Urban Meyer’s debut as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars was less than stellar. Meanwhile, USC has given Clay Helton the pink slip after coaching the Trojans for six seasons. This has prompted a discussion about Meyer potentially ditching the Jags in favor of the Southern California team. Social media has had fun entertaining the possibility. But could Meyer really ditch the Jags in favor of the Trojans?
Right after Helton was relieved from his head-coaching duties, Meyer began trending on social media and has been seen as a potential candidate to become USC’s next head coach. Now, there are no actual reports linking Meyer to the Trojans’ coaching vacancy, so why were the two suddenly linked?
The Ohio native has a precedent for suddenly leaving highly coveted gigs while the Trojans could use a big-name head coach. Meyer first ditched the Florida Gators back in 2010 and later did the same with Ohio State in 2018. Both times, he cited health as the reason for his departure. Could it happen once again?
Could history repeat itself with the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Keep in mind that Meyer wouldn’t be the only head coach that has left a job in the NFL not long after taking over. Steve Spurrier thought that coaching in the pros would be like playing golf after leading the Gators to six SEC Championships and one BCS National Championship. He was up to a rude awakening and left the Washington Football Team after going 12-20 in two seasons. A couple of years later, he became the head coach at South Carolina.
Nick Saban accepted the Miami Dolphins head coach job in 2005 only to quit in his second year at the helm despite the fact that he vehemently denied that he was leaving. Not long after shutting down reports of him potentially becoming the head coach at Alabama, he accepted the job. In his defense, things have worked pretty well for him, helping the Crimson Tide win seven National Championships since his arrival.
The most infamous case of a former college head coach quitting not long after getting started in the NFL is Bobby Petrino. He didn’t even muster the courage to look at his players nor his assistant coaches in the eye and tell them about his departure. Instead, he left a note on their locker rooms, thanking them for their effort and hard work. This prompted Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, then the defensive coordinator for the Falcons, to call him a gutless [expletive].
Ok, but could Urban Meyer really leave the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021?
It’s always a possibility, just like winning the lottery, but it may not happen, at least not anytime soon. Meyer was recently asked by Michael DiRocoo of ESPN if he missed recruiting and he said no. Also, Peter King of NBC Sports believes the Jaguars head coach won’t jump the ship regardless of how difficult things get during his tenure in Duval. Meyer has been advised by two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Jimmy Johnson, who took over another challenging situation.
John Buhler of FanSided believes the USC athletic department may not be interested in giving total control to the head coach of their football program. Even though Meyer would be sought after if he was available, it would be highly unlikely for Meyer to leave Jacksonville now. He’s invested too much time and resources into making things work.
Sure, nobody likes to lose and the Jaguars looked underwhelming in Week 1 but suggesting he will be one and done is the quintessential hot take. His transition to the pros may be more difficult than he originally expected but all the things that made him accept the job are still in place. He’s still got carte blanche and Trevor Lawrence is the quarterback.
The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t up to a good start but Meyer has shown he can turn programs around. It shouldn’t be any different in Duval. So don’t expect him to stand the Jags up anytime soon.