Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

By Adam Silverstein
March 19, 2010

Lost among the hysteria of the Florida Gators‘ Pro Day and an appearance by the basketball team as a No. 10-seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament against the Brigham Young Cougars was the beginning of spring practice for the football team – something that (perhaps most importantly) also saw the official return of head coach Urban Meyer from his leave of absence.

Meyer, who told reporters that he actually returned in an official capacity a few weeks ago after taking some personal time to get healthy and rested, spoke confidently about his health. “I’m not going to get into all that, but I feel fine. I feel good,” he said after the three-hour practice. He also declined denied to speak about a number of tests he underwent in February.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s story on Meyer’s return to the Gators after the break!

Chest pains and a frightening health scare forced Meyer into the hospital on more than one occasion toward the end of the 2009 season. He resigned from his position on Dec. 26 before the 2010 Sugar Bowl, only to change his mind a day later and instead decide to take a leave of absence from the program. Florida went on to convincingly defeat the Cincinnati Bearcats in the game with Meyer on the sidelines.

He was supposed to take a break after that game but felt it necessary to stay in control for a few more weeks in order to hire four new assistant coaches and ensure the team’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class stayed together. While he did not travel for recruiting as he normally would, Meyer was still heavily involved up until National Signing Day.

Meyer’s leave of absence was once again interrupted when one of his new hires, defensive coordinator George Edwards, left the Gators for the same position with the Buffalo Bills. He and interim head coach Steve Addazio worked together to choose Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Teryl Austin as Edwards’ replacement. Since then, he has been on a break – going on vacation with his wife to Hawaii, taking in his daughter’s games, eating right, exercising and relaxing.

It also made news that Meyer’s trip to Hawaii was rudely interrupted by a tsunami warning, which forced the couple to evacuate their hotel and move to higher ground early in the morning.

Now back in Gainesville, FL, Meyer can concentrate on the team again – as long as he keeps his health in the back of his mind. An Associated Press report states Meyer was “considerably less involved” in practice, and others who watched him on the field noticed that he observed more than he participated.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Meyer said afterward, explaining that he tends to be more hands-off in the spring. “Usually I’m more involved in kicking game and a little more involved in the offense. I will get back involved. I think spring time I’m usually like this. I like to let the guys coach and let everybody do their job and see what we’ve got. We’ve got four new coaches, and I want to see them go.”

Best of all (for Gators fans) was Meyer’s response to the one question on everyone’s mind. Asked by a reporter if he was back for good, Meyer simply replied: “Yeah.”

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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