Urban Meyer and the Jaguars are in advanced talks as the two sides look to finalize a deal that would make Meyer the team's new head coach, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has confirmed. A significant part of the negotiation has been over a facilitates upgrade and staffing, according to Albert Breer of The Monday Morning Quarterback.
The two sides reportedly met on Wednesday, five days after Meyer met with Jaguars owner Shad Khan on Khan's boat in Florida. Shortly after Meyer's first meeting with Khan, La Canfora reported that the longtime college football coach was the frontrunner to become the Jaguars' next coach.
The 56-year-old Meyer has never coached in the professional level. A defensive back at the University of Cincinnati, Meyer broke in at the high school ranks in 1985 before spending two years as a graduate student at Ohio State. He spent the next 15 years as a college assistant before becoming Bowling Green's head coach in 2001. He spent two years there before helping Utah (also led by quarterback Alex Smith) finish with a 12-0 record in 2004. Meyer then moved to Florida, where he helped the Gators win the national championship in 2006 and in 2008.
After a one-year hiatus, Meyer become Ohio State's coach in the fall of 2011. In seven years in Columbus, Meyer led Ohio State to an 83-9 record, the 2014 national title and another College Football Playoff appearance in 2016. Meyer announced his retirement from Ohio State prior to Ohio State's Rose Bowl win over Washington on January 1, 2019. Meyer has spent the past two years as a college football commentator.
During his 17 years as a college head coach, Meyer's success was rivaled only by Alabama's Nick Saban and Clemson's Dabo Swinney. Meyer won 85.4% of his games during that span, the third-best winning percentage in FBS history. One of just three coaches to win a national title at two different schools, Meyer is the only coach in major college history to have four win streaks of at least 20 games.
As the Jaguars' coach, Meyer would share a division with Titans coach Mike Vrabel, who served as a defensive assistant on Meyer's staff at Ohio State from 2011-13. Vrabel has often credited Meyer for his success as a coach following a successful 14-year career as an NFL linebacker. Vrabel is grateful that Meyer gave him a second chance after calling their initial interview in 2011 "brutal" and "awful."
"I called him before every interview I've ever gone into," Vrabel said of Meyer in 2018, via Eleven Warriors. "I said, 'No interview will ever be worse than that one,' and I realized that you better be prepared and you better not take things for granted. So I appreciate that, and that's one of the reasons that's helped me get to where I am today."
Despite a 1-15 record in 2020, the Jaguars have some positive things Meyer should be able to build upon. The Jaguars have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, a pick many expect will be spent on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars' current roster includes several promising players that includes running back James Robinson, receivers Laviska Shanault Jr., D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder, tackle Jawaan Taylor, defensive linemen K'Lavon Chaisson and DaVon Hamilton (who played for Meyer at Ohio State) linebackers Josh Allen, Joe Schobert and Myles Jack, and cornerback C.J. Henderson.
Meyer would look to follow in Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's footsteps as a longtime college coach who has had success in the NFL. Other notable college coaches who had success in the NFL include 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Johnson and Dick Vermeil. The first coach to win a national championship and a Super Bowl, Johnson needed just three years to turn a 1-15 Cowboys team into back-to-back champions. Vermeil, after leading UCLA to a Rose Bowl win over Woody Hayes and the Ohio State Buckeyes, guided the Eagles to their first NFC title before leading the Rams to their first Super Bowl win.