GAINESVILLE -- Stoic Urban Meyer revealed his soft side on Monday during his weekly press conference.
Saturday home game against Florida State (6-5) will be Senior Day for the top-ranked Gators (11-0) and UF's coach paused several times on Monday to hold back tears when asked about his senior class, which will leave Florida having won more games than any other recruiting class in SEC history. After being asked a question about his first senior class, Meyer said, "We didn't have the same bond as maybe we did with this group, but ..."
Meyer then went speechless for 27 seconds. He bowed his head, wrinkled his nose and fought back the tears. It was the most emotion Meyer has displayed publicly since he has been at Florida. Meyer collected himself and offered some levity. "No more interviews this week, man," he said. "Yeah, it's going to be a tough week."
More long pauses followed. Meyer choked up when asked about former UF walk-on quarterback Michael Guilford, who died during a motorcycle wreck on Oct. 12, 2007. After a 19-second refrain, Meyer said, "Mike, we're going to invite his family down. He's a part of this group and, once again, you take Mike out of this process and that really stung this football team. And he's got a terrific family and we'll just do the best we can to make that family feel at peace with what he did here, because he was a phenomenal young man and phenomenal member of this team. So he'll be part of Senior Day."
Florida's coach was again emotional when asked about the impact Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has had on Meyer personally.
"It think he's had the same impact on me he has had on college football," Meyer said. "I know he's had on my children..." Meyer then paused for 14 seconds before continuing. "The one thing about Tim is the unselfishness and his mission outside of college football is unparalleled as far as I'm concerned. The impact he's made, it's almost like selflessness is now a cool thing. Like, kids realizing to give back. If you can brighten someone's day you do it. And I think the impact he has made on this team is phenomenal -- and this coaching staff. It's very noticeable behind closed doors more than probably what you [reporters] see. It's a significant impact."