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Could Mack Brown step down at Texas?

Mack Brown TexasThe eyes (and ears) of Texas will be focused again on Texas coach Mack Brown this weekend.

Brown’s Longhorns visit Baylor on Saturday. Although the game could produce the Big 12 champion, Brown’s future as Texas coach will be one of the bigger storylines playing out.

A “high-ranking Texas official” told SI.com that no decision has been made on Brown’s future. Still, the season-long speculation, which has included rumors of Nick Saban replacing Brown, increases as the Longhorns cap their regular-season campaign against the ninth-ranked Bears.

“It’s up in the air,” a source told SI’s Pete Thamel regarding Brown’s future. “My thought is he’ll probably do the right thing for himself and Texas and step down. But coaches have something in their DNA that don’t normally let them do that. How many times have you seen it? With [Joe] Paterno or [Bobby] Bowden? People forget Darrell Royal was 5-5-1 in his last season.”

The late Royal, though, was a god at Texas. Brown hasn’t reached that rarefied air despite guiding the ‘Horns to the 2005 BCS national championship after stunning USC and the 2009 title game before falling to Alabama. Brown, who hasn’t made any public comments regarding his future, is under contract until 2020 at $5.4 million per season. When rumors about Nick Saban having interest in the Texas job arose, Brown’s agent threatened legal action against anyone trying to force out his client. But the years left on Brown’s contract mean little since the wealthy Longhorns’ program could provide him a generous buyout. Brown is expected to meet at some point to discuss his future with recently-hired athletic director Steve Patterson and school president Bill Powers.

A win over Baylor would put Patterson in an awkward position, particularly if Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma on Saturday, giving the conference championship to the Longhorns. After opening the season 1-2, Brown has led Texas (8-3) to wins in seven of its past eight games, including a dominating 36-20 upset of Oklahoma on Oct. 12. He fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after losing to BYU in the second game of the season. The Longhorns bounced back, a Nov. 16 loss to Oklahoma State being the only blemish during their last eight games.

Still, as much as many Longhorn die-hards continue to call for Brown’s head, it would be a difficult scenario for Patterson to deliver it if the 62-year-old coach wins out and decides he wants to return. Brown also carries considerable weight with Powers, who probably would nix any attempt by Patterson to relieve the coach of his duties. But Brown also could be weary of critics calling for his dismissal or for him to step down. Or, as some have suggested, Brown should “do the right thing.”

DeLoss Dodds stepping down as Texas AD spells bad news for Mack Brown

DeLoss DoddsDeLoss Dodds reportedly will announce on Tuesday that he will step down as the athletic director at Texas on Aug. 31, 2014, which likely means Mack Brown will be out as head coach of the Longhorns.

There was a report from Orangeblood’s Chip Brown on Sept. 13 that Dodds would step down as AD, but Dodds denied that report. It looks like Brown was accurate with his reporting.

The Austin American Statesman said the announcement was originally planned for Monday but has been postponed until Tuesday because of the death of James Street.

Dodds oversaw the hiring of Brown as the school’s football coach and Augie Garrido as the school’s baseball coach, both of whom produced national championships. He also increased the overall value and popularity of the Texas Longhorns athletic brand and started the Longhorn Network, which was signed by ESPN to a 20-year, $300 million deal.

There is pressure on Texas to make a decision on Brown sooner rather than later now that USC is also in the market for a head football coach. The two programs are on similar levels of historic greatness and prestige, and will likely be competing for some of the same coaches.

Another interesting note from The Statesman is that Andrew Luck’s father, Oliver, who is the AD at West Virginia, could be a top candidate to replace Dodds.

Nick Saban interested in Texas? His agent spoke to their regents

Nick SabanNick Saban has put together a dynasty at Alabama and seems to be happy there, but if one job could make him leave Tuscaloosa, it might be Texas. According to a report, at least one side has interest in that happening.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, spoke with University of Texas regents shortly after the BCS National Championship Game in January.

Regent Wallace Hall and former regent Tom Hicks, who is the former Texas Rangers owner, spoke with Sexton. Hicks was instrumental in bringing Mack Brown from North Carolina to Texas in 1997. Hicks later met with Brown for lunch and asked whether the coach was ready to step down and retire. Brown said no, so the matter was dropped. Based on that information, it seems like Saban’s camp was at least open to discussing the possibility of making a move to Texas.

Brown is under contract with Texas through 2020 and making $5.4 million this year. Saban, whose team has won the national championship three of the last four years, earns $5.6 million per season.

Texas was one of the best programs in the last decade. The Longhorns won at least 10 games per season every year from 2001-2009, including a 13-0 national championship season in 2005. They went 13-1 season in 2009 and lost to Bama in the title game. But Texas has gone 23-18 since then, including a 5-7 season in 2010.

Texas is off to a 1-2 start this season and got embarrassed in losses to BYU and Ole Miss. Could Brown be forced out somehow if the program doesn’t improve? And would Saban consider leaving Alabama for Texas if the job were available? I definitely think he would consider it. If not simply for the new challenge, then at least to get more money from Bama.

