Urban Meyer slammed the door on USC, Wednesday, saying there’s “no chance” he’d leave his current job to coach the Trojans.
But since it’s Urban Meyer, you have to assume it’s all fluid. He does like to pivot when it comes to career moves. But he’s keeping his well-paid job as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I’m here, committed to try to build an organization,” Urban Meyer told reporters.
USC fired embattled coach Clay Helton, Monday. That was two days after the Trojans looked lackluster in a 42-28 home loss to underdog Stanford. Schools rarely make such moves this early in the season. So college football fans jumped at the chance to speculate. And Meyer was front and center of most every rumor.
USC fans and some big boosters wanted Meyer after last season. But USC president Carol Folt, reportedly, was against the potential hire. Plus, the school decided to keep Helton another year. Then Meyer took the job with the Jaguars and promised to rebuild the team. He’s got a tough task, considering the Jags have lost at least 10 games in nine of their last 10 seasons.
Meyer’s name always comes up when any high profile college team fired its coach. If Alabama’s Nick Saban is the top college coach in the country, Urban Meyer was 1A. He won three NCAA championships — two with Florida and one with Ohio State.
Urban Meyer Has Quit Two Big College Coaching Jobs After Winning National Titles
But the 57-year-old Meyer also retired from the sport, twice, shifting to TV. When he accepted the job in Jacksonville, he’d been out of football for two full seasons.
Urban Meyer also recently let it be known that he didn’t miss recruiting. With Jacksonville, Meyer and his staff evaluate talent, just like in recruiting. But they either draft the players or sign them as free agents. Because the Jaguars were the worst team in the NFL last season, Jacksonville owned the top pick in this year’s draft. Meyer selected Clemson All-American quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
But no matter how talented Lawrence is, he’s still a rookie. In a 37-21 road loss to the Houston Texans, Lawrence threw three interceptions. He did total 332 passing yards, but threw 51 times. That’s not a formula to win in the NFL on a consistent basis.
So with Urban Meyer out of the picture, who might USC eye as its next head coach? Maybe it’s Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell. After all, USC athletic director Mike Bohn hired Fickell when Bohn was athletic director there.
Or, USC could try to lure a coach out of retirement. Bob Stoops just turned 61 last week. But he’s a fresh 61. Stoops retired abruptly in June 2017 at Oklahoma with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley taking over the successful Sooners program. Stoops works in TV now and has his own tequila brand. He tried the XFL for a few games, but the spring league went under in March 2020, when the sports world shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Who knows if he misses the sidelines.
USC also may try to woo Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. Or maybe the Trojans reach out to Oregon’s Mario Cristobal. Chris Petersen, who retired from Washington, also could be an option. He’s only 56.
But Urban Meyer probably will stay on top of any school’s wish list.