#3 Ohio State has a massive game at #14 Oklahoma on Saturday night. Two bluebloods, under the lights, with big-time coaches leading them. A game like that calls for a big pre-game speech. And you know Urban Meyer has given more than a few in his day.
Except Meyer told Bleacher Report that he used to write speeches and then have no recollection that he wrote them.
The fact that Meyer is discussing something pertaining to mental health and stress isn’t exactly a surprise. That seemed to be at least be somewhat of a contributing factor to why he retired from coaching, only to come back a season later, but the details he shared with Bleacher Report are shocking.
Like this: “The only help Urban took was Ambien for his sleep. One a night at first, and then two, washing them down with beer.”
That sounds like a bad night. Except according to his wife, Shelley, that wasn’t a bad night. That was “every night.” Adding “it’s highly addictive. He couldn’t sleep without it.”
And even then, it doesn’t sound like he slept much even with it. The article explains that “he didn’t sleep much—maybe four hours a night—and it was a feverish, desperate sort of sleep, his mind incapable of stopping its search for problems to worry over and try to solve. He often woke up to find that, sometime in the night, he had filled dozens of pages with football plays and motivational speeches. He remembered writing none of it.”
Look, on one hand, this isn’t that unusual. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t have trouble sleeping at times. Hell, everyone I know has trouble sleeping at times. Because these are challenging times. I’m not sure there has ever been a more chaotic, challenging time in my life, that I can recall. I’m sure we’d be shocked to find out how many take something to help them sleep at night. But not everyone is slamming MULTIPLE AMBIEN, chasing it with beer, and waking up in the middle of the night to fill up a diary, only to forget ever doing it the next morning.
I’m guessing coaching Division I football at the highest level is stressful as hell. I’m not denying that dude has very stressful gig. I’m saying, if you can’t do it without slamming a handful of Ambien and chasing it with some beer, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work; no matter how good you are at your job.
Everyone knew he was a hard driver, not sure anyone outside his family knew just how hard he was driving himself. And make no mistake, some of the guys he brought to Florida weren’t exactly making his life less stressful off the field. Guys like Chris Rainey, Aaron Hernandez and the rest of the Gators who had a habit of getting arrested, which probably contributed to Meyer’s habit of hitting Ambien.
Meyer says that he weaned himself off Ambien over the course of six months and that he’s dealing with stress and other issues better now, and you’d pretty much have to think that’s the case, because I’m not sure how much longer he could’ve kept on coaching while medicating like that. You do what you have to do to get through it. Unless you have to pill up every night to get through it. Taking the edge off it is one thing, slamming pharmaceuticals to deal with it is another.