Gators assistants plan to sustain program while Urban Meyer rests

GAINESVILLE – The night of Dec. 26 hit the Florida coaching staff like a Tyson right. Coach Urban Meyer had dropped the sonic boom that he was resigning.

“We went 26-2 and thought we had to look for new jobs,” said defensive line coach Dan McCarney about the team’s performance the last two years.

Almost a month later, Gators assistants are basking in the glory of the country’s top recruiting class while Meyer already is looking healthier.

Though four assistants have left the program since December, the five remaining have stayed together while providing program stability and supporting Meyer, who will take a leave of absence after National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

Meyer looks to find a balance between family and work while discovering the problem behind his chest pains and anxiety issues.

Interim coach Steve Addazio, co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, tight ends coach Brian White, quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and McCarney have helped the Gators win a Sugar Bowl, recruit four five-star oral commitments and help Meyer hire four new assistants.

These five probably had chances to bolt. McCarney was a finalist for the South Florida job and Loeffler was in heavy consideration for Central Michigan’s head coach.

But Heater said the coaches have no problem staying in Gainesville because they aren’t ready to give up on Meyer, especially with his energetic spirit in recent weeks. Coaches say Meyer has learned to delegate more while still visiting the office and calling recruits.