January 18, 2010
to see why the lick might appeal to the58-year-old Saban, who has been knownto switch allegiances. “It was a great es-cape or him,” said Terry, who also sworethat Nick’s cellphone was turned o or theentire two hours and 40 minutes. Asked i her husbandever totally lets go o his job—lately a hot topic inhis line o work—Terry an-swered, “Not really enough.The 32-day preparation orthis game: [He was] burn-ing the candle at bothends.” Then, unprompted,she expressed concern orher husband’s biggest rival.“I really eel or [Floridacoach] Urban Meyer, andunderstand and empathize with him and hisamily. Because I see what happens.”
this season? Thedeending national championGators went into the SEC cham-pionship game on Dec. 5 as solid avoritesto beat Alabama and continue their marchto a third national title in our seasons. Butthere was Tim Tebow with two minutes let, weeping on the Florida bench, his team onits way to a crushing 32–13 loss. At 4:27the ollowing morning, Shelly Meyer dialed911, calmly explaining to the operator thather husband, Urban, had awakened withchest pains, then allen to the bedroom oor, where he was breathing but unresponsive.Could Florida’s all have been more pre-cipitous? The last time a burgeoning dynasty was taken down this quickly and efciently,Michael Corleone was attending his nephew’s baptism. No doubt the Gators have circledOct. 2 on their calendars; that’s when Florida visits Tuscaloosa or the frst regular-seasonmeeting between the schools since 2006.But who will be calling the shots on theFlorida sideline that aternoon? In the daysater Meyer retired, then went on “indefniteleave” in the wake o his medical emergency, we learned that even though his heart washealthy, he’d been experiencing chest pains ortwo years. At a Sugar Bowl press conerence beore the New Year’s Day game, the 45-year-old Meyer revealed that his gut told him he’d be back coaching next season, a vow he has re-peated to recruits. Thoseassurances appear to behelping the Gators holdon to what is shaping upto be one o the nation’stop classes. As it happens,Saban is on a pretty air recruiting streak himsel.“I guarantee you,” said a smiling Terry Saban, as she watched her spouse o 38 years,“he’s already thinking about next week.”Did the couple have plans? “He said he’llgive me two days,” Terry said, “and then hehas to meet with some o the players aboutgoing out or the [NFL] drat.”Two days? “Two days,” she re-peated. “And I’ll take it.”Maybe they’d go to the movies,she said. On Christmas Day they saw
.“He loved it,” said Terry. “He was on the edge o his seat.” In James Cameron’s epic the heroleaves his “team” or a superiorcivilization, whose army he thenleads to a climactic victory over hisold one. It’s not much o a stretch
second time in six years the stern-lookingcoach stood on a stage surrounded by overjoyedathletes, holding a crystal ootball over his head. AsNick Saban dutiully went down the list o dignitar-ies he needed to thank, the expression on his acecould best be described as a kind o semigrimace. At the pinnacle o his sport ater leading Alabamato its frst national title in 17 years—a 37–21 victory over a woundedTexas team in the BCS championship game last Thursday night atthe Rose Bowl—Saban reminded us that those best equipped to winchampionships are oten the least equipped to celebrate them.
b o b r o s a t o ( r i c h a r d s o n )
Richardson(3) ran or twoscores, whileDareus (57)turned McCoy(let) into acheerleader,then returned aninterception ora touchdown.
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