BEVO BEAT

No contact with Briles; UT search still open

Posted January 2nd, 2014

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Texas athletic director Steve Patterson’s self-imposed deadline to find a new football coach (Jan. 15) is now less than two weeks away, but the situation is still murky and no coach should be viewed as the clear frontrunner.

Baylor coach Art Briles did not have any contact with Patterson on Thursday, two Baylor sources told the American-Statesman. Briles rode a team charter back from the Fiesta Bowl and was seen in his office working during the afternoon.

Texas Rangers owner and Baylor benefactor Bob Simpson believes Briles is staying put in Waco. Simpson thinks Briles is a better fit at Baylor than he would be at Texas, but “It boils down to preference at this point,” he said.

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Could Patterson’s interest in Briles have cooled after the Bears’ 52-42 loss to Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl? It’s unknown how Briles or any candidate truly measures up.

Patterson, who is running this search practically by himself, has said he will not comment on the process. His only stated desire was to have a new coach in place by Jan. 15, the final day of the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period.

Meanwhile, some media outlets reported Thursday that Patterson could be interested in UCLA’s Jim Mora, but that’s hard to gauge, too. No interview could be confirmed.

UCLA finished the season with a 10-3 record after crushing Virginia Tech in Tuesday’s Sun Bowl, 42-12.

The American-Statesman has reported that Louisville’s Charlie Strong had a four-hour interview with Patterson this week. Patterson also told Strong that he was going to interview other candidates.

The other big fish still out there is Alabama’s Nick Saban, considered by many a longshot. Now that Alabama’s season is over after Thursday’s Sugar Bowl, could Patterson make one final call to gauge Saban’s interest?

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