Richt Happy for Health

SHREVEPORT, LA – The situation may be fluid and the explanations for Urban Meyer's resignation then change of heart may have been vague, but the underlying realities of the situation weren't lost on Mark Richt and Mike Sherman just a day before kicking off the action in the Independence Bowl.

The Georgia coach and Texas A&M coach took questions for the final time before the game on Sunday, and while they preferred to chat about their upcoming matchup, the popular topic of conversation remained Meyer's on-again, off-again resignation at Florida.

"It's definitely a shockwave through college football and it definitely affects our league," Richt said. "It affects the University of Florida, it affects Urban and his family. Right now, again, with me not knowing a lot of detail, I just wish him the best."

That was Richt's approach about two hours before Meyer decided he wasn't quitting at Florida but instead would take a leave of absence to combat the stress of the job and recover from several health ailments.

So while the will-he-or-won't-he questions were generally left unanswered by Richt and Sherman, both coaches offered a healthy dose of empathy for the situation Meyer finds himself in.

"There comes a time in every coach's life that he errs on the side of burning himself out, and I wouldn't say I've been oblivious to that," Sherman said. "It's hard to maintain the balance in your life to be able to do the job, to not be so singleminded in your focus that you lose track of the balance that's necessary in your life in order to do the job."

Richt said he tried to call Meyer on Saturday after news of his resignation broke, but he said the Florida coach's voice mail was full by the time he made the call.

For Richt, however, it was a return gesture for a call Meyer made three years ago when Richt's wife was diagnosed with cancer.

"Coach Meyer was one of the first guys to call and let me know that him and his wife were thinking about us," Richt said. "I hope whatever he's going through it's something that's not too serious but it's certainly something that's serious enough to make this kind of change."

Both coaches echoed the concerns Meyer discussed about the demands of the job and the rigorous schedule a college coach is forced to maintain.

Sherman, who coached the Green Bay Packers in the NFL before coming to A&M, said it's an even bigger grind than coaches in the pros face.

"The burnout factor is a reality in this profession because it is 24/7, 365 days a year," he said. "You're constantly at it, but it's important to find some balance so you take care of health, family, faith as well as the football side of things."

So while Richt reserved judgment on Meyer's situation, he was quick to point out that the stresses of coaching and the concerns that come with it aren't unique to any one coach.

"I've been blessed that I haven't had to but I know what type of a grind it is and what type of energy it takes to do the job and do it, not just in season," Richt said. "So far I've been very healthy and blessed."


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