coaches. This wasn’t just a low-level assistant coach, either. By 2015, Coach Smith had developed into one of Meyer’s top assistants; he was a killer on the recruiting trail and a rising star in the profession. Complicating matters even more, Smith was a young man with whom Meyer has long had a close and special relationship. Smith had been on Meyer’s staff in Florida, and his grandfather, Earle Bruce, is one of Meyer’s self-proclaimed heroes. Bruce was a head coach at Ohio State and was well respected in football circles.

According to McMurphy, however, despite the availability of a first-hand account of the incident and the existence of photographs of a bruised and beaten Courtney Smith, Meyer opted to believe his buddy Coach Smith.

Meyer opted to believe Smith despite knowing of and actively intervening and counseling the couple six years before after a similar domestic violence incident occurred between Smith and his then 24-year-old pregnant wife in Gainesville in 2009. You read that right; Meyer knew of abuse that had been happening since they were in Florida together in 2009!

Meyer responded to an accusation of domestic violence, five years removed from only suspending a Florida player who texted “Time to die” to a woman in Gainesville, by listening to a man’s denial of repeated abuse and asking no more questions. Smith remained on staff through all of this. Meyer did not care how much evidence was presented. He was going to protect his buddy!

Confronted by the violent past of Smith, who had long considered Meyer a father figure, at Big Ten Media Days, Meyer responded with self-righteous indignation. First, he vehemently denied knowledge of the 2015 incident; today, an account called into serious question thanks to the direct evidence that his wife, best friend, and confidante, Shelley Meyer, knew of the allegations.

Maybe Meyer’s wife did not tell him, but that would not be easy to believe especially considering the culture of accountability that Meyer was preaching. For that culture to work, you have to have people around you that are accountable.

Most likely, Meyer just thought the problem would disappear.

In Meyer’s book Above the line, Meyer discusses how problems need to be confronted and not covered up.

“Talk straight and demand accountability. Run toward problems. If you ignore them, they only get worse.” It’s a shame that Meyer never listens to his advice because his advice is accurate. But, unfortunately, he’s not brave enough to follow that advice. Accountability is just words with Meyer and never action.

So the reason to leave Ohio State, in Meyer’s own words, was “That’s everybody’s dream. That’s what happened at Ohio State. At Ohio State, I didn’t have stress-related issues. I had some health-related issues—the Arachnoid [brain] cyst issue I had dealt with. I had surgery in ’14 and some stuff. I worked through that pretty well.”

Meyer seems to have a lot of health issues after being someplace for six years, and I think six years must be about the length of time it takes a college to sniff out his B.S.

The Jacksonville comeback

This has been a mess as expected; Meyer comes unglued when the Jags have lost, even in preseason. One source told me that he comes unglued at a loss and will try to take over drills in the following practice. The experienced NFL coaches are not happy in Jacksonville, and the guys with no NFL experience are having issues with the professional NFL coaches.

Meyer is unequipped mentally and coaching-wise to do this job, and he has rubbed a lot of players the wrong way as he tries to coach the Jaguars like they are a college team.

Why was Meyer hired in the first place? Jaguars owner Shad Khan reportedly sought Meyer as the team’s next coach long before even firing Doug Marrone. The college football legend lacked NFL experience, but Khan believed he would implement a culture to turn the franchise around. Now Khan has to be a wise man, right? So how could he not look at Meyer’s past and realize he had never built a solid culture?

Meyer was given the right to hire whatever assistant coaches he wanted, and his first hire showed his culture was all B.S. Meyer’s first hire was longtime friend Chris Doyle. Doyle, who was let go by Iowa after multiple claims of his racism towards student-athletes, resigned a day later after Meyer faced immediate criticism for hire. Did Meyer think he could get away with this hire? I am sure he did because nobody until the end at Ohio State ever really questioned the legend in college. However, the fact he would hire this guy as a coach shows you how little respect he has for the people around him.

So Meyer was close friends with Coach Smith and Coach Doyle? Hell, doesn’t that raise a red flag right there about how great of a person Meyer is? If you want a solid culture, you need good people around you.

Urban Meyer’s new scandal

Every place else, it took six years before scandals destroyed Meyer; it seems he has decided to blow this one up even quicker. After losing the Bengals, Meyer decided to go to Columbus last Thursday instead of back home with his team. While in Columbus, Meyer was caught on video with a young girl dancing upon him. Meyer never once tried to push the girl away. Is this a standalone fireable offense? No, but when you look at the past six months and his previous coaching stops and add it all together, he should be fired. Instead, he canceled the team meeting on Monday and apologized to each position group instead of one big team meeting. He wasn’t even brave enough to stand before the entire team and apologize for what he did.

Multiple players reported that after he left position groups after his apology that the groups burst into laughter. It’s time to put the Urban Meyer Jaguars experiment to rest, and it needs to be done right away. No doubt it’s a matter of when, not if he gets fired. Unfortunately, another college will probably let him implement his culture again, which is a shame, but it is expected today.

Final Thought

Urban Meyer seems too intelligent to get caught like this, and with what players are saying in Jacksonville, maybe he is looking for a way out?

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