Assistants get 'executive physicals'

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Urban Meyer doesn't want his assistants to ignore their health the way he did for years.

Meyer made his staff undergo "executive physicals" following spring practice in April, something the head coach rarely did during the first 20-plus years of his career.

The extensive checkups included blood panels, stress tests and physicals. It was the first time many of Florida's coaches had ever gone through such detailed exams.

"I'd never had one like that before," co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said Tuesday at Florida's annual media day.

Meyer said one assistant "had an issue that turned out to be very fixable."

"I've had ridiculous amounts of correspondence or people who have, because of what happened, said, 'You know what, I'm going to get checked out,'" Meyer said. "I made our staff; it's nonnegotiable. We're going to take this day and we're going to take care of some business here.

"I think 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 all right," he said.

Meyer resigned in late December, citing health concerns three weeks after he was rushed to a hospital with chest pain. He changed his mind the following day and instead decided to take a leave of absence.

Meyer scaled back in January -- he didn't go on the road recruiting -- but still worked steadily through national signing day. He returned for spring practice in March but managed to take significant time off before and after.

He went to Hawaii with his wife, traveled to Rome and saw the Pope, took a trip to Israel, visited the Masters golf tournament with his daughter and took in a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game.

He said it was the first offseason in which he stepped away for days at a time.

"I'm going to do that again," said Meyer, who was diagnosed with esophageal spasms and is now taking prescription medication. "I think I've learned something."