Southern University interim head coach Jason Rollins looks up as he talks about how thankful he is the Bayou Classic is happening at Caesars Superdome during the annual Bayou Classic press conference at the Superdome in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. The Battle of the Bands and Greek Show event is on Friday at 7pm and kickoff is Saturday at 4pm. (Photo by Sophia Germer,, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Jason Rollins is looking forward to his first Bayou Classic as Southern’s coach, although he’s also staring at the possibility it will be his last.

Rollins was promoted in May when Dawson Odums resigned to take the Norfolk State job, but his title included the “interim” tag. The brain trust for the Jaguars was seeking stability and continuity, and the 25-year assistant who was the secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Southern at the time was an ideal choice.

But Southern is assured of its first losing season since 2012, which was the last time it made a coaching change. The Jaguars (4-6, 3-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference) have a chance to go out on a winning note against Grambling on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Caesars Superdome. Rollins will have to wait at least two more days to learn about his fate.

“Every Monday, coach (Southern athletic director Roman) Banks and I meet,” Rollins said at Monday’s Bayou Classic kickoff news conference at the Superdome. “The Monday after the Bayou Classic, we’ll meet to see what we’re going to do going forward. We’ll see if my future is going to be here. Hopefully, it will be the usual Monday meetings.”

When asked how he felt about his chances of staying on, Rollins replied: “On Monday, I’ll know where we are. I have a season to be evaluated. We’ll know how the evaluation is at the end of the season.”

It’s doubtful the Bayou Classic will make a big difference, although the game has more meaning to fans than any other on the Southern schedule. The Jaguars had a promising schedule with six home games for the first time, but Southern went 2-4 in those games with a propensity for second-half troubles.

Banks would not say whether he has made a decision, saying he wanted to wait until the season is over.

“He’s the interim coach; we want to give him a chance this season,” Banks said. “We’ll wait until after the Bayou Classic and evaluate, have a conversation.

“(There’s no strict timetable) but it’s only fair to make a decision quickly. You’ve got student-athletes and recruiting. It goes back to the reason why he was interim. We thought we didn’t have time in that short period of time, the continuity. We don’t want to put ourselves in that situation again. It will have to be a decision made as soon as possible.”

Whether or not Southern makes a change, the beginning of the early football signing period begins Dec. 15, which is three weeks away. If the school decides to move on from Rollins, the competition will be fierce. Two other SWAC teams, including Grambling, have already fired coaches this season. Multiple Division I head coaching jobs are open, which will create a domino effect in the profession, assistants included.

Rollins’ team has had an up-and-down season, alternating wins and losses weekly through the first eight games until a 21-17 loss to Jackson State. That loss was emblematic of Southern's troubles this season. The Jaguars led at halftime but squandered a two-score lead in the final six minutes. In the four home losses, Southern scored 13 points combined in the second halves and was shut out once.

Rollins said he “feels very good” about the job he has done this season.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “It didn’t reflect in the win-loss column. We had some close games. I wish I could change the narrative.

“I learned a lot. I know I can make decisions and be confident in them. I know I can manage people really well, and get a team to play football. I’m a better coach. You’re always growing. When you stop growing, you die.”