I’ve been gone for a week. Thank you for taking in my mail. But who left Melky Cabrera on my doorstep?
There was no shortage of strange developments locally after I went underground (Javier Vazquez went where for whom?). But with college bowls underway and Georgia closing out its season tonight in the Independence Bowl, let’s stay with what’s timely.
Florida just got vulnerable.
If Urban 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 guy he lost to (Nick Saban) in the SEC championship game.
No, 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.
It says here Florida fans should be worried, and Georgia fans should be happy. Why? Because Meyer isn’t so much on the clock now as he is looking at it.
There was nothing wrong with his initial announcement to step away from coaching because clearly he had given the decision a lot of thought. But everything is wrong with his decision to come back because it came out of emotion.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not projecting the Gators’ program is going to implode. But odds are, the Gators take 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 one that is in danger of losing its edge.
On top of that, the Gators: 1) Are losing quarterback Tim Tebow after the Sugar Bowl (you might’ve heard something about this); 2) Lost defensive coordinator Charlie Strong (who has taken the head coaching job at Louisville; 3) Lost offensive coordinator Dan Mullen last year (he went to Mississippi State); 4) Now will be run in the interim by offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, whose offense relatively sputtered for much of this season and hasn’t been a head coach since high school.
Some hits can be overcome if a determined and resolute head coach is running things. But that clearly isn’t the case.