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CFN Analysis - Urban To Coach Spring Ball
Florida head coach Urban Meyer
Florida head coach Urban Meyer
Posted Jan 25, 2010

The CFN writers give their thoughts on Urban Meyer's decision to coach spring ball.

CFN Analysis

Urban Meyer To Coach Spring Ball

Pete Fiutak   

The Urban Meyer saga has become so drawn out that I’m almost looking forward to the Brett “Even a high school QB knows better than to throw that pass” Favre retirement soap opera and the already tired storyline of how the Saints are going to magically rebuild New Orleans by playing in the Super Bowl (just like Michigan State’s hoops team was going to save Detroit by playing in the national title). However, this IS a big deal because it involves one of the best coaches in all of sports and his powerhouse of a program. His health could shape the world of college football for the next five years, at least.

The Meyer health issues don’t appear to have any effect on recruiting as the Gators are about to bring in the nation’s No. 1 class, but the big question continues to be the issues that are getting blown off. It’s not like Meyer is suddenly going to be all mellow after a day off, and he's a ticking timebomb if he thinks 36 hours off will make a difference. Now he wants to coach spring ball while the entire Gator program will hold its breath game-in-and-game-out hoping its superstar coach doesn’t blow a gasket.

Meyer is one of the most innovative and successful coaches in the history of college football, and now it’s time that he leads the way and shows how an uber-driven head coach at a national title-caliber program can figure out how to create a better balance. While he doesn’t have to be as lax as Steve Spurrier, who was able to rock in Gainesville while not exactly being known for burning the midnight oil, he doesn’t have to suffer a Nick Saban-like miserable existence and make it a Coach Or Die situation for himself. He has to realize that he really does have to take his health into account, and not just for his family and himself, but in this case, for the sake of Florida football, his career, and what he wants to do for the rest of his life.

Top coaches are like boxers; they know how to do one thing, and while it’s bad for them, they’re directionless without their day jobs. Meyer, as long as he’s breathing, is going to want to be a football coach, and now he has to do it better.

All coaches need to take the Pete Carroll approach (only without the gags to inferior conference opponents and without a program rife with NCAA violations) and make their practices competitive, but with a sense that the entire world isn’t revolving around the next play. A billion Chinese don’t give a hoot about the opener against Miami University, and 29 million people watched the 2010 BCS Championship while roughly 750 million will watch the World Cup final this summer. College football is great, but it doesn’t matter much when you’re always worrying about whether or not the sport is going to kill you.

So go ahead, Urban, and coach spring ball. You’re a coach, you’re a great one, and now it’s time to do this at a high level again while gaining a bit more perspective. Enjoy the ride more than the results (and if you make a t-shirt or motivational poster off that cornball line, I want a cut).
Richard Cirminiello

Urban Meyer has been late to return a Blockbuster rental. News at 11.

Can we all kindly stop fixating on every move of the Florida head coach? It’s become so 2009. His future was newsworthy when he announced his “retirement” a month ago. Since then, however, it’s been a rather annoying saga, which is no longer deserving of top billing. Nothing has changed, folks. Nada. Despite the initial hysteria and rush to judgment toward the end of December, it’s business as usual in Gainesville. Let me ruin the ending for you. Meyer will not only be back for spring ball, but he’ll be on the sidelines for the opener and as involved as he’s ever been in Gator football. He didn’t become one of college football’s premier coaches by cutting back or spreading out more of the workload, so don’t expect that to start now.

It’s all or nothing for Meyer, who has either made a complete transformation on how to handle stress and balance family matters or was totally full of crap leading up to the Sugar Bowl. I’m not at all interested in which one is more accurate. I just want to move beyond this story. There’s nothing left to see here, people.

Matt Zemek

1) Let me get this straight, Urban Meyer. Your family is the most important element of your life. Taking care of your health is the first and most foundational priority in your “plan to win.” Your players are your “second family,” but they’re the reason you revoked your resignation and chose a “leave of absence” one day after stepping away from coaching?

And let me get this straight, too: You know in your gut that you’ll be coaching in the fall, yet you said before the Sugar Bowl that you “have to get it (your health) fixed.” But wait: You then said that it was “full speed ahead” for the game against Cincinnati, even though your health was a supposed priority. Where do you really stand? Certainly seems as though you can’t shake coaching and are speaking like a druggie who can’t shake the habit and can’t resist another fix.

And let me get this straight as well: If God told you to resign on the day after Christmas… and if your daughter felt that she had her daddy back when you resigned… and if Shelley Meyer said back on December 27 that there was “no chance” you would change your mind about resigning as Florida’s football coach, just how refreshed and healthy are you?

And let me understand this and try to get things clear in my mind: You tried the leave of absence for a day and a half? THAT’S HOW LONG YOU WERE WILLING TO MAKE A GO OF IT? A day and a half? Thirty-six meager hours? After all the press conferences, backstage negotiations, family handwringing, resolutions and pledges to take better care of yourself, you’re done with this experiment?

You’re an addict, Urban Meyer. You’re not a reckless youth (Lane Kiffin) and you’ve never been in trouble for hitting a player (Jim Leavitt). Moreover, you’re not a carpetbagger (Dennis Erickson) or someone guilty of considerable NCAA violations (Galen Hall). You haven’t disgraced a program (SMU in the 1980s) or committed any truly grievous sin, though you did fail to suspend Brandon Spikes at least a full game for a Georgia eye gouging. You also haven’t castrated a bull (Jackie Sherrill) or done something similar to make yourself look like a real buffoon (Charlie Weis). You’re not undercutting the whole foundation of college athletics or doing things that are injuring lives and reputations.

Well, that last statement is mostly true. The lives you are hurting are the ones under your own roof in your own household. The reputation you’re injuring is your own.

You’re an addict. You’re acting like an addict. You’re speaking like an addict. The past month’s worth of actions reflected the habits of an addict. You yourself have said it: You can’t quit coaching. You can’t. It’s not in your blood, not in your will. A brief 36-hour period of “rest”, and you went back to the crack pipe.

Shelley and the kids, it’s time to stage an intervention. It’s time to rescue Daddy and bring him back from the brink.