Meyer can change mind but he can’t undo damage at Florida

Urban Meyer ran Florida's practice Monday. Don't get used to this picture.

Urban Meyer ran Florida's practice Monday. Don't get used to this picture.

(Folks. If some of this looks familiar, it’s because it is an expanded version of the early morning blog on Urban Meyer, rewritten for print purposes. It made more sense to post it as a new blog than replace the old one. Thanks.)

He has had chest pains for four years. He has headaches that Advil can’t fix. He has a cyst on his brain that becomes inflamed every time he’s under significant stress, which for an SEC coach begins at breakfast, assuming you have breakfast. He recently suffered from such dehydration and dizziness following the SEC championship game that he fainted.

Urban Meyer was thinking clearly when he announced he was stepping away from coaching. Now he’s not thinking at all. He may be the best coach in college football today, but he just committed the cardinal sin of his profession: He made a decision based solely on emotion.

Since Meyer pulled a 180, kinda, sorta, about his future, we have been inundated by conspiracy theories. Maybe he was just trying to motivate his team for the Sugar Bowl. Maybe he was just showing early signs of PTS (Post-Tebow Syndrome). Maybe he is still going to leave coaching (for now) but decided to push back his OK-I-really-mean-it-this-time announcement until after National Signing Day. (That would be the worst scenario of all: a lying coach who claims to have his players’ interests first.)

Here’s the most plausible explanation: The man is a complete and utter mess — mentally, physically, emotionally.

A coach doesn’t use faith, family and health as reasons to step away  one day and then change his mind after one football practice 24 hours later  unless he’s one step from green Jell-O Tuesdays at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.

Just a guess: I don’t think Meyer’s coming back.  Post Sugar Bowl, he’ll add definition to his indefinite leave, at the behest of his family, his doctor and the small corner of his brain that hasn’t yet suffered a hostile takeover by his ego.

Just another guess: Whether Meyer comes back or not, it doesn’t matter. Florida just became vulnerable.

If Meyer was a player — effectively flip-flopping on a retirement decision — many of us would be second-guessing his level of motivation and commitment for next season. Committed people don’t make emotional decisions. Committed people are driven 24/7 and don’t flip-flop. That’s one thing that makes Meyer a great head coach, much like the coach he lost to in the SEC championship game (Nick Saban).

Shelley Meyer has never seen her husband relax. That explains a lot.

Shelley Meyer has never seen her husband relax. That explains a lot.

Meyer isn’t a player. He’s a head coach. That makes what just happened worse.

A player changing his mind on retirement can still sometimes get himself up for game week and squeeze out one more season. To some degree, his sudden flaws can be covered up by teammates around him. A college football head coach is always on the clock: recruiting, coaching, game-planning, guiding, leading. There is no escape.

Cautious doesn’t work. Cautious certainly doesn’t win SEC championships or get you into BCS title games. Cautious is not what got Meyer here. If he comes back, he won’t always be on the clock. He’ll be looking at the clock. With a new, cautious Urban Meyer, the Florida program suffers.

When asked how her husband would handle leisure time, Shelley Meyer said: “I’ve never seen him handle leisure time. That’s like an oxymoron.”

If Georgia was looking for an opening, this is it.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not projecting the Gators’ program is going to suddenly implode. But odds are, Florida takes a significant step back. A program led by an emotionally drained head coach who’s preoccupied with concerns about his health and quality of life is a program led by a coach who’s losing his edge.

The Gators had potential issues before this. Tebow is gone after the Sugar Bowl (you might’ve heard something about this). Several other senior leads also will leave. Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong left for Louisville. Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen left last season for Mississippi State. Now, the team will be run in the interim by offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, whose offense sputtered for much of this season. Addazio hasn’t been a head coach since high school in 1994.

Some of these hits generally can be overcome. But only if a determined and resolute head coach is running things. That isn’t the case any more.

126 comments Add your comment

Sonny Clusters

December 28th, 2009
5:15 pm

Sonny Clusters

December 28th, 2009
5:16 pm

Clusters know when to post. We think like Jeff.

