Even though Urban Meyer is still hard at work trying to close out what looks like a special recruiting class, the head ball coach, by all accounts, is already finding ways to relieve some of the stress that has been building around him for years. He’s sleeping in some mornings, working out, eating right, and generally feeling better.
After signing day, Meyer will begin his indefinite leave of absence. The prediction here is he could be back as soon as the start of spring practice, rejuvenated and ready to coach again.
Whenever he does come back, Meyer will probably have to take a slightly different approach to certain things. As UF athletic director Jeremy Foley has said, those at UF (and others) need to help Meyer any way they can.
I’m not an expert on these sort of things, but I’m offering some ways to make Meyer’s job easier (and less stressful) when he gets back:
- No more special teams. Meyer has a passion for coaching the special teams, but it’s an exhausting job, especially when you consider how hands-on he is in all aspects of his team. Meyer needs to delegate here, hand the special teams coordinator duties over to new assistant coach D.J. Durkin, who coached the special teams at Stanford. Less responsibility will mean less stress.
- Drop the booster tour. UF wore out Meyer with all the Gator Gatherings he had to attend around the state (and other parts of the nation) when he first got here. Meyer’s schedule has since been curtailed. Now, it’s time to send the assistants to all these events and let Meyer get away and enjoy his late spring and early summer. Boosters may not like it, but hey, they see Meyer enough as it is, and hopefully they appreciate him (and what he does) more than ever now.
- Get a regular golf schedule going. This is what has kept Steve Spurrier fresh over the years. Meyer played some in the past but hasn’t had much time for it since he’s been here. Golf is the great escape from job stress, and it’s time for Meyer to make the game part of his new wellness plan.
- Take at least month off every year. Other coaches do it, why can’t Meyer? Real vacations with the family are always a good thing. If Steve Addazio can vacation in Italy (which he did last summer), then the Meyers can do something similar to really get away for a while.
- Cut out those long nights at the office during the season. Coaches (including Meyer) tend to look at tape over and over until they’re bleary eyed, searching for an edge. Usually, if you don’t find an edge after the first few viewings, it’s not there, so go home. Many coaches have found this out the hard way over the years.
- Advice for the fans on this: Leave the man alone. Let him go to a restaurant and eat in peace. And stop hounding him for autographs wherever he goes (this really goes for those who hang out outside the practice field waiting for Meyer to exit). Like Spurrier used to tell the fans, you can get autographs on fan day (a few weeks before the start of the season). So, for the fans: stop asking. For Meyer: stop signing.