Football Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson had great success transitioning from the college ranks to the pros as a head coach. His advice to NFL newcomer Urban Meyer is simple: bring in the right coaches and the right talent, and Meyer will be successful.
"There are two things, really," Johnson told USA TODAY Sports. "Number one: bring in the right coaches obviously. And him not having pro experience, he is going to have to bring in coaches with professional experience. Number two: bring in talent, and utilize the information that he has got."
With ten years as a college head coach and seven bowl appearances, including two national championships, Johnson was the first head coach – and one of only three – to win a national championship and a Super Bowl He credits that transition from college to consecutive Super Bowl victories with the Dallas Cowboys to bringing talent to the franchise.
Jimmy Johnson in 2020. (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
"When I went to the Cowboys, I had never coached in professional football and I was going to a team that had three straight losing seasons," said Johnson. "They were the worst team in the league record-wise. And I realized that there wasn't enough talent there. But I knew the players. I had been in these players' homes. I was in Troy Aikman's home his sophomore year in high school."
Aikman, Johnson's No.1 selection in the 1989 NFL draft, was a cornerstone in Dallas' Super Bowls wins in 1993 and 1994.
Meyer, a three-time national champion , is the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, announced in January. With 17 seasons in college football and coaching stops at Florida, Ohio State, Bowling Green and Utah, Johnson says Meyer has what he needs to bring the best players in.
Official 🖋@CSICompanies | @CoachUrbanMeyerpic.twitter.com/O5bEO5hM6i
"He knows all of the great players around the country, said Johnson. "So utilize that expertise to bring in talent. So if he brings in the right coaches and he brings in the right talent he is going to be successful."
With the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL draft, the Jaguars will presumptively pick Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But like the Dallas team built around Aikman, Johnson says Lawrence is just "one step" to a great team, requiring Myer to surround Lawrence with other talent and coaches to "have a complete team" and successful franchise.
Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.
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