Wednesday, August 10

Jaguars Urban Meyer: ‘I’m not a candidate’ for Notre Dame coach vacancy

Urban Meyer has said that being the head coach of Notre Dame is his “dream job” at various points in his career. He mentioned it publicly in 2008 when he was still a coach in Florida. He was also a candidate for the coaching vacancy in 2005, before landing the head coach position with the Gators.

Now the Notre Dame job is open for the first time since 2009, as Brian Kelly dropped out of school to coach LSU. Would Meyer consider returning to the college ranks to fill that vacancy if offered to him?

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The Jaguars coach closed any speculation about that possibility during a conference call Tuesday.

“I am not a candidate” Meyer told reporters. “Obviously, I spent six years of my life there, with great respect for Notre Dame, and how I do with USC, UCLA, how we talk. But I’m committed to the Jaguars and I’m doing the best we can to turn this around.”

So that answers that question. It does not seem likely that Meyer will leave the Jaguars, although it is worth noting that he did not deny interest in the work of Notre Dame. He simply said he was not a candidate. After their off-field controversies in Florida, Ohio State and the Jaguars, Notre Dame would likely hesitate to approach Meyer as well.

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Meyer spent the 1996-2000 seasons as the wide receivers coach for Notre Dame. He took advantage of it in his first head coaching job at Bowling Green and trained in Utah, Florida and Ohio State before making the leap to the pros.

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The veteran coach’s first season at Jacksonville has been far from easy. The Jaguars have stumbled to a 2-9 record and there have been many reports of tension in the Jaguars locker room. No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence has had a bumpy rookie season, and Meyer’s staff has done little to make his life easier.

Meyer’s performance on the field has left much to be desired, but his conduct off the field has also come under scrutiny. Most notably, an obscene video of Meyer dancing with a younger woman in an Ohio bar appeared after the Jaguars’ “Thursday Night Football” loss to the Bengals. Meyer, who has been married since 1986, apologized to team and owner Shad Khan. said in a statement that Meyer “must regain our trust and respect.”

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Still, even despite these problems, Meyer wants to see things in Jacksonville. That message has been constant throughout the year.

After all, this isn’t the first time Meyer has had to deny speculation that he might return to college football for a big shot. After USC fired Clay Helton in September, Meyer’s name appeared as a possible replacement for the Trojans, but he emphatically denied that possibility.

“There is no possibility,” Meyer told reporters about joining USC. “I am committed here and to building an organization.”

So it doesn’t seem like Meyer is ready to do a Bobby Petrino, save for a drastic change in his philosophy.

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