Senior Day to be emotional


Urban Meyer, show in this picture after the Florida-Kentucky game, has a special bond with his seniors.

Tricia Coyne/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, November 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 23, 2009 at 5:29 p.m.

Florida coach Urban Meyer has talked for weeks about how emotional it's going to be to say farewell to Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes and the other seniors on Senior Day this Saturday in The Swamp.

On Monday, we saw just how emotional.

At his weekly news conference, Meyer had a hard time talking about his seniors, pausing several times to choke back tears.

"Yeah, it's going to be a tough week," Meyer said after struggling through one 30-second pause.

Meyer could not talk about the seniors without getting emotional Monday.

It started when he was asked how tough this Senior Day was going to be compared to his first at Florida in 2005.

"This is going to be a tough one, a tough week," Meyer said. "We didn't have the same bond that we have with this group ..."

Meyer then had to pause for almost 30 seconds as he fought back tears.

Meyer became emotional again a few minutes later when he was asked if Michael Guilford would be honored in some way on Senior Day. Guilford, a walk-on and popular scout team quarterback, died in a motorcycle accident during the bye week of the 2007 season. He would be a senior now.

"He'll be ...," Meyer managed to get out before tears came to his eyes.

A few seconds later, Meyer was able to finish.

"Yeah, we're going to invite his family down," Meyer said. "He's part of this group."

The next question also got to Meyer, when he was asked what kind of impact All-America quarterback Tim Tebow has had on him.

"I think he's had the same impact on me he's had on college football," Meyer said. "I know he's had it on my children ..."

Meyer started to well up again before finishing his thought a few seconds later.

"One thing about Tim is his unselfishness. His mission outside of football is unparalleled. The impact he's made ... like selflessness is a cool thing now.

"I think the impact he's made on this team and these coaches is phenomenal. It's very noticeable behind closed doors that it's a significant impact."

Obviously, Meyer is very close to Tebow and these seniors, and this is going to an emotional week, culminating with an emotional Senior Day on Saturday.

"It's going to be real emotional now that it's coming down to our last game in The Swamp," senior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham said. "After four years, it's the end of the road."

Cunningham was in the back of the room earlier Monday when Meyer struggled with his emotions when talking about the seniors.

"That was pretty emotional," Cunningham said. "Most of the time, he's not like that. I think he's thinking about Senior Day and how close this team is.

"Everybody loves Coach Meyer. There's no other place I'd rather be than here. The coach/player relationship is second to none. We have great coaches and a great group of guys."

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or at andreur@gvillesun.com.

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