Urban Meyer has brought infusion of energy as Jaguars shift into new era

Jaguars coach and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer talks with Eagles assistant Brian Johnson during an NFL Pro Day at Ohio State University on Tuesday. (AP photo/Paul Vernon)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 2020 season was awful for the Jaguars. It will be remembered as the worst year on the field in franchise history. Jacksonville lost 15 consecutive games and was, again, a punchline across the league.

But that misery had a silver lining.

For the first time in franchise history, the Jaguars own the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. That they will likely use that on Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, their new franchise quarterback. That pick is also part of what helped the Jaguars land Urban Meyer as their new head coach.

Since Meyer took over the Jaguars last January, fans have been buzzing. Season ticket sales have been through the roof. The atmosphere around the franchise has shifted. There’s more national media attention on Jacksonville than during any time in recent memory. Owner Shad Khan uses buzzwords like “hope” and “optimism.”

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Meyer hasn’t coached a game for the Jaguars, but he has already been able to change the way the team is viewed by many. As Meyer enters his first draft in his NFL career, he knows what’s at stake. But the foundation that’s already been laid just feels different to players.

That includes Jaguars pass rusher Josh Allen, who told ESPN’s Mike Dirocco that he feels “rejuvenated.”

“It’s just I feel like I really haven’t felt this passion and this drive [since] I first got here. When I first got here, I was all in. I was ready. And then stepping back to this year, man, it’s just another … rejuvenation.”

Allen isn’t the only Jaguars player who feels that way. The addition of Meyer played a big role in why some players chose to sign with the team in free agency.

Running back Carlos Hyde played under Meyer at Ohio State and said that he couldn’t wait to play for him in the NFL.

“Once I saw Coach Meyer become the head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, I already knew where I was going,” he said.

Defensive tackle Jihad Ward echoed those sentiments.

“When I heard about [Head Coach] Urban Meyer as being the head coach, I thought I don’t know what’s going on, but I want to be around [him],” he said.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.