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Texas' Alleged Interest in Nick Saban Still Adds Pressure to Mack Brown

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 20:  University of Texas head coach Mack Brown looks on as his team warms up before the Big 12 Conference game against the Baylor University Bears on October 20, 2012 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterSeptember 20, 2013

Yesterday, the Associated Press released a juicy report that two Texas regents, one current (Wallace Hall) and one former (Tom Hicks), spoke with Nick Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton, last January about the possibility of Saban leaving the Tide to coach the Longhorns. 

It's a laughable thought—unless it actually happens, in which case the universe will implode—but a more interesting part of the report came a few paragraphs in. 

Two days after the call with Sexton, Tom Hicks met with Brown over lunch and told him about the call, according to several people who spoke with the AP. He asked Brown if he was ready to retire.

Brown, who had just finished his 15th season at Texas, said he wanted to keep coaching and the matter was dropped.

While that sounds bad upon first glance, there's an important question that the AP was unable to answer: whether Sexton initiated the contact with Texas, or vice versa

If Sexton initiated it, that would be chalked up to him doing his job. By definition, that job is to make his clients, and by association, himself, as filthy rich as possible.

Saban denied knowledge of the alleged phone conversation Thursday night during his weekly radio show. In his own words, Saban said he's happy with his current job. There's reason to question that, though. Even though the prospect of Saban leaving Alabama for Texas is practically nonexistent, it's not like Saban's never been, shall we say, "misleading" about coaching rumors. 

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 14:  Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide waits near the bench during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The other possibility is that Hall and Hicks reached out to Sexton. Hall told the AP that a person he would not identify called him and proposed the meeting with Sexton. Hall then says he "withdrew from the process."

Whatever really happened, this is a bad distraction for a program trying to get back on the winning track. It also comes less than a week after Orangebloods.com reported that UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds would step down at year's end, something the university has denied publicly. 

When it comes to the future of Texas football, someone, or maybe multiple people, is either lying or talking without direct knowledge of the situation. In any case, Texas appears disjointed. Dodds has given his public support of Brown, and unlike other such votes of confidence, I tend to believe he actually means it. Brown and Dodds are close, and Texas is sitting in a pool of cash at the moment.

But it's not a good look if someone—a regent, booster or otherwise—is acting on their own to replace Brown.

Of course, a lot of the rumors and conjecture would go away if Texas wins the Big 12 like Brown has been preaching (and in convincing fashion) and dismantles Oklahoma next month. 

That can start Saturday by beating Kansas State, a team UT hasn't defeated since 2003. 

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

 

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