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 28th, 2009
5:21 pm

Has Meyers pulled a Cremmins? A Clusters? I say the latter singular.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

December 28th, 2009
5:24 pm

His headaches come in clusters.

Oh, Meyer will either be Mike Krys … uh, the Duke coach … and come back strong, or he is truly a burnout case and Florida will slide.

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 28th, 2009
5:27 pm

Don’t over look the fact the table was set when he got there.

Next season IMO, was when the real stress began.

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 28th, 2009
5:29 pm

This is different from Donovan, but not much.

Roll Tide

December 28th, 2009
5:30 pm

If you’ve got an employee with one foot in the door, and the other foot out the door, you need to immediately tell that employee to not let the door hit you in the arse on the way out the door

John Kerry

December 28th, 2009
5:31 pm

I voted for the retirement, before I voted against the retirment

Sarah Palin

December 28th, 2009
5:32 pm

I like Urban Myer. He’s a maverick. He’s going all rogue on Florida

Sonny Clusters

December 28th, 2009
5:34 pm

Coach walked off one day. We looked up and he was crossing Cole Drive and he didn’t look both ways first. When we caught up with him he had this blank look on his face and he was muttering something and was shaking a little, too. That’s when he messed his pants. We was out of there like lightning! Next day, he was back at practice and nobody said anything.

patti

December 28th, 2009
5:37 pm

Wow. Greatest string of copy on UM I’ve read. Thanks for validating our take on the situation.

George W. Bush

December 28th, 2009
5:39 pm

If I was Foley, I’d sit down with Urban, and say, Nick Saban is an evildoer. We need someone who’s gonna smoke Saban out of the caves of Tuscaloosa, dead or alive. You’re either with us or against us. The evildoers usually want us to stop fighting and to stop shopping, but this evildoer Saban wants you to quit fighting by going shopping with your wife and kids. You are free to shop with the little lady and rugrats, but we are gonna have to find a man to fight with Saban.

Sonny Clusters

December 28th, 2009
5:40 pm

Coaching can be stressful. That’s especially true when the player(s) you are coaching won’t take instruction and will swing at anything even the rosin bag. Baseball coaching was always harder than football coaching and that’s why baseball managers are so much smarter than football coaches. Take Bobby Cox . . . he’s pretty shrewd. If you was talking to a lawyer and that lawyer was a nose picker you might think he wasn’t the sharpest lawyer you could get. If you was talking with a banker and that banker was a nose picker you might think she wasn’t the sharpest banker in town. But nose picking suits baseball managers pretty well as some of the best baseball managers pick nose. Football coaches that are nose pickers could go both ways.

Just In

December 28th, 2009
5:42 pm

Urban Myer is under his desk, naked, in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, crying, sporting a faux hawk, reeking of urine, muttering over and over “30 years of coaching in 9 years. 30 years of coaching in 9 years. 30 years of coaching in 9 years.”

DPT

December 28th, 2009
5:51 pm

You SEC rivals are just upset that Coach Meyer decided to take a leave of absence instead of resigning. Let’s hope that when the time is right for him to return to coaching, that he will do so. He wanted to leave the door open to return to coaching at Florida; there is nothing wrong with that. Besides, it gives Coach Meyer a goal to be working toward. Jeremy Foley and Dr. Machen will make sure that the program will be just fine in the interim. Godspeed, Coach Meyer!

Sonny is a Cluster

December 28th, 2009
5:54 pm

…and the Clusters boy couldn’t help our team either. Fat, slow and dumb – everyone called him Sonny ’cause his name was Archibald. Young’un could only play on the O line and could never remember the snap count. On the next to last game one of our guards, Stinky Shultz, got knocked silly – his eyes walled up in his head and he wuz tryin’ to swallow his tongue. Coach had to send in the Cluster boy. Course he couldn’t remember the snap could but instead of jumping off side he just stayed in his stance all the while the play was going on and our quarterback got hammered. Coach pointed Stinky Shultz in the direction of the field and made him go in for Clusters. The Clusters boy just sat by himself on the bench – watching the cheerleaders and touching himself improperly.

