Trevor Lawrence opens up on Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer and if his hair will survive rookie hazing

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It’s still the honeymoon — literally and figuratively — for the recently married Trevor Lawrence as he embarks on his Jacksonville Jaguars career, and life is pretty good right now. Yes, the expectations are high, as Lawrence is the favorite to win AP Offensive Rookie of the Year at +275 with BetMGM, but he has yet to hit his first roadblock in the NFL.

Nonetheless, we were excited to catch up with Lawrence for a few minutes Tuesday night to ask him about his maiden voyage. He joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of Gatorade — the first QB to sign a deal with it since Cam Newton — after Lawrence presented its 2020-21 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to USC commit Jaxson Dart of Corner Canyon High School (Draper, Utah).

We asked Lawrence about his first impressions of Jacksonville, his introduction to Tim Tebow, his former and current teammate Travis Etienne, playing for Urban Meyer, how much Lawrence expects to run as a quarterback this season … and yes, we had to ask Lawrence about his hair — and whether it will survive rookie-hazing rituals.

We were scared to ask the last question, and Lawrence seemed scared to answer.

Yahoo Sports: So you're a new Jacksonville citizen. What have your early impressions of the city been and how has your early acclimation to the Jaguars and NFL life been?

Lawrence: Yeah, just a lot of great people here. That’s one thing you can tell pretty early on — just the energy of the people, the everyday atmosphere — and it’s been pretty great so far. I love coming here and going to work, and you don’t have a lot of guys complaining. That’s the last thing you want on your team, guys who don’t want to be there.

We have a good group of guys. I am getting to know everyone, running around the field and getting some work in, just trying to sync up a little bit. Obviously, there are a lot of adjustments for me, learning a new offense and a new routine, learning what it’s like to be a pro and all the things I need to do to prepare.

A lot of learning — it’s a big learning curve, no doubt. But it’s been great, and I am in a great place I think, with the staff we have. I think so far we’re doing a great job.

It's still early, but Trevor Lawrence is loving his early days with the Jaguars. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
It's still early, but Trevor Lawrence is loving his early days with the Jaguars. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

YS: Jaguars season ticket requests shot up the second the team earned the No. 1 pick. You're one of the most hyped first overall picks in a few years now. Have you started to feel how big the expectations of you and this team might be?

TL: Honestly, I haven’t really been focusing on any of that. It’s me just trying to prepare each day and learn as much as I can so that I am ready. I haven’t paid attention to most of it. Obviously, you see things and notice things, but …

I will say I have high expectations of myself, too, so I try to keep those my main focus, and the team’s expectations for ourselves. That’s the main objective. Obviously, there will be a lot of people on the outside that put labels or expectations on us, and we want to have our goals and follow our plan and do whatever we can to be ready for the season. That’s where our focus is.

But it’s hard not to (say) there (are) not expectations for us. Now this is my job. It’s our jobs to perform well. I accept all those. The work has just started.

YS: You ended up back with your college teammate, Travis Etienne. First off, how surprising was that? And also what were your thoughts about Coach Meyer saying Etienne would be working some at receiver, especially considering Etienne once admitted he was afraid of the ball when it was thrown to him early at Clemson?

TL: It’s still early in the install this offseason, figuring out what our identity will be based on our personnel. Our whole staff — coach Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer), coach (Darrell Bevell), coach (Urban) Meyer — we have a great initial plan, and our offense is awesome. The guys are loving it.

But as far as personnel and who are going to put where, we’ve got to feel it out and move guys around, try things out. We’ll get there.

I’ll say from my experience playing with Travis, from my first year to my third year, he just improved so much catching the ball. So much. Just put the film on, you’ll see him making plays. As each year went on, he was making more and more plays in the passing game. More confident and more dangerous.

He’s already shown that he can pick it up, and he’s gotten a lot better. Now it’s just about running a more diverse route tree. I think that’s the biggest thing, and I have no doubt he’ll pick it up.

YS: Your new offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator both coached and designed plays for Russell Wilson. Your head coach had a ton of great running QBs. Have you gotten a sense for how much your running ability will be used on designed runs in this offense?

TL: Yeah, I mean, some of that is going to be gameplan-specific. It might vary week to week. I think that’s something that I bring to the table that I can do pretty well. That’s always going to be part of my game to some extent.

