Meyer's announcement keeps Stoops at OU

Oklahoma fans can rest a little bit easier after Florida coach Urban Meyer was offered and accepted an indefinite leave of absence to reclaim his old job.

It means that Bob Stoops will remain at Oklahoma for the immediate future -- and probably well beyond it.

Stoops was mentioned among the favorites if Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley needed to find a permanent replacement for Meyer.

But when Meyer told reporters Sunday in New Orleans he would like to still coach the Gators, it will mean he'll have to keep his list of replacements unchecked.

Along with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, Boise State coach Chris Petersen and maybe even former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan or Arizona coach Mike Stoops, the Oklahoma coach would have been a likely candidate to be interviewed for the Gators' head coaching position.

Stoops is familiar with the program after serving as defensive coordinator for three seasons under Steve Spurrier from 1996 until he was hired by the Sooners in 1998 to replace John Blake.

The Oklahoma coach still keeps his condominium in Crescent Beach, Fla., and visits there often with his family.

But Meyer's leave of absence quashes any need for an immediate replacement to coach the Gators.

Sooner fans can be thankful for that announcement.