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Did Urban Meyer Only Hire “Losers?” An Investigation

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Yesterday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network treated us to more details of the very bad work environment that is Urban Meyer’s 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. The story included a bullet point list of three tense moments from the past two weeks. Here’s Item No. 2: 

During a staff meeting, Meyer delivered a biting message that he's a winner and his assistant coaches are losers, according to several people informed of the contents of the meeting, challenging each coach individually to explain when they've ever won and forcing them to defend their résumés.

This is simply incredible leadership. When an NFL head coach is hired, in most cases, they have complete autonomy when it comes to hiring their coaching staff. There’s very little oversight from ownership and the coach gets to pick exactly who they want on their staff (which is how he was able to hire a strength coach who had very recently resigned for being racist). Meyer is the one who hired this big bunch of pathetic losers, and now he’s blaming them?

Meyer has won three college football national titles, two with Florida and one with Ohio State. He has too many Coach of the Year/Decade titles to count. Meyer may not know this, but according to my count, he has three coaches on his staff who have won the Super Bowl either as a coach or a player and he has seven coaches on his staff who have won the college football national title as either a coach or a player. I can’t stop imagining how this defend-your-résumé scene played out inside the Jaguars facility, with assistant coaches shouting their big and small victories back at Meyer as he checks the achievement against his own. Oh yeah, you've never even heard of the Super Bowl!

So just how many winners does Meyer have on his staff? Defector decided to help these poor Jacksonville coaches defend their résumés. (This is not a complete list of the coaching staff; there are a handful of coaches who do not appear to have won anything, and may, in fact, be losers).

Charlie Strong, assistant head coach and inside linebackers

Did Meyer forget that Strong was on his own Florida staff that won the 2006 and 2008 national championship? Maybe he’s only looking for big head coaching wins? As the head coach of Louisville, Strong beat Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, 33–23. Strong’s team entered the game as 14.5-point underdogs, making the upset win the biggest the BCS had ever seen. His job last year before coming to Jacksonville was as a defensive assistant at Alabama. That team won the national championship.

Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator 

Before his infamous decision to get cute at the goal line, Bevell won Super Bowl XLVIII as the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator. After the team drafted Russell Wilson in the third round, Pete Carroll said, “It was Bevell's project.” Scouting and convincing your team to take a chance on a short quarterback is a big win in my book. Also, Bevell won his first game as an interim head coach stepping in for the Lions after Patricia was fired last season. That team was in really, really bad shape, so that feels like a big win to me. As a college quarterback at Wisconsin, Bevell beat the Bruins in the 1994 Rose Bowl, the school’s first-ever Rose Bowl win. 

Nick Sorensen, special teams coordinator 

Won Super Bowl XLVIII as Seattle’s assistant special teams coach. 

Brian Schottenheimer, passing game coordinator 

Schottenheimer has not won it all in the NFL yet, but he did win the 1996 national championship while backing up Heisman-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel at Florida. As a high school senior at Blue Valley High School in Stilwell, Kansas, Schottenheimer won the 1991 Kansas 5A state football championship. He was also named all-state first-team and All-America honorable mention. That’s a winner. 

Quinton Gaither, offensive quality control

Let’s refresh Meyer’s memory here, since it’s been a few years. Gaither was a running back for Meyer’s 2004 Utah team that went undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl. 

Sanjay Lal, wide receivers

Lal was a wide receiver on the University of Washington's 1992 National Championship team and he played on two Rose Bowl-winning teams.

Bernie Parmalee, running backs

The MAC Freshman of the year (1987), he finished his collegiate career as the all-time leading rusher in Ball State history with 3,483 rushing yards and 26 TDs.

Todd Washington, assistant offensive line

Washington was the assistant offensive line coach in Baltimore when the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl XXXVII-winning team. A Super Bowl title as a player and a coach: two things Meyer has not done.

Chris Ash, safeties 

Ash was Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator when the Buckeyes won the 2014 National Championship.

Joe Danna, nickel

As a wide receiver at Central Michigan, Danna was Scholar Athlete of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, First-Team Mid-American Academic recognition, and he won the team’s Leadership and Motivation Award. Danna was also assistant DBs coach for the last successful Jaguars team: the 2017 Jaguars who won the AFC South. 

Tosh Lupoi, defensive line

Lupoi won two national titles with Alabama as their OLBs coach and then co-defensive coordinator. 

Patrick Reilly, defensive quality control

Reilly came to Jacksonville fresh off a national title as a defensive analyst at Alabama.

Tim Walton, cornerbacks

Walton won the 2003 national title as LSU’s defensive backs coach. As a defensive back at Ohio State University, Walton was a co-captain for the 1993 Big Ten champion team.

Carlos Polk, assistant special teams

Inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2010. 

So there you have it. The résumés hold up! Defector has no choice but to declare this staff a strong group of winners. May Meyer never doubt their collective winnability again.

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