SIX BITS: Urban Meyer absence edition (Part 2)

By Adam Silverstein
December 28, 2009

1 » First, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer resigned and the media had sympathy for him and respect for making what they deemed to be a mature and righteous decision. Then, Meyer decided to take a leave of absence instead and has since been met with immense backlash. Starting his column by calling the school “Flip-Flop Florida,” ESPN’s Pat Forde drops some sarcasm on the coach. “Meyer apparently went out to practice and decided that burnout is for losers,” Forde writes, “and his family may or may not come before his players. They had a spirited practice in unseasonably cold weather and, shazam, Urban’s not resigning after all! Just taking a vacation of unspecified length! While looming over the program like a 900-foot shadow!” Don’t worry, there is more, but you need to check out the column for the rest of it.

2 » Jumping on the bus with Forde is CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd. (This cannot be surprising to anyone, you had to know Dodd was going to write something like this.) Calling Meyer’s change of heart “baffling” in the title of his story because no one has ever changed their mind before, Dodd seems to go back on that opinion later on while still lending himself the ability to criticize. “Maybe it was a simple change of heart.,” he wrote. “Maybe Meyer is going against doctors’ wishes by coming back. Either way there is still room to criticize him for waffling. After sleeping on it, the subject changed from chest pains to being homesick. After careful reconsideration, Meyer walked into a karaoke bar and started belting out Billy Donovan tunes.”

Check out four more BITS on Urban, Addazio, Shelley and more after the jump!!!

3 » Last but not least is Peter Kerasotis of Florida Today who claims Meyer’s hiatus will put the Gators in shaky territory. “If you watched Meyer’s news conference from New Orleans on Sunday, you saw a man constantly contradicting himself,” Kerasotis wrote. “In the process, he went from sounding like the most selfless guy in the world to the most selfish. All in one 24-hour period. When you really get down to it, though, Urban Meyer is putting Urban Meyer first, and you wish he’d just say that.”

4 » Lost to some in the Meyer media storm is the appointment of offensive coordinator Steve Addazio as interim coach. One of three current coaches who were part of Meyer’s inaugural staff in 2005, Addazio has been promoted from tight ends coach to offensive line coach to offensive coordinator in a five-year span. “I believe he’s one of the top coaches in America,” Meyer said Sunday. Addazio’s second biggest supporter is…a high school football coach? Marce Petroccio, who coaches Staples High School and has known Addazio for over 20 years, supports his friend’s latest endeavor. “All I know is that Steve Addazio has been a success at everything he’s ever done,” he said. “He’s a great guy and he’s been a great friend. The intensity Steve brings to practices and games is something that really rubs off on you. He’s been primed and ready to be a head coach. He’s very, very close to Urban, but one thing about Steve is he takes advantages of the opportunities given to him. He’ll do a great job and the kids love him.”

5 » The final perspective on Meyer’s announcement comes from his wife, Shelley. “With an extensive background in health and fitness, [Shelley] can guide her husband on a better path,” writes David Jones of Florida Today. Shelley’s goal is getting Urban to relax, and she has some help with a nursing degree and background in psychiatry. “We’re going to find out [how he can relax],” she said. “He has to learn to, but now that he’s had these signs, as he calls them, he’ll make a really good attempt to do that. I told him I can’t be sitting around the house with him all day,” she joked. “I’m busy. I’ve got things going and I’m moving. So we’ll see what he does, but we’ve got kids that play sports still at home and Nikki’s at Georgia Tech playing volleyball and he wants to go enjoy some of those things.” When will Urban reach the point where he can return to coaching? “I don’t think I can answer that,” she quipped. “We’ve just got to see how he handles his leisure time. I’ve never seen him handle leisure time. That’s like an oxymoron.”

6 » Starting as a true freshman, former Gators linebacker Earl Everett was not able to complete his degree in four years. Suffering injuries while in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and as a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad, Everett later had a successful tryout with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL but broke two bones in his leg just days after returning from the workout. Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, who visited Sumter, SC, and was asking about Everett, found out he was interested in earning his degree and has helped him on the way to completing that goal. After he’s done, Everett hopes to coach and join the Gators as a graduate assistant. “I talked to Coach Meyer a few weeks ago and he asked me if I would like to help out during the spring,” Everett said. “And there is definitely a chance I could become a graduate assistant when I graduate.”