Roll Tide

December 28th, 2009
5:55 pm

So, in the span of 3 years, Nick Saban made Don Shula whine like a woman, got Tuberville fired, ran Fulmer off, made Tebow cry, and put Urban Myer in the hospital and almost into retirement. Watch out, lil’ Lane Kiffin, Saban’s gonna set his sights on destroying you now. Nick Saban is a bad, bad man!

Joe Cox sux!

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 28th, 2009
6:01 pm

Agree Sabin’s evil. He’s on every watch list.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

December 28th, 2009
6:15 pm

Jealous haters!
Most teams have a falloff when they lose a bunch of first rounders to the NFL soon after a BCS/National Championship. Depending on how many juniors leave for the NFL before the impending rookie NFL salary cap, I predict a 9 to 10 win season next year for the Gators and the Tide.
Look at the Curdawgs 7-5 falloff after losing just 2 first rounders this year to the NFL. We won’t dwell on the 29 year falloff of the Curdawgs since their first and only National Championship in 1980! ROFLOL

Roll Tide

December 28th, 2009
6:17 pm

Better to cry after winning, than to cry after losing

Brett

December 28th, 2009
6:24 pm

Two words…South Bend.

are you kidding me?

December 28th, 2009
6:53 pm

Concern for my health, faith and family have caused me to change my priorities. Less than 24 hours later I have decided to take a vacation. It is more than certain that I will be back coaching next year. Oh and by the way I am pretty sure that I will be able to jusy “will” that stress away. After all; I am Herbal Crier.

keep em coming

December 28th, 2009
7:02 pm

clusters posts is always right funny

SS

December 28th, 2009
7:17 pm

Schultz you are the biggest buffon writer I’ve ever seen. I will be reminding you of this idiocy next year when UF goes to the Sec champ game once again.

Hey SS

December 28th, 2009
7:25 pm

you’re an idiot.

JS

December 28th, 2009
7:26 pm

AJC, get a real sports writer please. What a buffoon.

CitizenK9

December 28th, 2009
7:28 pm

After losing to Bama he couldn’t handle Tebow and himself not having top billing in college football. So he drops this bomb and steals all the headlines to put himself and UF back in the spotlight. Now it’s “I love my players so much that nothing (Not even my family or Dr.s advice ) will keep me from coaching. Meyer, don’t go public until you’ve made a committment that you will stick to.

awantwin

December 28th, 2009
7:28 pm

Coaching can be stressful. Myers probably did the right thing for his own health.

TampaGator

December 28th, 2009
7:33 pm

Jeff….this article is nothing but nonsense. You can do better than this. The Florida program is already back on tract with almost every single commitment already recommitted to the Gators (except Matt Elam who no one has been able to contact about th situation). I expect him to stay as well. And Addazio will hold things together just fine over Spring practice and leading in the summer…when Meyer will return to coach the team. And Addazio is one of Florida’s best recruiters. He will be out working hard after the bowl game. Expect more big names to commit. Kids want to play at Florida no matter who the coach is. And the coach is still Meyer.

blanez

December 28th, 2009
7:47 pm

The Gators have been winners for 20 years, now. They even had [minimal] success under Zook. No matter who the coach is the Gators will continue to do well, in multiple sports. The State of Florida has a plethora of talent that has grown up wanting to play for the orange and blue. As a UF alumni I have to admit it has been a good time to be a Gator [and not just a Gator hater]. I can only pray that Meyer does continue at Florida and that his health improves.

Kyle

December 28th, 2009
7:58 pm

This is like a damn Chinese Fire Drill. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. Urban’s in, Urban’s out. And Steve Addazio has head coach, Christ this guy couldn’t field a punt return team without messing it up. As a Gator Fan, to the other Gator Nation 8-4 here we come!

SouthKnoxvillian

December 28th, 2009
8:06 pm

I don’t normally give away trade secrets but now is the time for Richt to put up a few billboards in Florida. Better yet, put some in Tennessee. I need some target practice.

Lame Duck

December 28th, 2009
8:06 pm

Gosh….Georgia is going to beat the all powerful Texas A&M Aggies. Combnine that with Georgia’s win over Vandy this year and the Dawgs are a shoo in for the National Title next year…..get used to this…cause he it comes from every Dawg fan in the country who has already forgotten how bad their team is this year.

