Jeff Saturday’s hope to be everlasting Colts HC ‘not wavering’

INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Saturday was hired to be the Indianapolis Colts‘ interim coach for the final eight games of the season — “and hopefully more,” as owner Jim Irsay put it.

But after a 1-3 start and a 25-point loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Colts’ most recent outing, it’s fair to wonder whether Saturday still wants the opportunity to coach the team in the long term.

Saturday left no doubt Tuesday about his preference.

“I’m not wavering,” he said. “I’ve loved it. I’ve had a great time.”

Irsay has committed to conducting a traditional coaching search, and it’s presumed Saturday will be among the candidates to permanently replace Frank Reich, who was fired Nov. 7. Saturday, a former Colts Pro Bowl center who worked as an ESPN analyst up until the day he was hired, was adamant he wants to be considered.

“I plan on interviewing,” he said. “As long as they give me the interview, I’m in. I enjoy the heck out of this and have had a lot of fun doing it. Again, I’m not discouraged at all. I have a vision of what this could look like in the future and plan to work that way. That’s what I do every day — work toward that goal, understanding what that could look like.”

The Colts visit the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday after their Week 14 bye. Saturday has had ample time to reflect in the past week, and it hasn’t deterred him. But he does seem aware about the team’s current situation and appears to recognize that recent results might affect how he’s viewed.

“I know I’m not the most popular guy in the room right now,” he said. “This has been fantastic. It’s been crazy for me because I’ve gone from being in the media to not paying any attention purposely, because I know. I’m sure not everything written about us or me is positive. I’m good with that. I kind of knew what I was signing up for.

“But I’ve loved this. I’ve had a great time. I love the unity in the locker room. I love the staff and working with guys and the strategy that goes into this. This has been a lot of fun. [Wins] make things a lot more fun, but that’s where we have to get to.”

The Colts have had to navigate the latter half of the season without Reich — who was their offensive playcaller — and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, who was fired two weeks before Reich. This week, tight ends coach Klayton Adams departed for a new job as Stanford’s offensive line coach, leaving the Colts to adjust further, with assistant offensive line coach Kevin Mawae taking on the job of coaching that unit.

A heavy lift just got heavier for Saturday and his staff. In spite of it all, he still wants the job.

“I’m disappointed but definitely not discouraged,” he said. “When I look at this football team and this staff, I think we’re making progress in areas. I think we’re getting better in areas. So from my viewpoint, I have to look at it and keep it in perspective of what it looks like. I didn’t think I’d come in and win every game. I would love to say that, but that’s probably not realistic when you look at this thing. We’re going to continue to battle.”

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