Jaguars' Urban Meyer on USC Head Coaching Rumors: 'There's No Chance'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 14: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars addresses the media during a press conference following a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field on August 14, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Browns defeated the Jaguars 23-13. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer shot down speculation linking him to USC's head coaching vacancy after the Trojans fired Clay Helton on Monday.

"There's no chance. I'm here and committed to building the organization," Meyer told reporters Wednesday.

Meyer was hired by the Jags in January after two years away from coaching. He posted a terrific 187-32 record across 17 years at the college level with Ohio State, Florida, Utah and Bowling Green. He won three national championships, two with the Gators (2006 and 2008) and one with the Buckeyes (2014).

His first NFL tenure started with a lopsided 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, which made the USC rumors almost inevitable once Helton was let go.

It doesn't appear there's any real momentum toward him leaving for the storied Pac-12 program, though. Along with Meyer's comments, those behind the scenes delivered a similar message, per Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd:

Colin Cowherd @ColinCowherd

I made two calls yesterday afternoon on Urban Meyer to SC rumors. An NFL GM w insight said “No chance” and someone close to Urban’s wife Shelly said “No chance”. This morning Urban also said “No chance”. So I’m going w no chance.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Meyer was "turned off" by recent changes to the college game, including the transfer portal, alterations to the recruiting calendar and the name, image and likeness (NIL) deals available to student-athletes.

Yet, the 57-year-old Ohio native explained after he was hired that it also wouldn't be easy to replicate his high-end college success at the NFL level.

"You're in a league that is designed to be .500," Meyer said in January. "You're talking about coach [Bill] Belichick, one of my great friends and a person I've always admired. He's the best of all time. You're talking about a 60-something percent winning percentage. You're talking about this league is built to be .500."

He continued to preach patience after the Jaguars' lackluster showing in their season opener.

"I've been warned for a long time this is a marathon, not a sprint, so calm down, relax—not relax but onward, soldier, move on," Meyer told reporters. "Let's go Monday and get back to work."

While it wouldn't be a surprise if he eventually ends up back at the college level, it sounds like he's willing to take his time helping the Jags through their rebuild in the short term.

Jacksonville hosts the Denver Broncos in its home opener Sunday as it seeks the first win of the Meyer era.

Meanwhile, USC announced associate head coach Donte Williams would serve as interim head coach while it conducts a nationwide search for Helton's replacement. The coaching change came after a 42-28 home loss to Pac-12 rival Stanford on Saturday.

The Trojans haven't provided a timetable for hiring a new head coach. They'll try to get back on track Saturday when they visit Washington State.