WTF?

December 28th, 2009
8:13 pm

His wife looks like a freaking meth head in this picture

Terrible Truth

December 28th, 2009
8:21 pm

His wife looks like she’d rather be home hitting the crack pipe and straddling Carlos, the pool boy.

KJ

December 28th, 2009
8:27 pm

With the Leach story breaking, I wonder what stunt Meyer will pull now to get his name back to the top of the headlines.

Terrible Truth

December 28th, 2009
8:27 pm

I think his wife would rather be home hitting the crack pipe and straddling Carlos, the pool boy.

Bob

December 28th, 2009
8:30 pm

Super early 2010 SECCG prediction:

Alabama 34 Georgia 23

I’m dead serious.

Urban Crier

December 28th, 2009
8:32 pm

I would like to follow my lover Tim Tebow where ever he goes, but the powers that be wont let it happen. They dont want the recruits scrambling to Alsabama and Knoxville. ((tears)) I just want to be with him.

Amnesiac

December 28th, 2009
8:34 pm

Nobody’s credited Kiffin’s evil-genius scheme of chiseling away at Meyer’s brain over the past 12 months.

Losing Tebow hurts, but please don’t compare him to Herschel, who carried Georgia to a title as a freshman. What could he have done with half the talent around him Tebow had?

are you kidding me?

December 28th, 2009
8:43 pm

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Hmmmmmm......

December 28th, 2009
8:49 pm

After Urban decided to step down Saturday night, the first journalist to report on receiving a telephone call about it from Myer was that Thamel guy from the New York Times. What’s interesting about that is that this was the same reporter who broke the Tennessee hostess recruiting scandal story a few weeks back. Some wondered at the time who tipped the reporter off. Many speculated it was Myer hitting Lane back through the Times, but there wasn’t any concrete evidence on it. Still isn’t, but considering who Myer first called after supposedly resigning, the circumstantial evidence mounts.

Gator Green

December 28th, 2009
8:49 pm

“Meyer can change mind but he can’t undo damage at Florida”

2 National Championships in 5 years? 12-1 against rivals? We Gators will muddle through with whatever “damage” Meyer has caused our program.

Thanks for your drooling Bulldog concern, Shultz.

dap01

December 28th, 2009
9:06 pm

All you Florida fans who rip on a writer should chill out. Meyer is not a healthy or stable man. That whole press conference was bizzare!!

Gator in the Hootch

December 28th, 2009
9:06 pm

I really believe that the Georgia fans that post on these blogs have to be the most insulting and rude people of the face of the earth. You don’t lose over 20 lbs., have major chest pains that put you into the hospital, and suffer from major headaches to promote anyting. What a bunch of idiots posting this stuff. Now that you have beaten the Aggies, begin the “we will win the national championship” next year posts…the same ones you posted about this time last year. Like I said, what a bunch of idiots…and rude, crude idiots at that.

Gator in the Hootch

December 28th, 2009
9:10 pm

And now you are insulting the man’s wife…what a bunch of idiots. The lady obviously has been under stress dealing with her husband’s health issues and what she has been through lately. If you had ever seen the woman in person, you would know that she is both beautiful inside and out. She also might be the most caring, giving wife of a HC in the SEC. The players love her like a mother, just like they love Urban like a father. What a bunch of jerks to post insults about Ms. Meyer. But that is what idiots and morons do!!!!

[...] original post here: Meyer can change mind but he can't undo damage at Florida | Jeff … By admin | category: mind | tags: boggles, know-nuttin, mind, palmer, president, [...]

Nick Satan

December 28th, 2009
9:13 pm

Me thinks there are some very nervous Gator bloggers today. Can’t says I blame them. Don’t feel sorry for Meyer he is only reaping what he has sown.

Percy Harvin

December 28th, 2009
9:24 pm

I’ve got some good stuff that will help corch myers with his headaches.

Ken Stallings

December 28th, 2009
9:24 pm

This column is completely out of line. To make such statements of conjecture about a man’s health shows a callous disregard for basic human decency.

Once again, Jeff Schultz, you reveal a mean spirit and pettiness.