The story that shows no signs of going away seemingly adds another layer or two every hour on the hour.
Intertwined with the likely departure of Mack Brown from Texas at some point before the end of the week, speculation has once again centered on Nick Saban taking over as the Longhorns head coach. A respected TCU beat writer, Stefan Stevenson, went so far as to state very plainly that the Alabama coach would be the next UT head coach, although he did soften that stance in a subsequent tweet by stating, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
There are also reports that, as expected, Alabama is working on a new deal for Saban, but even that is causing some frayed nerves in the Yellowhammer State.
Posted to ESPN.com very early Wednesday morning, radio personality Paul Finebaum wrote that “Saban has had a contract extension on his desk since Friday.” The issue is that, nearly a week later, the new deal, which would bump the pay of what’s already the nation’s highest-paid head coach into the $7 million-a-year range, is still unsigned.
“[T]he longer it goes unsigned, the more uncomfortable Alabama officials grow. … Alabama officials are getting nervous about the lack of response,” Finebaum wrote.
Saban and his wife have consistently shot down reports over the past couple of months connecting the four-time BCS title-winning coach to a potential opening in Austin. Thanks to the way his departure from the Miami Dolphins played out, his words have thus far rang hollow — and will continue to do so even if he comes out again and states he’s staying in Tuscaloosa.
For what it’s worth, ESPN‘s Kirk Herbstreit was very emphatic when asked about the Saban-to-Texas rumors, saying the Longhorns should “immediately scratch” him off their coaching to-do list and look elsewhere.
“There’s no chance. No chance of that happening,” Herbstriet told the Dallas Morning News. “Nick Saban will work TV sitting next to us on our set before he’ll be the head coach at Texas … He’ll be at Alabama for another five years, and then he’ll be working TV after that … I know Nick Saban better than anybody. It’s not going to happen.”
I tend to agree. This appears to be nothing more than Saban’s agent leveraging UT’s obvious interest in his client into a sweeter deal from UA, as if that’s actually necessary.
But, then again, the longer the smoke lingers, the more whatever fire is burning below will be stoked by the always-churning rumor mill machine.