Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just What Urban Meyer's Doctors Ordered

Urban Meyer’s doctors should be somewhat relieved.

While they probably can’t be too happy that he has yet to officially start his leave of absence, clearly his actions in the recruiting arena over the last two weeks are paying off with big dividends—and ultimately may lead to the healthy recovery that he knows he needs.

Last week, going into the two biggest high-school all-star games in the country, the Florida Gators already had the #1 rated recruiting class in college football, with stud recruits like Jonathan Dowling, Demar Dorsey, Mack Brown, Ian Silberman, and Leon Orr having already firmly committed to the Gators.

However, Urban Meyer’s work on the phones and his coaching staff’s work in the field (Meyer didn’t travel much after the Sugar Bowl, instead sending out Steve Addazio and his staff for in-home visits) yielded major results over the last two weeks.

During yesterday’s U.S Army All-American Bowl and last week’s Under Armour All-American Game, the Gators received a bundle of verbal commitments during the live telecast of each game. DE Dominque Easley (NY), WR Chris Dunkley (FL) committed during the Under Armour game, while DE/TE Ronald Powell (CA), LB/RB Matt Elam (FL), and DT Sharrif Floyd (PA) committed during the US Army game. The nicest touch was seeing the US Army in the background doing the Gator Chomp during Ronald Powell’s commitment.

This brings the totals for the current 2010 Florida Gator recruiting class to 24 commitments, with a staggering 15 coming from ESPN 150 players. With the Gators still in the running for undeclared 4-star and 5-star players like offensive linemen Seantrel Henderson and Matt James, quarterbacks Jackson Jeffcoat and Andrew Hendrix, top linebacker Jordan Hicks, and receivers Christian Green, Ivan McCartney, Kadron Boone and Kyle Prater (who may be wavering on his USC commit with the recent Pete Carroll news), this class is truly stacking up to be one for the ages, and perhaps the best class ever.

So, even though Urban Meyer has continued to go in to the office following the Sugar Bowl (going against what Florida’s Athletic Director Jeremy Foley intended), it is clear that by doing so he has been able to not only salvage a very good recruiting class, but rather grow it into an all-time great one.

My best guess is that Urban Meyer will continue to go into the office and make calls to recruits up until National Signing day on February 3rd.

But after this class is signed, sealed and delivered, I hope Meyer takes some real time off, not only relaxing with his family and close friends, but also truly thinking about the personal changes he needs to make to ensure that he can continue to lead the Florida Gator football program while eliminating the high-levels of stress it brings to him.

My opinion is that Meyer brings a lot of stress upon himself throughout the football year, mainly because he is very ‘hands on’ as the head coach, and truly invests every ounce of energy he has directly into his players and coaches. To ultimately reduce his stress levels over the longer term, Meyer needs to figure out how to effectively incorporate the word ‘delegation’ into his personal management style as CEO of the Gators. Giving up coaching special teams would be the first step. Trusting his staff to handle more of the day-to-day decisions would be another step he could take. How to delegate in a way that works best for him is something that only he can do, and I'm sure that is what he means when he says he needs to take time to "figure it out".

However, regardless of whether Urban Meyer figures out how to change ‘HOW’ he manages the team, one thing is for sure… With the talent in the Gator’s 2010 recruiting class, his stress level should be greatly diminished over the next three years—which is just what the doctor ordered!

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