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urban meyer , coach urban meyer of Florida

There are tough coach jobs in the NFL and in college.

It comes with the territory.

This has been a strange week at the University of Florida. Urban Meyer, who has quickly built a legendary reputation as the best coach in the country, is ill. His Florida Gators football team is doing well, but his health is failing. And Meyer, ever headstrong, continues to work. Meyer, over the Christmas weekend, with his team ready to embark on its trip to the Sugar Bowl to face the Cincinnati Bearcats, announced he was resigning because of health issues. The next day he announced he had changed his mind and was staying on to coach, but taking an indefinite leave of absence.

There were contradictions everywhere in his Gainesville press conference and then more strange statements in what he said in New Orleans preparing for the Sugar Bowl. At Florida he spoke of family, the need to be with his young kids. The very next day, his phrases were very different. Terms like resignation and leave of absence were replaced by love of his players, dedication to the program and a need to be there. Not with his family, but with his football family.

In his younger days Urban Meyer was electric, vibrant and energized with the Falcons. Two years later, he took it up a notch upon taking the Utah head coaching job. He was pushing, demanding and overwhelming in the Mountain West Conference. People in the SEC say his stay at Florida has seen him become paranoid, isolated and over the top.

He look as if he's aged 100 years. Rail thin, gaunt, fraying, and graying. All this at age 45, from when I first knew him at age 32. He may be 56-10 with the Gators, but youíd think his teams were 10-56. Departed Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer said that coaching eats you up and spits you out until you have nothing left to give. There are never enough hours in the day to do it all. His early-season candor and vibrancy became nothing more than robo-quotes from a fatigued man and mind by the end of the season. And then you have playoff games to get ready for. He hasnít considered getting back into the game since his San Diego departure.

Bobby Ross, who led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance, once worked 96 hours in a six-day span during a run to the playoffs. He left coaching because of blood clot problems. But he also left coaching when he realized he could only enjoy wins for about 15 minutes. Once after an emotional Lions win against Green Bay, he got on the plane and started immediately worrying about how to beat the Minnesota Vikings. Dan Henning, who struggled badly as the Chargers coach, went through a painful transition from aging team to young team. He was a chain smoker and Coca-Cola drinker who spent nights in his office trying to figure out ways to make a perennial 6-10 team better. The bags under his eyes by late season made him look as if he had been on a binge. He had a football game-prep binge. A bad combo of losses, too much video and too little talent.

Urban Meyer looks like he has been held in some type of captivity. It looks like he has been in solitary confinement. In reality he has ó held captive by the Florida Gators program he has rebuilt. Imprisoned by the excessive expectation he has placed on himself and everyone who works around him ó every minute of every day.

This coach is 95-18 in what looks like a Hall of Fame career. I hope we remember him for what he did at Bowling Green, Utah and at Florida, and that we donít have to remember him for killing himself on the job while the whole college football nation looked on. Hired to be fired? Not Urban Meyer but let's hope his time out is as well done as his coaching career.

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Blackjack Rules

In blackjack, you are trying to draw cards that total 21, or come closest to 21 than those held by the dealer without exceeding that number. To begin, the dealer deals two cards to each player. The dealer's first card faces up, the second faces down. All face cards (King, Queen, Jack) count as 10 each. All other cards count at face value except for the Ace, which counts as a 1 or 11 as you decide. (An Ace and a 6, for example, could be counted as a seventeen or a seven.) An Ace with any 10, Jack, Queen or King is a Blackjack. If you have a Blackjack, show the hand immediately and the dealer will pay you one and 1/2 times your bet. (Unless the dealer also has a Blackjack. In this case, the hand is a "push" (tie) and neither wins.)

If you do not have a Blackjack, you can ask the dealer to "hit" you, that is, give you another card. To indicate that you want to hit, scrape the cards across the table in a gesture similar to if you were pulling something towards you off of the table. You may draw as many cards as you like (one at a time), but if you go over 21, you "bust" and lose the hand. At that point, you must return your cards face up on the table immediately. If you do not want to "hit", you may "stand" by sliding your cards face down under your bet. After all players are satisfied with their hands, the dealer will then turn his down card face up and stand or draw as necessary. The dealer must draw to any count up to and including 16, and stand on 17. (Note: Some casinos require that the dealer stand on any 17 while others require that they hit a "soft" 17. A soft seventeen is an Ace and any other combination of cards that adds up to 17 (Example:  A, 6 or A, 2, 4). The odds say that it is to the players advantage when the dealer has to stand on a soft 17. To determine if the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17, look at the table. The house rule will be printed on the felt surface or posted on a sign at the corner of the table.)

Some casinos will offer single and double deck games that are dealt by hand. Others will offer games that use up to eight decks of cards and a "shoe" (plastic box) to hold the cards. Some casinos will allow you to hold your cards in one hand while others will only deal the game face up and not allow you to touch the cards. If you are allowed to handle your cards and you want a hit, drag the cards along the table surface towards you to indicate your request. If you want to stand, simply slide your cards face down under your bet. If you are not allowed to handle your cards, and you want to hit, drag your hand across the table surface towards you. To stand, wave your hand over the table. Your dealer will explain the gestures to you if you are not sure.

You should become familiar with the following terms before you play:

Blackjack : Any Ace with a 10 value card (10, J, Q, K). Pays one and 1/2 times your bet.

Bust: When you draw cards that add up to 22 or more over 21. If you bust, flip your cards face up and give them up to the dealer.

Hit : When you want to receive another card when you are below 21.

Splitting Pairs: When your first two cards are the same denomination (Example: 8, 8), you may "split" the pair into two separate hands and play each hand individually. You must wager the same amount as your original bet on each hand. Note that if you split Aces, you only get one card for each Ace. And, if the card you receive is a 10 value card, it is not Blackjack.

Doubling Down: If you are dealt a 10 or 11 and think you can win with only one more card, turn both cards face up and place another bet next to your original bet and up to or equal to the amount of original bet you placed. You will then be dealt one more card, face down. If your 3 cards beats the dealers hand (or if the dealer busts), you win on both bets placed. If your hand does not beat the dealer, you lose both bets. Note that some casinos will allow you to double on any 2 cards or on 9, 10 or 11. Ask your dealer if you are unsure what the house's policy is.

Insurance: If the dealers "up" (face up) card is an Ace, you will be offered insurance. Here you are betting that the dealer has a ten value card in the "hole" (face down). You can bet only 1/2 of your original bet. If the dealer does have a Blackjack, your original bet loses but your insurance bet is paid 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, he takes your insurance bet. However, after he takes your insurance bet, the game continues and you are still playing a normal hand with your original bet.

Even Money: If a player has a Blackjack, and the dealer has an Ace up, the player may request "even money" in lieu of insurance prior to the dealer checking his "hole" (face down) card. The player forfeits the chance to be paid one and 1/2 times the bet if the dealer does not have a Blackjack also. But, the player avoids the "push" (tie) and get paid even money if the dealer does have a Blackjack.

Stand: When you don't want any more cards.

Push: A tie with the dealer.  Neither wins.

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