Listen Now! Jaguars columnist: Revamped squad should be vastly improved from 2020

Tim Walters
Florida Times-Union

It’s a moment that has been in the making since at least 2014.

That was Trevor Lawrence’s freshman year in high school when he threw for 3,042 yards and 26 touchdowns. He only got better from there.

After finishing an unparalleled high school career where he broke Deshaun Watson’s Georgia state records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, he went on to play at Clemson. (Just like Watson)

As a freshmen, all Lawrence did was go undefeated while leading the Tigers to a national championship in 2018.

He took Clemson back to the national title game the following year, where the Tigers fell to LSU.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) passes under pressure from New Orleans Saints defensive end Carl Granderson (96) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

Last year, Lawrence missed two games to COVID-19, and Clemson missed out on the College Football Playoff final, losing to Ohio State in the semifinal.

It was a clear choice for Jacksonville to take him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

And with all that said — and all the hype — it’s finally time to see what he can do as the Jaguars open their season Sunday at Houston at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars looked good in their final preseason game against Dallas, with Lawrence going 11-for-12 for 139 yards and two TDs.

Can he keep it up?

Can the Jaguars win more than one game, which is all they had last year?

Can Urban Meyer turn around a franchise that has had just one winning season over the past 10 years?

BRUCE LIPSKY/Times-Union --Times-Union sports columnist Gene Frenette was photographed in the Times-Union studio on Thursday, December 26, 2007, in Jacksonville, FL.(The Florida Times-Union, Bruce Lipsky)

Florida-Times union columnist Gene Frenette is here to help us get some answers.

He’s the latest guest on “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast," powered by the USA TODAY Network.

Gene has been a columnist at the Florida Times-Union since 1988, but he also wrote columns prior to that when he worked at the evening paper, the Jacksonville Journal.

Gene has covered the Jaguars since their 1995 expansion season.

Gene will fill us in on which players could make an impact and what is a real expectation for this team.

The Jags play in an AFC South Division where Tennessee is a clear favorite, but where Indianapolis and Houston have major questions marks.

Gene will also let us behind the curtain to see what Urban Meyer’s first preseason has been like in leading up to the regular-season opener.

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We’ll also discuss last week’s vaccination controversy and see if Meyer will be in hot water before the season even starts.

If you’re a Jaguars fan — or a fan of the NFL and it’s top rookie — then you’ll want to give us a listen.

We can be downloaded wherever you listen to podcasts, or simply type in “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find several options to listen on, including Spotify. We also can be found on any of the 17 USA TODAY-Network Florida websites.

It’s as easy as hitting play.

If you like it, you can check out previous shows, which feature current and former professional athletes and coaches, as well as our stable of journalists who cover beats and write columns, all of whom have some tie to the Sunshine State.

Walters can be reached at twalters@gannett.com

USA TODAY NETWORK-FLORIDA Deputy State Sports Editor Tim Walters