We guessed yesterday that we’d see Urban Meyer back on a college football sideline, but we didn’t see it coming this quickly: instead of going through with his planned resignation, Meyer will accept an offer to stay on as head coach and take an indefinite leave of absence.
It’s going to take a lot of work to keep this from becoming a messy situation. As it was phrased in the press conference, the head coach is now also the coach-in-waiting. To what extent will he have oversight of the program during his leave?
A question about Meyer’s role in hiring Florida’s next defensive coordinator seemed to catch Meyer off-guard. To be fair, this is a decision that was made in a day’s time, and Meyer was quick to point out that the details still have to be sorted out.
It was a good question, though. By changing his resignation to a leave of absence, Meyer will still have some presence around the program. He admitted that the tough part of this process will be figuring out how to “fix” the things that have led him to this point. That involves stepping away from the program to get well, but was this morning’s change of heart a sign that he’s going to have trouble distancing himself enough to get well?
Athletic director Jeremy Foley made it clear at the press conference that Meyer is still Florida’s head coach, and he just happens to be taking an indefinite leave of absence. His role in the hiring of the defensive coordinator is just one detail to be worked out. Recruiting is heading into the home stretch, and Meyer deflected a question about whether he was now off the recruiting trail.
Meyer talked about being back in time for the start of the 2010 season. He’s going to coach in the bowl game. He’s not likely to drop recruiting cold turkey. Other than spring practice, exactly what is he stepping away from?
The answer – it doesn’t matter. It’s not our concern. As everyone wrote up their resignation stories, the consensus was that the SEC was better with Meyer in it. That’s still true. We’re going to snipe at the minutiae of the story, but Meyer’s the one to know his limits and has to face his family with the decision. I’ve already seen the “guess it couldn’t have been that serious” comments, but Meyer’s under no obligation to justify that.
Speaking of medical conditions though, I hope no one gagged or got diabetes from the conversation on the podium. Meyer spoke of the amazing place that is Florida, and Jeremy Foley swooned along, but I doubt they would have made this arrangement for someone who hadn’t won two national titles in the past three seasons. Not many of us get the opportunity Meyer is getting, but he’s earned it.