Society makes us jaded and cynical. We have trouble accepting candid, literal speech. We parse words for conspiraces, codes and shady dealings. Why did Urban Meyer really retire? He just told us. He’s unhappy. He’s burned out. He wants to reconnect with his family and his religion. These are natural human yearnings. He’s made enough money. This probably isn’t some elaborate ruse to reunite with Tebow and get the Denver Broncos job.
How do you walk away from Florida? With two national championships. Coaching in the SEC gives you access to the talent to compete for a national title. It’s also a hellish, draining 24/7 existence. The stress is unyielding and constant. The recruiting is insane. Obsessive fans, boosters and media are waiting with knives drawn for the moment you show any vulnerability. It’s an elite job, but not necessarily a dream job. With your competitive thurst satiated, it becomes a grind, its no longer enjoyable. The same thing happened to Steve Spurrier and he left.
Will Meyer coach again and where? I think so. He’s only 46. Once you have the health scare, I think you throw out the NFL stress as a possibility. He probably recharges for a year or three and adds another urgently needed middle-aged white guy to CBS’ SEC coverage. It would take a special job to coax him out of retirement. That job is probably not in the SEC. He’s a Midwest guy and a devout Catholic. If Brian Kelly doesn’t work out, returning to Notre Dame is a possibility. I think Ohio State would be a strong temptation for him when Tressel retires. The man with the sweater-vest is 58. He negotiated an elaborate, explicit retirement package into his contract. He’s not going to be Paterno. Meyer grew up an Ohio State fan and had his first college coaching job there. This could happen within the next few years.
What happens to Florida? They should be fine. We saw this season. Meyer is human. Moreover, his role has been misunderstood. He’s a great head coach. He’s a leader. He recruits well. He spots talented coaches such as Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong and promotes them. He’s everything you want, but he’s not an offensive mastermind that’s going to leave Florida flailing without his genius. He’s never been a coordinator or a play caller. He went straight from WRs coach to head coach at Bowling Green.
Who is the replacement? Florida can do what it wants. They have the clout and the cash to go for a big name coach. Would Chris Petersen really turn down Florida to coach at Boise State? Stoops will always be in the rumor mill. If the goal is to have someone by Christmas, it won’t be Chip Kelly. They can also opt for continuity. Meyer’s former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen seems like an obvious choice. Charlie Strong could be in the mix as well. Whoever it is, it’s hard not to win there with the talent they can attract. Even Ron Zook recruited the core of a National Title winning team. They have the pieces to win next season.
What does this mean for Miami? The Hurricanes are the big losers in this scenario. Florida is the Miami job, but better in every perceivable way. Florida will be the first choice of Miami’s first-choice candidates, i.e. Mullen. If the Florida athletic department wanted to be real dicks, they could leak that every single one of Miami’s candidates were on their “list.” Miami let go of a coach who recruited well, got them to bowl games and ran a clean program. With names like Bo Pelini floating around, they are seriously overestimating their gravitas and drawing power as a program.
The likeliest scenario now seems like it will be overpaying Randy Edsall or an unproven SEC assistant who they hope will recruit well, get them to bowl games and run a clean program. Well done.