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Brown Out at Texas?

Austin, Texas — Don’t tell Miami Central (Fla.) coach Roland Smith that Mack Brown is on the verge of stepping down as the head coach at Texas.

Brown visited Miami Central’s high school practice on Tuesday and then spent the evening with running back recruit Dalvin Cook and his parents. Cook has been committed to Florida since April.

But Brown was there in South Florida, talking up the Longhorns like always.

“Typical Mack Brown to me — very upbeat,” Smith said. “You wouldn’t have known he had a worry in the world or that he was going to resign.”

Brown, however, has had discussions with school officials about resigning, a high-ranking university source told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. However, nothing has been finalized yet.

Brown wants to talk to Texas president Bill Powers one more time before ultimately stepping down from one of the most prestigious jobs in college sports.

“Mack is considering whether he wants to resign,” the high-ranking source said. The decision could come this week.

Brown confirmed via text to the American-Statesman that he was recruiting in Florida. “If I had decided to step down I sure wouldn’t be killing myself down here,” Brown also texted to 247sports.com. “I have not decided to step down.”

But after talking to seven UT sources, all of whom have knowledge of the situation, one thing is clear: Everybody wants to give Brown enough room to make his own decision on his own time frame. But it better be quick.

“Nobody wants to be seen pushing Mack out the door,” said the UT source, who is close to the situation.

And, perhaps most telling: No one — not even Brown himself— is pounding the table insisting that he will be back in 2014.

Brown was asked directly after last Saturday’s 30-10 loss to Baylor about his future at Texas, and he declined to comment.

Brown, 62, is under contract through 2020 and makes an estimated $5.4 million annually. If he were terminated, Brown is scheduled to receive $2.75 million.

New men’s athletic director Steve Patterson issued a statement Tuesday saying, “We continue to discuss the future of Texas football. Mack Brown has not resigned. And, no decisions have been made.” The Internet was set ablaze midday Tuesday when Orangebloods.com reported that Brown would step down by the end of the week.

“Mack Brown has not told anyone that he’s stepping down,” a source close to Brown told the American-Statesman. The source said that Brown would be back in Austin before Friday’s football banquet. The coach also is scheduled to attend a golf tournament and press conference Thursday morning in San Antonio to promote the Alamo Bowl.

Another high-ranking university source said Brown and Powers had spoken previously by phone, but “I hear they are still in the talking phase.” Brown, Patterson and Powers all were originally scheduled to be in New York together beginning Sunday for the National Football Foundation banquet and various events. However, Powers did not make the trip. On Thursday, the UT System Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss Powers’ job status.

It’s perceived that Powers’ future is tied to Brown’s. However, a UT source said that’s not the case — Powers and his issues with the board go beyond Brown’s coaching status.

Brown and Patterson talked for three hours Sunday about the future of the football program, a source with knowledge of the meeting said. The tone was positive and productive. Brown had said numerous times before the end of the regular season that he wanted to get to know Patterson, who replaced longtime athletic director DeLoss Dodds on Nov. 26.

As for whether Brown was resigning, Dodds told the American-Statesman on Tuesday: “I was with Mack (Monday) night, and he has not told me anything.” Another source said that Brown has not spoken with his assistant coaches and support personnel about his future either.

Brown’s lawyer and UT benefactor Joe Jamail, who is working a trial in Beaumont, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Brown has not resigned. Jamail is one of Brown’s closest friends.

The Longhorns are off this week because of final exams. Texas (8-4) is preparing to face No. 10 Oregon (10-2) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 at the Alamodome.

If Brown does resign, the Nick Saban-to-Texas rumor mill will shift into overdrive. However, longtime ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit — who also talked to Brown on Tuesday — just laughs at that speculation.

Saban will coach at Alabama another five years and then go into TV work, and is not leaving the Crimson Tide for Texas, Herbstreit said on his weekly radio show with an ESPN radio affiliate in Dallas.

“I know Nick Saban better than anybody. It’s not gonna happen. Trust me,” Herbstreit said. “Whoever’s talking about that, tweet it out, text it out, get it out. It’s not gonna happen.”