7 Comments

  1. O-town Gator says:

    Adam, I offered my thoughts on Coach Meyer’s decision to take the leave of absence on GE, and as far as I’m concerned it was the right thing for him to do: http://www.gatorenvy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11786

    Screw Keratotis, screw Pat Forde, screw the Knoxville press. Coach Meyer meant what he said, and if he didn’t feel as strongly as he does about UF and Florida football he would have just abandoned ship. He put all his heart into making Florida footbal lwhat is is today, and he wouldn’t have felt right leaving the program in the hands of the wrong person – if things were to have unraveled and disintegrated, Meyer would have been even more distressed.

    The most important thing for Urban, and probably the most imperative, is that he gets well and comes back physically, mentally and emotionally fit to resume his coaching duties. I have no doubt that this much-needed time off will give him a better perspective on things and will be to the benefit of his family as well as UF and the Gator football program he loves so much.

  2. Haven’t had a chance to read what you wrote in long-form yet, but from what you wrote in your comment here, I agree with you.

  3. Gatorfan33 says:

    I agree with the Pat Forde article. How can you not agree with it unless you read it with Orange and Blue glasses on? He came out and resigned citing health and family but then after watching the team come out amped up for 1 practice he changes his mind and commits to a leave of absence without telling or asking his family……….. I can understand and respect his passion for the game and for Florida but I just can’t fathom how you go from one extreme to this.

    I honestly think there is more to this than what we are being told. One of this season biggest problems IMO was Addazio and I expected to see him replaced this off season but here we are with him as interim HC. We also still do not have a DC and I think this flip flop is going to hurt Urban’s ability to bring in a big name DC as well as it will hurt us in recruiting more than his resigning would have.

  4. Because Forde is rushing to the conclusion that him HOPING to return to coaching means he is automatically putting it above his health and family. Meyer taking a leave does not mean he is coming back to this team – it means he is going to give it a shot as opposed to stepping away completely. A major leap is being made by those criticizing Meyer that is quite unfair when you are dealing with someone who is scared, confused and unsure of himself for potentially the first time in his life. The media loves to rush to judgment (just as they universally praised and lauded him just 12 hours prior to his reversal).

    As far as Addazio goes – he was never going to be replaced. He and Urban are too close. There was perhaps a possibility that someone could step-up as a co-OC, but even that I doubted was possible. I disagree with your DC-hiring opinion. First of all, I think Heater is/was going to get it anyway. Secondly, a big-name DC would love to take this job, especially if Meyer ended up not sticking around. Addazio is an interim coach, not a new head coach – and he would never keep that job should Meyer disappear completely.

    Now to recruiting – Meyer changing his stance has immensely HELPED the 2010 class. It may be a detriment to the 2011 class IF he does not coach this season. But it has done wonders the vast majority of those who were unsure of what to do after Saturday night.

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    Marce Petroccio is a dumbass. If he believe Steve’s play calling that retarded our offense this year was a success then he watched a different team than I.

    Shelley wants to help Urban relax, she needs to start sexing him more often.

  6. Miamigator says:

    Meyer has 4 million reasons to return….$10,000 per day even weekends. I’ve lost a lot of respect for urban! If he can’t see what an incompetent Addazio is…. then he’s not as smart as everyone thought. Someone convince me, that the on-field success of the Gators hasn’t been due to Mullen & Strong! Give Meyer some credit for coordination of the program & recruiting, but this season proved he’s NOT an offensive genius & Addazio is an IDIOT!

  7. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    I have been very critical of Addazio but incompetent and idiot are both over the top……how spoiled have we become that we are 12-1 and have won 2 out of the last 3 NC’s and people are so critical….myself included….I would have preferred Meyer would have just taken the leave of absense from the start and not annouced it until after the Sugar Bowl…but I am still glad he is staying…he has earned the right……I think he will get recharged over the next few months and the key to this working will be if he can come back and delegate more and not work as excessively in the past….it’s quite the contrast to SOS who took too much time off…Meyer has to find a better balance….I would love to see us bring in a top guy to be DC or co-DC with Heater….I think on offense a co-OC would be a great plan but maybe Gonzales left because that was not considered.

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