Breaking Down Meyer's Press Conference

Urban Meyer's press conference Sunday answered some questions about his change of heart on stepping down as Florida football coach. Some questions went unanswered, and a big one went unasked altogether. Here are the two biggest issues that were resolved in the press conference.

1. WHAT CHANGED MEYER'S MIND ABOUT RESIGNING, WHEN HE HAD PREVIOUSLY DECLINED THE OPTION OF TAKING TIME AWAY?  

According to Meyer, it was the performance of the Gator players in a crisp morning practice. The fact his team still was giving great effort less than 24 hours after his stunning news apparently led to him thinking he owed it to the program he'd built to give a leave of absence a try. More telling were Jeremy Foley's comments, which indicated he and others who cared for the coach had been pushing him to choose this path for a week or so. Meyer noted that Bernie Machen first proposed the idea, which Meyer was unaware had been done multiple times in college basketball (including by Rick Majerus while Machen was at Utah). Whatever got Meyer over the hump to rethink his choice, it's a safe bet it wasn't solely a set of impressive 7-on-7 drills.    

2. IS THERE A CHANCE MEYER COACHES SOMEWHERE ELSE EVENTUALLY?  

Based on his comments, that will not happen. Meyer specifically said one of his reasons for changing to a leave rather than stepping down was that, had he felt well enough to coach in two years, it would not have felt right to coach at another school other than Florida. Couple that with his stated "gut feeling" that he will coach Florida this fall and it should put to rest any inane rumors about coaching Tim Tebow in the NFL or making a move to another school.  

Here are the three biggest issues still in play after Meyer's first public comments on his future plans.  

1. WHAT DOES A "LEAVE OF ABSENCE" MEAN?  

Both Meyer and Florida AD Jeremy Foley were asked to clarify this, but the details of Meyer's role going forward remain extremely vague. Meyer was asked if he'd be off the recruiting trail altogether and indicated that was not the case. Meyer wasn't clear on how the defensive coordinator position or any other potential assistant openings will be filled, although it's hard to imagine he wouldn't make that final call as long as his eventual return is anticipated. It's clear Meyer is not going to make a clean break from the program and go to the beach for six months, but no one seems to have had time to figure out just what his level of involvement will actually be.  

2. WHAT EXACTLY IS MEYER'S HEALTH ISSUE, AND HOW WILL IT BE ADDRESSED?  

When Meyer was asked about an Orlando TV station's "report" that he had suffered a heart attack during the season, he immediately denied that. All other queries about his health were refused, including whether he would need to undergo any medical procedures to address the issues with chest pain as well as specific questions about various rumored heart ailments. While Meyer certainly has a right to privacy about personal health issues, hopefully once the bowl game is past he can provide at least some further info on what's being done to prevent this problem from resurfacing.  

3. WHY WILL STEVE ADDAZIO BE THE INTERIM HEAD COACH?  

Inexplicably, no one asked this question during the press conference. Presumably Meyer had a key role in naming him to that spot, but what makes a guy with zero college head coaching experience and one less than inspiring season as offensive coordinator for the Gators the choice? Dan McCarney spent 11 years as head coach at Iowa State. Should Meyer not feel able to return to the sidelines by the 2010 season, wouldn't McCarney make more sense as the person in charge of preparing a team to play than a guy who's never done that before? Addazio has five years with Florida compared to two for McCarney, and maybe that's the reason. It's hard to understand why the question wasn't addressed though.  


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