Meyer ends leave of absence, returns for Gators' first practice
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --
Wednesday, Meyer remained at a distance. He let linebackers coach
On the day that Meyer's former quarterback introduced his revised throwing mechanics, Meyer introduced his revised coaching mechanics. Everyone wondered Wednesday morning whether
One spring practice in, he seemed relaxed. "Don't ask me," Meyer cracked when someone asked how quarterback
Meyer said he returned to work full-time about two weeks ago. Whether he took enough time away won't be clear until the season. Burnout is a wicked opponent. It can take 25 years to fell a man the first time. Then, after he gets up, it can knock him back down again in a matter of months. How Meyer handles his stress level -- plus his willingness to delegate and his commitment to fitness and his mental health ? will determine whether burnout gets him again.
Meyer declined to discuss medical specifics, but he said he feels great. He played a major role in assembling Florida's 100-star recruiting class. "The one who held the recruiting class together," co-defensive coordinator
"We got a phone call at 5:30 in the morning," Meyer said. "They said we had 30 minutes to evacuate."
The Meyers relocated to higher ground, and the tsunami never came. It will come eventually. The first time the Gators lose, Meyer will have to deal with the same stressors that landed him in the hospital in December. How will he respond?
Chances are, Florida will lose some this season. The program went 26-2 the past two seasons, and it's impossible to achieve at that level indefinitely when everyone else also has 85 scholarships. Tebow is gone. So are most of the best players on defense. "It is a kind of rebuilding, I guess," Meyer said. "A reloading, or something like that."
Heater was quick to point out that this will not be another 2007, when Florida lost its defensive stars from a national title team and replaced them with freshmen and sophomores who struggled through a four-loss season before growing into world-beaters. The defenders who will replace linebacker
But can Meyer retool his style in crunch time? He admitted Wednesday that spring ball is the easy part. "Spring time, I'm usually like this," he said. "I let the guys coach."
What will happen, during a week in the heart of the SEC schedule, when Meyer absolutely has to get that damn punt blocked? Will he still be able to delegate to his special teams coordinator and know the job will get done?
"I really like our coaches," Meyer said Wednesday. "I like our special teams coordinator. But the eye of the tiger is on him."