Gators' Meyer back in routine

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He resigned, then returned. He took a leave of absence, then kept working. He guarded details about his health like a playbook, then revealed a few. He finally stepped away, then enjoyed the downtime so much he promised to do it again.

The past eight months have been far from routine for Florida coach Urban Meyer, who provided the college football world with more twists and turns than Percy Harvin in the open field.

Now, he's back -- again -- and looks healthy, re-energized and eager to lead the Gators to the Southeastern Conference championship game for the fourth time in five years.

"I feel great, especially when I get to see what kind of team we have," Meyer said. "It's a good-looking team."

Meyer opened up about his condition at the league's spring meetings in Sandestin, Fla., telling reporters he had been diagnosed with esophageal spasms and is taking prescription medication to minimize the attacks.

He returned to work weighing more than he normally does during the season and walking with a bounce in his step.

"He's the same guy. He hasn't slacked off or anything," center Mike Pouncey said.

NORTH CAROLINA: Former North Carolina player Kentwan Balmer paid for his college teammates, Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas , to travel to California in the summer of 2009, Thomas said.

Thomas did not provide financial details, or the dates, but said he and Austin worked out at Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, Calif. in the summer before the 2009 season.

Their position coach was John Blake , North Carolina's associate head coach.

Austin and Blake's relationship with California-based agent Gary Wichard has become a part of the NCAA investigation into the North Carolina program.

TRAGEDY STRIKES: The father of three players at Football Bowl Subdivision schools was among the five people killed in a plane crash in Alaska.

William Phillips Sr. died in the crash that also claimed the life of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens .

Among Phillips' sons who play collegiately are Andrew Phillips , a senior starting guard at Stanford; Colter Phillips, a sophomore tight end at Virginia; and Paul Phillips , a freshman tight end at Indiana.


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