Urban Meyer’s Talent Evaluation Skills Take Another L | Former NFL Coach Thought All-Pro Joe Burrow Was “D2 quarterback At Best” Entering College

Urban Meyer’s greatness as a college coach is undeniable, but his coaching style may be viewed as over the top with the new generation of players. He has led two different historic college programs to national titles but failed in his lone season as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.

Before he failed in the NFL, Meyer helped rebuild the Buckeyes program after a controversial end to the Jim Tressel era. He took over in 2011 when Tressel stepped down amid an investigation of giving improper benefits to his players.

Urban Meyer on the sidelines of the 2023 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl; Joe Burrow sitting ringside at UFC 287 fight. (Photos: Getty Images)

Meyer led the Buckeyes to the 2014 college football national championship and coached plenty of first-round talent along the way, including Joe Burrow. Now there are reports that Meyer’s tactics might have played a bigger role than the QB’s position on the depth chart in Burrow transferring to LSU in 2018.


Burrow was a four-star recruit in 2015 coming out of Athens High School in Plains, Ohio, according to 247. He constantly had to battle with quarterbacks such as J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Dwayne Haskins while with the Buckeyes. He also had to battle with a coach that sometimes crossed the line when critiquing his mistakes.

It was reported that Meyer told Burrow he would be a “D2 quarterback at best” during a film session. It is not all that surprising because any high school, collegiate, or professional football player would tell you that film session is the worst. Coaches strategically point out bad plays from players to make it a teachable lesson on what not to do, but sometimes the lessons turn into ridicule. It seems like this is what happened to Burrow quite a few times while he was at Ohio State.

It also was revealed that Meyer would be often critical of Burrow’s arm talent. It was reported that he said “you throw like a girl” to him during a practice session. Burrow explained how he used that motivation to help lead the Tigers to the 2019 national title and win the Heisman Trophy.

“Yeah, coach Meyer, when he gets a new quarterback there as a freshman, he kind of pokes and prods them to see what they can take and then if they can go out and execute while he’s back there yelling at them, so he kind of mimics environments you’re going to see on the road. So he wants to see if their quarterbacks can handle it, so he would be back there yelling at me saying, ‘You’re a D-II quarterback, you can’t throw,’ and just see if you can handle it as a quarterback,” Burrow told reporters during the 2019 college football season.

Meyer’s Motivation Gone Overboard

Meyer’s motivational tactics may have helped him win on the college level but didn’t work in the NFL. He tried one of his outdated motivational tactics on former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo and it backfired.

Lambo was off to a slow start in 2021 NFL preseason, missing his only two field-goal attempts in their first two preseason games and Meyer thought he could get him going. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Lambo alleged that Meyer kicked him in the leg and ridicule him in front of everyone as the team stretched before a practice.

He said Meyer approached him by not calling him by his name but by his position like he often does.

“It was ‘Kicker, Punter, Long snapper,’ ” Lambo said to Tampa Bay Times. “Or S–tbag, Dips–t or whatever the hell it was.”

He continued, “I’m in a lunge position. Left leg forward, right leg back. Urban Meyer, while I’m in that stretch position, comes up to me and says, ‘Hey Dips–t, make your f–king kicks!’ And kicks me in the leg.”

Lambo explained that the abuse continued the next day in the team facility as he was getting breakfast.

“He sees me and I’m by myself and he kind of cornered me and comes up to me and says, ‘Are you going to put a smile on that face?’” Lambo said. “I said, ‘I’ll smile if you’ll stop kicking me.’”

Lambo was released after three games into the regular season, and Meyer was fired after 13 games in that same season. Meyer’s time in Jacksonville was toxic, to say the least. He had several embarrassing incidents, including not knowing who Aaron Donald was, as well as not flying back with the team after a loss and being caught on camera at a bar in Columbus with a female much younger than him who was not his wife. His tumultuous tenure with the Jaguars has put him into an early retirement.

Back to top