Russo: Going to Jacksonville would protect Urban Meyer's legacy

AP college football reporter Ralph Russo explains why coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a win for Urban Meyer – regardless of what happens on the field

The DA Show
December 31, 2020 - 10:50 am

If Urban Meyer does indeed become head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, there’s no guarantee he will be a successful NFL head coach. But, at the very least, he would secure his legacy in Columbus, Ohio.

Why’s that, you ask? Because if Meyer were to take another college job, it would negatively impact Ohio State.

“I think it’s real,” AP college football reporter Ralph Russo said on The DA Show, referring to Meyer’s potential reticence to take another college job. “I think there’s two things going on with that. Columbus is a place that Urban Meyer is beloved. Urban Meyer won two national championships at Florida and is not beloved there. He left in a way that, they felt a little slighted, and he left the team in a little bit of disarray. Florida took a step back after his departure, and I do wonder if a guy like that sort of understands legacy, understands, ‘I am perceived a little bit as a villain in college football.’ 

“He’s not adored everywhere,” Russo continued, “especially, again, at a place where he won two national championships. But Ohio State is always a home base. There was even some controversy at the end of his Ohio State run, but Ohio State people always have Urban’s back. He’s an Ohio guy. And if you go take another college job, you sort of go, ‘I feel better now. I left because of health reasons, but now I feel okay.’ And you also end up taking some Ohio State personnel with you.”

Like strength coach Mickey Marotti, who was Meyer’s “lieutenant” at Florida and Ohio State. Or Mark Pantoni, who helped Meyer recruit at a national level in both Gainesville and Columbus.

“They have one of the great recruiting operations in the country,” Russo said of the Buckeyes. “Now all of a sudden Ohio State fans go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. First of all, you said you weren’t feeling well and that’s why you quit. And now you’re also poaching our staff.’ So that’s not great.”

Russo used a baseball analogy to further explain his point.

“Barry Bonds will always have a safe haven in San Francisco,” Russo said. “It will always be a place where he is beloved, even though he’s portrayed as a villain in many places. I think there’s a little bit of that going on. If you’re Urban Meyer and you feel like you’ve slighted the people who love you most, where does that [leave you]? When you are 65 years old and you’re retired, where are you the coach emeritus? He will always have the ability to be that at Ohio State, whereas if he goes to another job and poaches Ohio State’s staff, is he still as warmly received in Columbus?”