Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday (Meyer Resigns) Quickie

Not a ton has changed from my initial opinion last night. We have more clarity:

Urban Meyer is walking away from Florida because the job -- and his intensity for it -- was ruining his health and putting his family at risk of not having a dad, in reality and not just in practice. (Meyer says as much in Pete Thamel's must-read interview with Meyer.)

I will say that this puts the Meyer health scare following the SEC title game in new perspective... maybe we should have seen it coming. At the time, the school passed it off as "dehydration" and clamped down on any news about it. In retrospect, this was the crucial part of the chain of events that led to the resignation. (The SI profile of Meyer was either totally prescient or totally missed it.)

If the price of Meyer's level of unmatched success is debilitating health issues -- and you have a family you care about more than your job, as good as that job might be -- it's not worth it. And I say that as a fan who has enjoyed and appreciated Meyer's effort as much as anyone. (For a brilliant analysis of the news, you've got to read the take at EDSBS.)

I'm not sure how much more Meyer will say at his press conference today than he said to Thamel, which felt like Meyer's dress rehearsal for today's media mob scene. In addition to details about his health and his motivations, I think he will be asked about his future role with the team, his coaching future (back in 2011? ever?) and his thoughts on a successor.

My thoughts about a successor remain consistent with last night: Presuming that Meyer has a say in the selection and will remain with the program in some capacity, at least for a season or two, I think that Dan Mullen fits the profile of the next coach: Meyer protege operationally, some head-coaching experience, loyalty to Meyer at an emotional level.

(This is where Stoops fails the test: He's not a Meyer guy, systemically or constitutionally. And he has no loyalty to Meyer; it would be uncomfortable for Meyer to sit down the hall, as opposed to Mullen. Utah's Kyle Whittingham actually fits that Mullen profile, too.)

And my opinion hasn't changed from last night that this search needs to end today - and by "today" I don't mean "soon." I mean, literally, today. Recruiting -- the lifeblood of any program -- is entirely effected by this; the next coach needs to have feet on the ground with recruits (the existing class of commitments) tomorrow, hovering over them until Signing Day.

Recruiting is the reason that I think this process has moved fast and the decision was only made in the last 24-48 hours. Meyer wouldn't want to screw Florida over with recruiting. I think he made his decision on Christmas Day, then told Foley yesterday, then they immediately decided to announce it, so they could get a coach in place ASAP and put a tourniquet on recruiting immediately. Meyer himself focused on calling recruits last night.

In the end, this is one of those rare cases where the thing is what it is, on its face: Meyer's health scared the hell out of him, and he wanted to be there for his family. I cannot imagine how bad it must have been to take the best coach in college football with the best job in college football and force him to walk away from it.

Are there remaining questions? Of course. But they don't really have to do with Meyer's motivations. We know that much, at least.

-- D.S.

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