On Sunday, Doug Marrone talked about the widespread reports of the Jacksonville Jaguars having interest in former Florida and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
On Monday, just over an hour after Marrone was fired by Jaguars owner Shad Khan after four-plus seasons, Khan talked about the same reports. Khan, however, chose to use his first press conference in over a year to dismiss reports of the Jaguars reaching out to Meyer.
"And on the rumor of Urban Meyer, obviously, I’ve known Urban over the years through Big Ten and what have you. But we have not spoken to anyone about this job or even, obviously, interviewed him," Khan said on Monday.
"I mean, this is something—just made the decision this morning. So, you know there is—and I’ll leave it at that.”
There has been significant momentum toward a Meyer/Jaguars relationship building throughout national sports media in recent weeks. ESPN's Adam Schefter said before Week 16's kickoff that teams had shown interest in Meyer, while NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport took it another step forward on Saturday.
"The team has shown interest in former Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who has been lining up a staff and telling people he's close to in the football community that he expects to land in Jacksonville, per sources," Rapoport wrote.
"The Jaguars won't make a firm and final decision on Marrone until after the season, but this is the expected outcome provided Jacksonville feels confident it can find Marrone's replacement."
Well, the decision on Marrone was made on Monday. Whether this means Meyer is set to be Marrone's replacement is anyone's guess, but Khan didn't allude to it during his press conference.
Instead, Khan made the unsurprising move of dismissing any potential talks about the team having any candidate already lined up for the now-vacant gig. The optics demand this, of course, considering the Jaguars didn't even have an official job opening until Monday morning.
But where there is smoke, there is usually fire. There has been so much smoke with Meyer and the Jaguars that Marrone even called Khan over the weekend to ask him about said reports.
“Yeah, when all that stuff started coming out yesterday, I gave him a call. He said it was news to him and he would talk to me on Monday," Marrone said on Sunday following Jacksonville's season finale loss to the Colts.
Meyer's college football track record is clearly impressive, though it is yet unclear just how likely it is for Meyer to take the leap into the NFL via the Jaguars. He has a career record of 187-31, has won three national championships, built two programs into elite powerhouses, and won five Big 10/SEC championships.
But despite this, there is little reason to believe the Jaguars won't expand their search for Marrone's replacement. Whether Meyer is a legitimate candidate is yet to be determined, but Khan made it clear on Monday that he will be looking intensely for a head coach who can lead the Jaguars into a new era as opposed to one who will bog down their progress.
"If you look at some of the successful head coaches in the NFL, four years ago you probably had not heard of them. So I think there’s a lot of talent out there, and frankly we want to look at all of that," Khan said. "So, I mean, if there are assistants, proven head coaches, all of that, we’ll be looking at."