Sunday morning, Urban Meyer was not the coach of the Florida Gators. At that point, he was no different from any retired coach or teacher, watching the kids he taught showing Urban they learned everything from him. That was enough to make him reconsider if he really wanted to step away for good.
Meyer's U-turn, assuming that he does return after a leave of absence, is not unlike Billy Donovan's. Both made a decision to leave, only to come crawling back a day later. Donovan and Meyer both talked about their players and what they mean to them. As good of fathers Donovan and Meyer appear to be, each of them acts as fathers for kids that really need it. The Donovan and Meyer children are taken care of, so to speak. You see before and after games, as much a part of the festivities as Albert and Alberta. But consider of Donovan's 15 guys and more than 100 for Meyer, how many of them had no father, or at least one who was devoted to them. Consider how many came from broken homes or had to be raised by someone other than their parents.
Meyer enjoys his relationship with Tim Tebow and Joe Haden, both guys who came from relatively stable homes. But there is also Brandon Spikes, who has a brother in prison and a mother who raised him on a mill worker's salary. The term "father figure" seems like coach speak until you remember that some of these guys, throughout college sports, never had a devoted father.
Children want to make their parents proud and that is what Meyer saw Sunday morning. Jeremy Foley said it was the team acting professional, but being a pro is showing up and working. Meyer saw something extra in his team. We don't know if that something extra was missing all season, because we're not at every practice. But you have to assume, because of the pressures of this season, the weight of the world was at every practice. When your mind is on other things, you can't worry about making a proper cut or hitting the pad hard. Meyer's Saturday night statement liberated the players, in a sense. They were not out there for the glory of themselves or the name on their helmets. It was for Urban. That was enough to make him try to stick around while Urban gets healthy. There is no guarantee he comes back, but he wants to stay with Florida for the kids.