Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Urban Meyer is advised to look at how Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno handle stress

NEW ORLEANS — When he announced on Monday his plans to take an indefinite leave of absence, Florida coach Urban Meyer said he would seek advice from longtime coaches such as Steve Spurrier on how to better balance life and coaching.

CBS analyst Gary Danielson said Meyer should also take a serious look at the lives and careers of FSU's Bobby Bowden and Penn State's Joe Paterno.

"If I was Urban Meyer what I would do before I came back is sit down with Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno and ask, 'What's the secret?' " Danielson said. "You guys have been in the middle of college football for all these years; you still have so much joy and intensity for it. What am I not seeing?' What Bobby brought was — yes he was intense, yes he built his team to compete at the highest level — but he always had an outside interest. Whether it was his golf or his speaking or his family vacations, he could get away from it. Same with Joe with the library and raising money.

"These young coaches who have worked their way up need to find an alternative in their life besides family and football. When they are with football they think they miss their family. When they are with their family they think they miss football."

Meyer will coach the Gators in Friday's Sugar Bowl against his alma mater, Cincinnati, then will step away to spend more time with his family and focus on his health, he said. He has suffered from anxiety-type chest pains often over the past several years.

Meyer was hospitalized several hours after a loss in the Dec. 5 SEC Championship Game after suffering chest pains. In the 911 tape obtained by ESPN, Meyer's wife, Shelley, told dispatchers he awoke around 4 a.m., tried to get out of bed, then fell to the floor. Shelley Meyer said he had been taking the sleeping pill Ambien. He was breathing and had a pulse but she could not awaken him. Meyer originally told reporters he checked himself into the hospital and was treated for dehydration.

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit described Meyer as "emotional" and "distraught" when he spoke with him Saturday night shortly after Meyer announced his resignation. Sunday's about face of an indefinite leave indicates even Meyer probably doesn't know what he's ultimately going to do. Herbstreit said he believes Meyer and the Gators are trying to salvage this year's recruiting class while buying the coach some time to sort things out.

"The only thing I can think of is, for him to go there 15 hours later, 'Hey I'm gonna stay, just take an indefinite leave,' the only thing left to believe is that Florida's just trying to get through this bowl game and get through recruiting and let him make a real decision after he's had some time to think about it," Herbstreit said. "Does it put Florida in a tough position? Absolutely. You think Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban and Randy Shannon are talking to recruits about this? My guess is yeah."

EMOTIONALLY SPENT: Wednesday's practice at the Superdome marked the final full practice for UF seniors. The usually emotional "Senior Tackle" drill in which players can individually express their sentiments about their collegiate experience was much more subdued, players said.

"I think there have been so many emotional things over the last few days, this gets downplayed," senior QB Tim Tebow said. "It's still really special, but at least there wasn't as much crying and stuff that has been going on the last few days."

Antonya English can be reached at

fast facts

Sugar Bowl

Who: Florida (12-1) vs.

Cincinnati (12-0)

When/where: 8:30 p.m. Friday; Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans

TV: Ch. 13

Line: UF by 13

Urban Meyer is advised to look at how Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno handle stress 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.