The sudden resignation of Urban Meyer earlier this week set off a feeding frenzy of rumor, speculation and idiocacy across the web. Everyone with a pulse has put forth candidates for Jeremy Foley. Gator Nation is enjoying this, feeling good about themselves as potential savior coaches are bandied about. Nevermind that the most successful coach in Florida history has just quit on the program. Not much of a pause to consider what an amazing run it was and how lucky we were to catch lightning in a bottle (as well as quite a few breaks on the field). And to be honest, I’m as guilty as anyone of scrubbing my memory.
Meyer’s return this year soured his legecy for our spoiled fanbase. As opposed to last December, the news hit me this year with barely a shrug. Last year, we were stunned. And although it only lasted a day before he announced he would take a leave of absence instead, it was still a shocking 24 hours. But this year, I didn’t blink. My heat rate didn’t change. I immediately thought it was the right move and good for both parties. How is that even possible?
Meyer won two national titles in six seasons. He continually pulled in top 3 recruiting classes. With Meyer on the sidelines, Florida has been a national powerhouse. Had he walked away after last year’s meltdown, it would have been devastating but honorable. He loves his family and had serious health concerns. Instead, he was talked into coming back, whether by Foley, Machen, Marotti or Addazio, but didn’t have the same passion and fire that made him a successful coach. Every Gator fan last year, when faced with the thought of Meyer leaving for good or coming back and cutting back on what made him great thought the latter was good enough. We were all wrong and so was Meyer. But should we blame Meyer for giving it a try? We are all complicit because we all wanted it.
So we sit here today, a few days after the announcement, and we barely think about Meyer anymore. Most of Gator Nation is obsessed with the latest rumor to be set adrift by the cyber rumor mill. Yesterday it was Chris Petersen. Today it is Bob Stoops. Tomorrow it will be someone else. But whether it is either of those guys or Dan Mullen or Charlie Strong or Jim Harbaugh, it will be a tough act to follow. Meyer restored Gator Nation’s sense of entitlement after the misery of the Zook years. It’s just too bad that our inflated image of our program will prevent us from seeing nothing but greatness in Meyer’s time here. Instead, we’ll remember how it ended without the humility to realize that even on the down note, it was still a legendary run.