Urban Meyer could have avoided all the drama with the Jaguars if he had followed some advice from … Urban Meyer.
Let’s hit the rewind button. More than a year ago, Meyer was a college football analyst for Fox Sports. With some big shows struggling early in the 2020 season, “Big Noon Kickoff” host Rob Stone featured a segment where the panel “went under the hood” and discussed some of the issues at Michigan and Penn State.
Meyer described the concept of “control under the hood” in great detail, explaining that his teams have struggled in the past for one of three reasons. Fox Sports showed a graph with those three reasons, and little did Meyer know, a meme was born.
That image was shared during Meyer’s disastrous tenure with the Jaguars, but it really exploded after the 57-year-old was fired on Thursday. Meyer compiled a 2-11 overall record at Jacksonville, but what ultimately cost him his job was the amount of dysfunction he accumulated in just a few short months.
Looking back, he checked each box on his own list.
The origin of the Urban Meyer meme
Here’s the original Fox Sports segment from November 2020:
Breaking down the ‘Urban Meyer Exam Criteria for Troubled Teams’
Meyer hits a home run right at the start of the segment.
“A lot of us are excuse-makers,” Meyer said. “That’s part of who we are, and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Before Jaguars owner Shad Khan made the firing official, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that Meyer’s “repeated public comments blaming players and coaches” only added to the frustration with his “aggressive and sometimes patronizing approach.” Overcome it!
“When you see a team fight, the first thing the fans and the media blame is the players, or they blame the coaches. It’s never more apparent than in the NFL,” Meyer said. “I always laugh every week when I hear someone say, ‘Well, they have bad players in the NFL, a team that always has problems.” I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute, think about what you just said.’ There is no bad player in the NFL, they are NFL players. [It’s the] the same with a coach. You can’t say, ‘Well, he’s a bad coach.’
“Now maybe they aren’t training well, or maybe the player isn’t playing well, but that’s where I always say, ‘Get up under the hood.’ Never make excuses. When I was a coach, I never let one of my coaches say, “He’s a bad player.” I would warn them. I’d say, ‘Say it again, you probably have to go because you’re making excuses. Now dig deeper and find out why. ‘”
Never make excuses, unless your team sucks. Then call your assistants “losers” and force them to defend themselves in a staff meeting. Clearly, you are not the problem here.
“Every time I’ve had a team fight, every time, it has fallen [into] one of three categories. No. 1: There is a trust issue, “Meyer said.” Players don’t trust the coach. Coaches don’t trust players, or [it’s] horrible when players don’t trust each other. “
It seems fair to say that this was a “players don’t trust the coach” situation. A recent example: James Robinson, one of the Jaguars’ top offensive weapons, admitted that he didn’t understand his substitution pattern during the Week 13 loss to the Rams. Meyer reportedly ordered Robinson to bench, and the running back only came back after rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence asked him about his status.
“No. 2: Really think about it, it’s called a dysfunctional work environment, and that’s [where] The expectations [are] very high, but we don’t work hard, “Meyer said.” The coach has to be very clear with his team [and] say, ‘Wait a minute.’ That will lead to frustration, anger, disappointment because we want to win a championship. I have news, guys. We are not working hard, so drop expectations. The work ethic must exceed or match your expectations. That’s a good atmosphere. “
Ol ‘Urban crushed this. He hired Chris Doyle, whose Iowa tenure ended amid accusations of racism and bullying, as the team’s director of athletic performance. (Doyle resigned shortly after being hired because he “didn’t want to be a distraction.”) He hired Tim Tebow to compete for a tight end roster spot even though he had never played that spot. He was seen in a viral video dancing with a young woman, who was not his wife, in an Ohio bar. (He later apologized and called his actions “just stupid”). He allegedly kicked his own kicker. The list goes on.
“And the last one is very obvious. You have a selfish team, man. You have problems on your team,” Meyer said. “Soccer is a selfless sport. That means you have to do the unpleasant. That means, [if] I’m a running back, I have to go protect my quarterback. You can’t always carry the ball. Sometimes you have to kick off at 22 miles per hour and launch yourself towards someone coming 15 miles per hour in the opposite direction. That is not funny. Why would you do that? Because you love your team and your teammates. “
Yes, it’s fair to say that much of Meyer’s behavior would qualify as selfish. Three times three!
“So when you hear LSU, Penn State, the Wolverines fighting, stop with the bad players. I get tired of hearing that. It’s not the players. I don’t think it’s the coaches,” Meyer said. “There is something wrong. Raise the hood, [and you’ll] discover that one of those three things is usually the reason. “
Well, the Jaguars raised the hood and determined that it was actually the coach this time. If only Meyer could have somehow read his own manual.