Just as the pool of candidates for the Texas appeared to be increasing in terms of quality if not quantity, it’s taken a turn in the opposite direction — which may actually be a positive sign for UT’s search.
In a conversation with the Los Angeles Times early Friday afternoon, Jim Mora maintained that he is committed to continuing as the head coach at UCLA. Mora’s statement of loyalty comes a day after reports surfaced that the Longhorns had engaged in talks on some level with Mora and/or his representatives regarding their vacancy.
It also comes a couple of hours after Baylor’s Art Briles took his name out of consideration for the job, with the twin declarations possibly signaling that UT already has its man.
“It is always flattering when someone is interested in you,” Mora told the Times. “But I am committed to being the UCLA coach.”
Scout.com reported Friday that “Texas and Mora’s representatives were in contact and had discussions Thursday,” but that the job wasn’t formally offered. That discussion was couched, however, “in a way that if Mora wanted it, the job was available,” the website wrote.
With Briles and now Mora presumably off the table (?), the attention, at least as far as the coverage goes, in UT’s search for a replacement for Mack Brown will turn to Charlie Strong.
The Louisville head coach has already reportedly interviewed for the opening this week, after which Strong was told by UT athletic director Steve Patterson that the university would continue interviewing candidates. Strong has not commented directly on the speculation, although UofL athletic director Tom Jurich has acknowledged receiving a voicemail from Patterson while expressing hope that his head football coach stays.
Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher recently signed a new contract to remain in Tallahassee, although there are still rumblings that Texas will make a run — or another run — at him after the Seminoles’ BCS title game Monday night.
If nothing else, Jon Gruden is available — and the apple of at least one prominent UT booster’s eye.