Texas replaces DC Manny Diaz with only guy who might be worse

Greg Robinson MichiganThe Texas Longhorns embarrassed themselves on Saturday night by allowing BYU to rush for 550 yards in a 40-21 defeat. The shameful performance left fans demanding the head of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, and they got what they wanted on Sunday. Diaz was removed as DC and will be reassigned within the athletic department. But there is one big problem with the move: Texas somehow managed to replace Diaz with the only guy who might be worse.

Texas ruined any optimism about a coordinator change by announcing that Greg Robinson would be taking over. Robinson is a former co-defensive coordinator at Texas and had been working as a video analyst for the program.

“Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that,” Texas coach Mack Brown said in a statement released on Sunday. “Greg will be here tonight and get with the staff and players to start preparing for Ole Miss. He will be running our defense immediately. We’re very fortunate that Greg has been around, watched all of our practice video and has a good scouting report moving forward.”

Now here is where we remind you that Robinson is the guy who ruined the Syracuse program during a 4-year tenure as head coach, and then went on to embarrass himself as Rich Rodriguez’s defensive coordinator at Michigan.

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Mack Brown defends decision to not aggressively recruit Jameis Winston

Jameis-Winston-Florida-StateFlorida State quarterback Jameis Winston created a headache for Texas coach Mack Brown with a comment he made after his dominating performance against Pittsburgh on Monday night. Simply put, the freshman claims he would be playing for the Longhorns right now if they had offered him a scholarship.

A Texas source reportedly told CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman that Winston did not seem all that interested in the school. During an appearance on “Rome” Tuesday afternoon, Brown took the same stance.

“He’s a great player and we would have liked to have had him, so let’s get that straight,” the Texas coach began. “Alabama (where Winston is from) is not a hotbed for Texas recruiting, and Alabama and Auburn were winning national championships at that time.”

Brown then went on to explain how Texas was going through staff changes at the time and transitioning between offensive coordinators. Texas was coming off a 5-7 season in 2010, which Brown says could have resulted in a little “turmoil” that left the Longhorns behind in the process.

“I had someone that was very close to the situation that I really, really trusted that knew exactly what was going on,” he said. “I said, ‘Should we bring him in?’ They said absolutely not. It’s a two-horse race. It’s down to Florida State, who he’s committed to, and Alabama. You’re not going to be able to get in it, so you just need to stay out of it. And that’s what we did.”

While we have to see more from Winston before labeling him a Heisman Trophy candidate, Texas fans have to be irritated at the thought of their rebuilding team not pursuing a stud quarterback who claims the Longhorns were one of his top choices. Perhaps Winston would have gone to FSU anyway and is just angry Texas didn’t show more interest. We’ll probably never know.

Jameis Winston wanted to go to Texas, Longhorns weren’t interested?

Jameis-Winston-Florida-StateFlorida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston burst onto the scene in a huge way in his first career collegiate game on Monday night. The 18-year-old completed an incredible 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns in a blowout win over Pittsburgh. He did not turn the ball over.

The performance left many assuming Winston must have had his choice of college programs when making his decision last year, but that was not the case. After the big win, Winston admitted he wanted to go to Texas.

“I’m an OU fan but I always wanted to go to Texas,” he said, via ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. “If I’d gotten offer from Texas I’d be going to Texas right now”

So what happened? Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com said he was told by a Texas source on Tuesday that Longhorns representatives contacted Winston’s high school coach and got the impression that he was not all that interested in going to Texas. Based on what Winston said Monday, that doesn’t make any sense.

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Major Applewhite had ‘inappropriate relationship’ with Texas student

Major ApplewhiteUniversity of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and football coach Major Applewhite released statements on Friday regarding an “inappropriate relationship” the coach had with a student at the Fiesta Bowl in 2009.

The statements were strategically released late on a Friday evening, which is when organizations leak or release news/stories they’re trying to bury.

Here is the statement from Dodds:

“Major Applewhite engaged in inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student one time during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities. After learning of his behavior later that month, I took immediate action to review the situation. We promptly initiated an inquiry with assistance from the university’s legal affairs office and other units outside of athletics. Major admitted his inappropriate conduct and he was disciplined. In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities. Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling. We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives. I believe that the appropriate discipline was taken in this case.”

Applewhite played quarterback at the school from 1998-2001 and has been a coach in the program for seven years (over two different stints). He issued the following statement:

“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate. It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was up front and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the university.

“Through counsel I have worked with my wife and the incident is behind us. I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family, and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas.”

Applewhite was an assistant head coach and running backs coach at the time of the incident. His discipline included counseling (as mentioned in Dodds’ statement), and his salary reportedly was frozen from Feb. 5, 2009-Jan. 1, 2010.

The school’s board of regents plans to meet Sunday to discuss the legal implications of inappropriate relationships between employees and students.

If you’re wondering why the story is coming out now if it took place in 2009, we have some ideas.

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