This is being reported at several places, but the bottom line is that Corch Meyers has had a change of heart:
Urban Meyer has informed his team that he will take an indefinite leave of absence rather than resign from his position as Florida’s coach, according to a source close to the program.
The news comes less than 24 hours after Meyer announced his resignation, citing health concerns.
Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as interim coach during Meyer’s time away from the program, the source said.
Ho-kay. This kind of decision has been made before, but I don’t recall the aftermath being pretty. So much for health concerns, I guess. And they’re still going to make an issue out of this on the recruiting trail.
Kudos to ghostoferkrussell for posting videos of the first half…
and the second half…
of the 1997 Georgia-Florida game. (h/t Dawgbone)
Hines Ward’s block to spring Robert Edwards on his TD run that sealed the game (at about the 7:10 mark on the second clip) is still the greatest one I’ve seen a Georgia receiver throw. Three Gator defenders taken out. Big Gator defenders. Just awesome.
From the perspective of a fan of a rival program, the interesting part of the Meyer resignation story is the aftermath, as in, who will Jeremy Foley get to become the next Florida head coach? I’m probably speaking heresy with this, but I don’t think this will be the slam dunk almost everyone believes it should be.
Yes, Florida is one of the very best head coaching jobs out there and, yes, Foley hit a grand slam home run with Meyer’s hire, but it’s not like he’s batted 1.000 on his coaching hires, either. Let’s not forget that in the last similar situation he faced, when the decision was forced on him by an abrupt departure, he swung for the fences… and wound up with Ron Zook. (And before anyone gets started with “Foley’s learned his lesson and won’t hire someone without any previous head coaching experience”, that’s not the telling point. Hiring Ron Zook is. Put it this way: Zook’s got plenty of head coaching experience now. You think there’s a single Gator fan who wants him back?)
Anyway, it’s purely idle speculation on my part, but here are two reasons I can come up with off the bat that suggest Foley might struggle at least a little with the process to find Meyer’s successor.
- The Evil Genius lives. Anyone who doesn’t think that Steven Orr Spurrier isn’t a factor this morning in how the hiring process plays out doesn’t have a clue about how athletics play out at a big-time program like Florida. There are plenty of Bull Gator-types out there that would be more than happy to see the OBC throwing his visor again on the Florida sideline. I guarantee you that somebody in a position of influence has already made a call to Spurrier to gauge his interest in returning to his alma mater. And if Spurrier did anything less than slam the door shut on that possibility, lock it and incinerate the key, Foley’s got a problem.
- Urban’s legacy. The Zooker did serve one useful purpose. He became a transitional figure, bridging the gap between the Spurrier era and Urban Meyer. Meyer had the luxury of coming into a program that had its expectations lowered. That’s not the case this go ’round. The next guy coming in has to deal with following in the footsteps of a coach who garnered two national titles in five years. And he has to do it without the player of the decade. I agree with Matt Hinton when he describes this as a no-win situation for the new guy. If I’m Foley, one huge question I want to answer to my satisfaction is why does this coach want this job?
As to how things play out, your guess is as good as mine. Foley can’t let the process drag out too long, if only because recruiting questions are already starting to crop up. There’s a part of me that leans towards a Strong or Mullen getting the job, simply because that’s the path of least resistance. But I wonder if the collective ego of the Gator Nation will find that satisfactory, because nobody, at least nobody who’s impartial, is going to argue that those are the guys perceived to be at the top of the profession right now. On the other hand, how much time does Foley have to haggle with the coaches on his A-list?
Turn on your computer and randomly cruise the corner of the internet devoted to college sports and you’ll find almost any take on Meyer’s sudden departure from the head coaching ranks you can imagine. My two favorites so far:
At Team Speed Kills, cocknfire, as sanely rational a Gamecock fan as you’ll find on the intertubes, had this to say about the near-future of the SEC East:
The SEC East was already likely to open up this year, with Tebow and several other high-profile Gators graduating or taking their chances in the NFL Draft, Mark Richt looking to revive his career in Athens and a crop of young players beginning to catch on at South Carolina. Even Tennessee, which could take a step back after a surprisingly good first year under Lane Kiffin, couldn’t be counted out…
Hope is always springing eternal in Columbia.
But that just raised a slight chuckle in comparison with Kevin Scarbinsky’s piece today in the Birmingham News.
Not that he needed it, but Nick Saban, the man who has everything, just got another Christmas present.
His nemesis just said, ‘‘No mas.”
His biggest rival just threw in the white towel.
The only man standing between him and world domination has decided to step aside and sit down.
Urban Meyer’s shocking resignation as the Florida coach, for health reasons, is an unhealthy development for SEC football.
It took Meyer just two years at Florida to take control of the nation’s best conference and, as a by-product, the nation.
It took Saban just three years at Alabama to catch and pass Meyer, but as long as Meyer was in command in Gainesville, Saban would have at least one worthy adversary.
The article is entitled, not too surprisingly in light of its contents, “Can Florida find a coach to measure up to Meyer and stand up to Saban?” It’s good to see that the ‘Bama media isn’t completely in the bag for Coach Nick. After all, Scarbinsky didn’t flat-out say Florida couldn’t.
We interrupt the Urban Meyer watch to bring you two brief interesting tidbits about the once and (almost) future staff at Georgia.
First, it looks like John Jancek is about to reunite with a former boss and land on his feet as the new co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. With Fabris rumored to be on Strong’s new staff at Louisville, that leaves Martinez as the last man looking.
Second, Bud Foster, for some unexplained reason, lets us in on what happened with Georgia and its search for a new defensive coordinator.
“It was getting ready to happen,” said Foster, who is in town with the Hokies to play Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve. “Mark and I talked on several occasions … and then Tech stepped up to the plate.
“He [Richt] said he would be excited to have me as coordinator. It was going in that direction.”
… Asked about internet-fueled rumors that Georgia would pay him $500,000, Foster, 50, said his talks with Richt never progressed that far, but that it would have taken at least $500,000 to lure him from Blacksburg, considering his present deal.
I guess Vic Koenning is kicking himself this morning. It sounds like he could have used Foster’s story to leverage more money out of the Zooker (“Georgia’s ready to offer at least half a million to its next DC and Mark Richt has my cell number!”).
What’s the over/under on the remaining number of defensive coaches to claim virtual job offers to come to Athens?