I don’t think it’s going to be (like at Clemson) when we ran zone-read like 10 or 15 times a game. But certainly, it’s going to be something I can use if I need it. Being able to make plays with my legs, or being able to extend plays, is always going to be something that I am going to be able to use and stay on top of because I think it’s so valuable.

But as far as scheme-wise and talking about zone reads, or whatever those might be, I am not really sure. I think that kind of depends. I am here to throw touchdowns first — that’s the main point. So we’ll see how that goes.

YS: Were you a Tim Tebow fan as a kid? Is it at all strange to have him as a teammate at a position other than quarterback?

TL: That was really when I started to get into watching football and college football, right when Tim Tebow was in his heyday at Florida. I played with him on all the NCAA games.

But no, I’d never met him before until last week. That was cool for me to get to meet him. You would have thought that our paths would have crossed at some point, but they just hadn’t. I just found that interesting.

The first thing that jumped out to me was the person. Just his character. What he brings to the locker room. A guy you want to be around. He just does things right. I think coach Meyer and the staff knew that, bringing him on.

He’s been awesome so far. Just a hard worker. And he’s in great shape. It’s been cool to see, and obviously, it’s still really early and he’s still learning and just coming in a couple days later than some other guys for the install, so he’s just getting his feet wet. But man, he’s doing great.

How much running with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence do this season? Even he's not sure. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
How much running with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence do this season? Even he's not sure. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

YS: He's somehow beating you in jersey sales. Does this mean you have to buy one of his or something?

TL: (laughs) I need to ask him if he’ll give me one.

YS: Urban Meyer's intensity is sort of infamous by now. It's not exactly an intense part of the NFL calendar right now, but have you gotten a taste of coach Meyer’s intensity at all so far?

TL: Yeah, definitely. He’s focused. He knows what he wants. He comes to work like he’s on a mission that day. I will say I have been impressed with how he balances that while also being really personable and can talk and relate to the guys. The conversations are not always about ball. I have noticed that; he does a great job of that balance.

I think you have to … if you’re a great coach, you have to be able to do that. You need that relationship with your players. He does that well. So as intense as he is, off the field and at times where he doesn’t need to be, he does a great job of, hey, let loose and have a normal conversation.

It’s been good to get to know him and see how he interacts with the players. Everyone respects him, and everyone knows how high his expectations are. That’s one of the best things about him so far, he’s very clear-cut about what is expected of us. That’s all you can ask for.

YS: Your comments about your own motivations and not needing to manufacture slights against you seemed pretty refreshing to us. But not everyone felt that way when they read them. What lesson, if any, did you learn from that hubbub to where you felt you needed to clarify your comments and calm everyone down a bit?

TL: Yeah, I mean … that’s just kind of the way things are now, I guess. It doesn’t really matter what you say. Some of that is a little bit expected. But you’re right. You don’t always want to give the cookie-cutter answer; anyone can do that. Sometimes it’s nice just being honest and open, and it doesn’t change anything about me and the player I am.

I am just as driven and motivated as anyone. I want to be the best I can be. I just know that if something happens and for whatever reason I can’t play this game, I am going to be alright. I’ll figure it out. You know what I mean?

That’s the thing. People make — well, they get confused with that. Just because I can say that, that makes me not care about the game? That’s not it at all. I feel I can play more freely because I know that this isn’t who I am. That’s where I am at.

And thanks for asking about that and thanking me for giving an honest answer.

YS: OK, you're welcome. But this is now the most important question we have today. Is your hair off limits for rookie hazing?

TL: I hope so. (laughs)

YS: We feel like we caught you in a vulnerable spot just now. Sorry?

TL: Shoot … (runs his hand through his hair) I hope I can ride it out a little bit more. (nervous laugh) There’s no telling how long I’ll have it. I know my dad has some bald spots, so I might only have it for a few more years, so I need to use it while I can.

YS: We can relate to that. So tell us, what are you doing with the Gatorade Player of the Year program?

TL: I was able to present and surprise the 2020-2021 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to Jaxson Dart. That was pretty special. Obviously, it’s the most prestigious high school sports award, so for Gatorade to ask me to be able to be a part of that was really cool. To experience that with Jaxson was a cool moment.

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YS: Was Jaxson surprised? Tell us how it went down.

TL: Yeah, so he had some of his teammates there, and I think that he thought he was doing some sort of Pac-12 media Zoom thing. I got to surprise him, and I think he was shocked. It was pretty fun. I told him, "You’ll have plenty of Pac-12 Zooms down the road, just enjoy this right now."

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