Urban Meyer doesn't know if, when he'll return to coaching
TAMPA - Some days, Urban Meyer misses being a head coach in college football. He feels the pull of the sidelines. He wants to win again. Other days, he doesn't miss it at all. Meyer, the former University of Florida coach who is a first-year ESPN analyst, said at today's Outback Bowl luncheon that he's not certain when he might jump back into coaching, despite incessant rumors that have linked him to Ohio State or becoming Joe Paterno's successor at Penn State. "That's all part of it,'' said Meyer, 47. "I'm used to it. You guys (reporters) have a job to do. I'm respectful of anybody who has these jobs. I answer the questions the best I can. But the truth is, I don't know.''What Meyer does know – and what his wife, Shelley, constantly affirms – is his current lifestyle has made things easier on his family. He leaves on Thursday night for the game site and works ESPN's noon Big Ten Conference telecasts. He's back home in the early evening on Saturdays. Two of his daughters play Division I volleyball – Nicki at Georgia Tech, Gigi at Florida Gulf Coast University – and his son, Nate, plays 12-year-old football. "I see a lot of their games,'' Meyer said. "Before, I couldn't see hardly any of them. I've seen more games in the past two months that I saw in the past six years. I'm doing things most dads wish they could do.'' Meyer was 65-15 in six seasons at Florida, including national championships in 2006 and 2008. His final game was a 37-24 victory against Penn State in last season's Outback Bowl.After taking a three-month leave of absence following the 2009 season, then enduring a 7-5 regular season in 2010, Meyer announced his retirement from coaching last Dec. 8. He said he had health concerns and wanted to spend more time with his family. He said he had chest pains and severe headaches, related to stress. "If I ever went back, I'd have to get back the little bit of balance I once had,'' said Meyer, who added he was "miserable'' over the summer, but that feeling has subsided. "I don't know if I'm there yet. I went off the deep end. I'm not going to let a job consume me (again). I think it did. We created a monster. "It's about discipline, personal discipline, exercising, eating right, taking breaks. You can blame everybody else you want, but I've got to have balance in my life. You can blame your job. You can blame your boss. You can blame the media. In the end, it's you.'' Meyer, who still lives in Gainesville, said he is following Will Muschamp's Gators with great interest. He still believes the Gators can win the SEC East, saying they must rebound from the roster's overall youth and an injury to starting quarterback John Brantley. "I still talk to some of the guys, but it is strange (watching Florida),'' Meyer said. "I still bleed with them. When Johnny Brantley hurt his ankle against Alabama, that was a tough one. That Alabama team is loaded and Florida was playing really well when he went down. "They just need to find a way to beat Auburn (on Saturday night), keep going to win the SEC East and get to Atlanta. Will is a great guy and I'm always there for him. I'm respectful of that chair. I've been in that chair. But it's his show.'' One day, Meyer again will have his own show. Maybe. "I don't know, I truly don't know right now,'' Meyer said. "I want to show respect for the coaches who have jobs. Most of these programs already have coaches. "Somebody hit me last week with, 'Did you meet with so-and-so?' It's based on a source. Who's the source? Some guy walking down the street? I guess that's all part of it. But right now I'm looking forward to the broadcasting, being with my family. Right now, I'm living the dream.''