Before making the jump to the NFL, Brian Billick was first a college coach with stops at BYU and San Diego State before getting his start as an offensive coordinator at Utah State.
In 1989 he served as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach at Stanford before leaving for the tight ends job with the Minnesota Vikings. A few seasons later, in 1994, he was elevated to offensive coordinator in Minnesota, where he spent a few seasons before being named the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 1999.
He spent nearly a decade leading the Ravens, including a Super Bowl title during his second season in 2000, before being fired in December of 2007 after a 5-11 season.
So while a lot has changed about football at both the NFL and college levels since then, there’s also a lot that has stayed the same. So when asked on the Rich Eisen show about what Urban Meyer’s biggest challenge will be as a first-time NFL head coach, Billick shared that it will revolve around treating everyone fairly, but not necessarily equally.
That will be quite a bit different than the college level where four or five years separated the veteran from the youth of the rosters, and age is just part of the equation in the NFL.
“The group that you’re dealing with, yeah, you’ve got young players, but you’re also going to have 30 and 35 year old veterans that have got families and side business. So dealing with the pro player mentality, and the fact that you’re dealing with grown men, that is probably the biggest adjustment…and he’ll do a great job with it.”
“You want to treat everyone fairly, but you’re not going to treat everyone the same. You just don’t. You’re not going to treat a longtime veteran and four-time Pro Bowler the same way you do a rookie. You will treat them fairly, but not equally.”
With NIL legislation on the horizon, one has to wonder if college coaches will soon find themselves in a similar boat as players begin to take on various endorsement opportunities.
The other thing Urban will have to adjust to is standing in line for talent in the NFL Draft.
“Getting used to that, and he’s been at some pretty good programs where they’ve got the top talent on their board, and they can get a whole bunch of it with picks in the top 150, but those picks come flying off the board and all of a sudden it can look like slim pickings.”
“It’s a bit different than trying to recruit them to great places like Florida and Ohio State and now you’ve got to stand in line to pick the players that you want.”
The Jags have an unprecedented five picks in the first 65 selections, including in the #1 overall pick, in the NFL Draft that starts tonight.
See the full answer from Billick below.