Urban Meyer Cares Not If None of the Past 48 Hours Makes Sense to Anyone
So yesterday during an otherwise competitive (if not all that entertaining) bowl game between Pitt and North Carolina that Urban Meyer was stepping down for health reasons. The news initially shocked everyone, caught everyone off guard, and generally made for mass confusion and an ESPN frenzy. News slowly developed to the point where the most definitive chronicle of the problem was a Dec 7th article in Sports Illustrated by S.L. Price which talked about how Meyer had an arachnoid cyst on his brain that caused him great discomfort. The article was otherwise a fairly in-depth description of Meyer's drive and personal ambition. Then a NY Times article by Pete Thamel based on a phone conversation with Meyer came out that really gave great detail. It was clear from the article that Meyer was concerned that he could not half-coach, and if he gave it the full 100% that he was afraid for his health. This of course is really scary for someone with three still fairly young children. This all made sense, even if it did catch us all by surprise. So then I, like most, went to bed wondering who Florida could hire and how recruiting would be affected in the interim.
Then today the story suddenly shifted and it was released that Meyer was changing his mind. Meyer decided to take a leave of absence during which he could calm down, re-evaluate, and get things straightened out. Meanwhile offensive coordinator, and fan whipping boy, Steve Addazio will serve as interim head coach. Suddenly Meyer no longer was thinking of family only, but decided he wasn't quite ready to give up coaching for now. This whole story just sounded confusing, then came the press conference, the whole world watching, here are the highlights:
- Meyer refused to answer based on confidentiality when asked if doctors instructed him to step down for his health.
- He was caught completely off-guard and unsure when asked who would hire the new defensive coordinator.
- He was also only able to say he felt good that he would be coaching in 2010.
- He was also generally looking tired and confused during the entire press conference.
- Meyer also ended his press conference saying he would be calling Steve Spurrier for advice on how to manage stress of the job.
I see there being three possibilities to what is really going on here:
1) Meyer is just doing this in order to save face in recruiting and Florida AD Jeremy Foley has a full year to find a full-time replacement.
2) Meyer doesn't want to totally rule out a return, and so kept the door open.
3) Meyer is going to seriously give it a try to change his style of coaching in order to keep going.
If it's #1 then I award Urbie points for taking care of Florida be doing this. If it's #2 then I understand that he doesn't want Florida to hire someone won't just step down if and when Meyer feels up to it again. The problem I have is if it's #3. Urban Meyer is a high energy and 100% intense coach in all phases of the game. He concerns himself with every aspect of his team all day every day. He talked in his press conference about taking it as a personal failure when they lose and staying up until 4:00AM to work on fixing it. The question is if Meyer can be successful without being that way, because if he can't then he should step aside and realize that this isn't going to work. Meyer in many ways is the kind of perfectionist that thinks intensely every waking hour about making his team better. He undoubtedly spends more time on recruiting than any other coach on his staff. The fact is what works for Spurrier isn't spending all night working with the staff and spending as much time on the playbook as recruiting. The Head Ball Coach likes to golf, leaves recruiting more to his assistants than to himself, and is unlikely to ever be in his office past midnight.
If Meyer cannot win at this kind of pace with a diminished energy level then what kind of end will come in Gainesville. This has disaster written all over it.
Some NFL Talk
Not going to spend a lot of time on this, but here are some quick thoughts I had today watching NFL games (for the record I enjoy NFL as well, but only now is it necessary to write about it as the college season winds down):
- The AFC play-off picture is really confusing.
- The New York Jets control their own destiny, for reasons I am unaware of.
- My Jacksonville Jaguars would be worst play-off team in NFL history if they make it in somehow, seriously.
- NY Giants right now hold award for NFL Choke of the Year.
- On a related note, Matt Moore, interesting.
- Saints, Vikings, and Colts are not going to be playing in Super Bowl for the following reasons: Saints stepped into the empty elevator shaft when they lost to Cowboys, but we all saw it coming as they started struggling every week. Vikings are imploding before our eyes with Favre, AP being stopped, and their secondary showing continued vulnerability. Colts rested starters in second half in loss to Jets, therefor Jim Caldwell learned nothing from Tony Dungy's play-off futility following great regular seasons when starters were rested in the last couple weeks of the year. YOU GET A BYE WEEK FIRST ROUND OF PLAY-OFFS!!!
NFL talk will increase when bowls are over, until then I can focus on the college game... yay.
and now your moment of zen: