Chomping at the Bit: Urban Meyer Putting Health First For Florida Gators

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2010

2010 will be Urban Meyer's sixth season as the head coach of the Florida Gators.
2010 will be Urban Meyer's sixth season as the head coach of the Florida Gators.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Chomping at the Bit is Joseph Morgan's weekly take on Florida Gators football. This series will consist of reactions to the current season, as well as any other Gator news.

Current Record: 0-0

Current Ranking: No. 3

Next Game: Sept. 4, Miami (OH)


Urban Meyer holds "executive physicals" for Gators coaching staff

Since going to the emergency room with severe chest pains following Florida's SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama and his subsequent resignation-turned leave of absence, Urban Meyer has faced endless questions concerning his health.

In order to ensure that he, as well as the rest of his coaching staff, maintains a healthy lifestyle, Meyer held "executive physicals" for his coaching staff, which included blood panels, stress tests, and physicals.

Here's what Meyer, who was diagnosed with esophageal spasms, told the Associated Press about this new focus on coaches' health:

"I made our staff [undergo the 'executive physicals']," Meyer said. "It's nonnegotiable. We're going to take this day and we're going to take care of some business here.

"I think our coaches have been brought up in an environment to just work through everything, just go work a little harder, as opposed to let's take advantage of these great resources here at Florida and make sure everybody's alright."

I think that I speak on behalf of the entire Gator Nation when I say that I'm happy that Meyer is putting an extra focus on his health and that he wants to prevent his coaching staff from becoming overworked.


Chris Rainey held out of practice due to irregular heartbeat

While on the topic of health, redshirt junior Chris Rainey has missed several practices due to what has been called a "racing" heart rate.

However, since undergoing a non-intrusive medical procedure, the running back turned receiver has participated in non-contact drills and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni expects Rainey to go full speed this week.

With the losses of tight end Aaron Hernandez and wide receiver Riley Cooper to the NFL, the Florida offense will need Rainey to step up and help Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore in the passing game.

Hopefully, Rainey's recent heart issue is just a small hiccup and he'll have no future complications.


Jordan Haden to transfer

Just days after his brother, running back Josh Haden, announced his decision to transfer to Florida, safety Jordan Haden has decided to transfer to a different school. 

Jordan, a true freshman, enrolled in January and went through spring practice and summer conditioning with the Gators before he was given his release by the Florida coaching staff Monday.

While it's easy to speculate that Josh's pending arrival could have something to do with Jordan's decision to leave Gainesville, the most likely reason is future playing time.

The Gators have a loaded secondary, especially at safety, with senior Ahmad Black, junior Will Hill, and true freshmen Jonathan Dowling and Matt Elam.

Also, if 5-star athlete James Wilder commits to Florida, then he could very possibly join the safety mix for the Gators.

I wish Jordan Haden the best and I'm sad to see him go.


Update: Tim Tebow and other Gator rookies in the NFL

Tim Tebow made his debut for the Denver Broncos in a 33-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, completing eight of his 13 passes for 105 yards.

The former Heisman Trophy winner also had two carries for 10 yards and a rushing touchdown in a performance that Alex Marvez of characterized as a disappointment.

So, Marvez writes a column about how Tebow has a lot of work to do if he wants to succeed as an NFL quarterback and all the while, complains about the hype surrounding Tebow.

Nothing new or interesting there.

As for the other Gator rookies, Mike Reiss of had glowing reviews of linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes, and tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Reiss on Cunningham: "At the least, he should be rushing the passer in specific packages and looks like the team's fastest outside linebacker."

On Spikes: "It wouldn't be a surprise if he's in the starting lineup on opening day alongside Jered Mayo."

On Hernandez: "There has been a lot to like from Hernandez, whose route-running, speed, and sticky hands have had Tom Brady looking in his direction often."

For more on the three former Gators playing for New England, follow the link above.

As for the highest Florida draft pick, Joe Haden performed well while starting at cornerback for the injured Eric Wright, recording three solo tackles and a pass deflection in Cleveland's 27-24 victory over Green Bay.


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