HOOVER, Ala. — Florida coach Urban Meyer arrived at SEC media days Wednesday saying questions about his health can be laid to rest, adding he has never been more excited about an upcoming football season.
"I'm as jacked as I've ever been," Meyer, 46, said. "I'm excited. I really like my staff. I love my players. It's all good."
Meyer spent the spring resting and traveling with his family, including trips to the Bahamas, Hawaii (a Nike-sponsored coaches venture), Israel and Italy.
"I always took two weeks in the summer, but I took a significant amount (this year)," he said. "I took the spring. I shut the phone off. Usually I'm sitting there looking at this thing (phone) in church. We're talking about certifiable now. I mean like, they'd lock me up if they really knew."
Meyer has been diagnosed with esophageal spasms (abnormal contractions of the muscles in the tube that carries food to the stomach, causing heartburn and chest pain) and is on medication. He said he doesn't regret his decision to resign in December because it was based on what was happening at the time.
"This time last year I had chest pains," he said. "The year before I had chest pains. I wasn't sure what it was. … Without being overdramatic, I thought I had some life-and-death decisions … and that's what prompted some of the things that occurred in December."
The time away gave him an opportunity to spend what may likely be the last few months with his entire family intact. His oldest daughter, Nicole, is a sophomore at Georgia Tech, and his youngest daughter, 17-year-old Gigi, is a high school senior who has already committed to play volleyball at Florida Gulf Coast next year. Meyer said the trip to Israel was both spiritual and bonding time.
"I don't want to get too deep, but I've always had that (spiritual) side of me, but I think I kind of let it slip behind football, and I've never done that," he said. "But it was more for my relationship with my daughters and realizing that life is moving real fast."
DEFENDING NAME: Gators senior center Mike Pouncey has known since June that allegations his twin, Maurkice, accepted $100,000 from someone representing an agent might become public. Since the story broke Monday, Mike Pouncey said he's disappointed so many people rushed to judgment, and it's disturbing their reputations may have been tarnished. "Of course, it does bother us, but I think everybody that knows us knows we're not the kind of guys to do anything like that," Mike said. "At the end of the day, our fans and the people that support us know what kind of people we are. And it just (stinks) that the people who don't know have these false feelings about us."
Georgia, too: Associate athletic director Claude Felton said the NCAA has requested permission to conduct an inquiry on campus, but he would not disclose the reason.
MISSING KIFFIN: SEC commissioner Mike Slive is happy to have coach Derek Dooley at Tennessee. "I want to welcome Coach Dooley back to the SEC," Slive said, grinning, "and when I say welcome, I mean welcome." It was a not-so-subtle dig at former Vols coach Lane Kiffin, who had some run-ins with Slive during his year with the Vols. Kiffin has since left to coach USC, or as Slive put it, "return to his western roots."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.