It all comes down to this.
For Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, this Sunday against the Houston Texans will begin his quest into the grand ocean that is the National Football League. After spending over two decades strolling the collegiate sidelines he’s now taken his talents to the professional level, ready to take on his next challenge as head coach of the Jaguars.
On Sunday, Meyer’s journey will officially take place as the regular season kicks off for Jacksonville in Houston against the division-rival Texans.
Meyer has been a part of many season openings during his time coaching, but this one, this time is a bit different and he’s excited, he told Jaguars reporters on Monday during his Week 1 opening press conference.
“This is right near the top,” Meyer explained, comparing the opening to Ohio State and Florida, his former stomping grounds, “because I don’t remember ever coming out of the chute where the talent is equated across the board and you have a young quarterback so yeah it is a lot going on but I like where we are at.”
The Jaguars are heading into a year with a lot of newness surrounding the organization. Not only is the head coach and coaching staff brand new, but the team’s starting quarterback will be new too. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence will start for the Jaguars, becoming the first rookie QB to start for the team in Week 1 of the regular season in its history.
It’s the little things that Meyer is concerned about this week, though. For most NFL head coaches deciding who will not be active on game day is trivial at this point. For Meyer, that’s something that he is still wrapping his head around, and is anxious about as the season inches closer.
“That is all new to me. As far as game management, I feel very good about it. I feel very good about our coaching staff and most importantly I feel good about the locker room which may be the most important thing in any organization.”
The ins and outs of a football game in the NFL will come to Meyer in time. Of course, the preseason helped with his expectations of how the games are run, and getting that real-time, in-person action will ease the anxiety of starting the season.
The on-field work, however, is something that Meyer is intimately familiar with, having been one of the best to ever do it at the collegiate level. Implementing the offense he wants to see with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is something that he’s looking forward to, surrounding Lawrence.
The missing element from the preseason that Meyer has lamented about for weeks now? Speed. That’s why the team went out and claimed former Los Angeles Chargers receiver Tyron Johnson, a player that possesses the elite speed Meyer wants to see in his offense.
“This Tyron [Johnson] guy can really run so until we get Phillip [Dorsett II] back — running an offense without exceptional speed outside — I don’t know that offense, I don’t want to know that offense and I don’t want anything to do with that offense, so we have to have speed.”
That’s just one of the elements of the offense that Meyer will be looking forward to against Houston. As for his team? The Jaguars head coach says it's ready. With a few days off for Labor Day weekend, the Jaguars were back in action on the practice field on Monday.
The only player set to not take part in the matchup due to injury is cornerback Tre Herndon, the rest are good to go, including all five starters on the offensive line.
For now, Meyer looks forward to going on the trip to Houston, ready to take on the next challenge in his head coaching career, just at the next level. He’s not nervous yet, but he will get there, he said.
“I will get there — all coaches get there and if they tell you they are not then they are probably not being truthful with you,” he said.
“I am one of those people, if you remember, it’s every T crossed, every I dotted and every tip sheet ‘why didn’t we dot the I on this tip sheet’ so instead of players, I drive coaches crazy. I just want to make sure those players have a shot.”
They’ll have their shot at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.