Urban Meyer has been somewhat unconventional so far in his NFL tenure.
The head coach of the Jaguars received flack this month for a series of puzzling moves from signing Tim Tebow as a tight end to giving Travis Etienne the majority of his reps during rookie minicamp at wide receiver.
Meyer explained the latter to John Oehser of Jaguars.com this week and spoke highly of the former Clemson standout’s ability as a playmaker and athlete.
“We thought at the worst-case scenario you have a running back with the skillset of a wide receiver and best-case scenario you have a hybrid player that can do both, and that’s what we’re hoping to develop with Travis,” Meyer said.
Etienne showed significant progress as a pass catcher in his junior and senior seasons at Clemson after a rough start in that area. The Jennings, La. native played in a wing-T offense in high school and never got a chance to refine his craft until he donned the orange and white in college.
In his last two seasons as a Tiger Etienne caught 85 passes for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns. As a freshman and sophomore, he only caught 17 passes for 135 yards.
But Etienne always stood out for his explosiveness out of the backfield and breakaway speed that separated him as the ACC’s premier rusher.
No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence was unable to hand off in rookie camp and was the only quarterback present at the camp for Jacksonville which gave Etienne the opportunity to spend all of that time catching passes and running routes.
“All his individual training [at rookie camp] was at wide receiver,” Meyer told Jaguars.com. “That’s the reason we drafted him, is the opportunity to be a dual-threat guy. Right now, we’re focusing on the fundamentals of wide-receiver play, learning the offense from wide receiver.”
Etienne hopes to create a matchup nightmare for linebackers in the NFL and give his college teammate a dynamic weapon out of the backfield and in the slot.