If USC wants to bring Del Rio home, will Jacksonville let him go?

USC’s coaching search hit the pedal just hours after Pete Carroll’s official farewell Monday night, springing hacks and rumors into action from coast to coast. In Los Angeles, the L.A. Daily News’ Scott Wolf says USC has presented a formal contract to former Trojan All-American and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, who’s reportedly spent much of the last few days making calls to potential USC assistants — specifically, to former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta.

In Jacksonville, though, the Florida Times-Union’s Michael C. Wright says he expects Del Rio to be back in Jacksonville in 2010 after the coach put in yeoman hours Monday night ahead of today’s fateful meeting with Jags owner Wayne Weaver, based on "multiple sources inside the building" who note that Jacksonville assistants signed contract extensions during the season and don’t expect anyone to be fired today. Let the stare down begin.

Del Rio (above left, with Gary Busey in 1984) was fast-tracked through the NFL coaching ranks after a long pro career and has zero college coaching experience in any capacity, though he’s reportedly gung ho to return to his alma mater. The marriage could be an easy one if Jacksonville is willing to oblige by firing him — thus kicking in a huge buyout — off the team’s second straight losing season. If Weaver elects to keep him around, on the other hand, Del Rio gets nothing for resigning.

So the $15 million question could be one of the classic love-or-money variety: If Jacksonville doesn’t cast him out with a fatter check in hand than he could ever expect from any university in America, just how much is the SC job worth to Del Rio, anyway?

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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