AUSTIN (AP) -Texas coach Mack Brown insists Will Muschamp's elevation to head-coach-in-waiting doesn't start the tick-tock on the countdown to his retirement.
Actually, it does.
Not because fans are pushing him out the door, but because any time Muschamp's name is mentioned, it's sure to be followed by ``you know, the guy who's been promised Mack Brown's job when he leaves.''
``When?'' just became a perpetual question in Texas, whether Brown likes it or not.
A key to making a smooth transition - whenever that is - will be timing.
The Muschamp promotion is interesting on several levels, starting with Brown himself.
Brown said Tuesday he's enjoying coaching more than ever. He reminded everyone he has eight years left on his contract and has no plans to retire, although he joked he won't hang around into his twilight years like Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden.
And yet the announcement about Muschamp's future brought Brown's into focus as well.
ed Texas football machine. The Longhorns are in the hunt for their second national championship in four years and Brown continues to reel in bumper crops of top recruits.
And by getting Muschamp, their first-year defensive coordinator, to agree to stick around for the long haul, the Longhorns snared the hottest young assistant going.
Until the Texas deal was struck, the odds were very good that Muschamp was probably going to be a head coach at a major program next season.
Here's where things at Texas could get tricky.
Brown says he's the one who initiated the deal. Does that mean he told Muschamp he plans to stick around only a couple of more years? Or did he warn him that it really could be another eight years of waiting? That would seem an awful long time for a hot commodity like Muschamp to sit around.
A best-case scenario for Texas is that Brown stays a few more years, keeps winning and keeps the cupboard loaded with talent for a smooth transition to Muschamp.
A worst-case scenario is that Texas takes a step or two backward over the next few years, the fans turn on Brown AND Muschamp and nobody is happy. Think it can't happen? Just ask Philip Fulmer and Tennessee fans.
A wild card could be athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who has led the Texas men's program since 1981.
icant position'' at Texas if he voluntary steps down from coaching.
That raised speculation that Brown - who served as athletic director at Tulane for three years when he was also the football coach - could slide right into Dodds' job if Dodds decided to retire.
On Tuesday, Brown politely but firmly told reporters he thought it was ``unprofessional'' to discuss Dodds' job. The two men share great admiration for each other and Brown said, ``I hope DeLoss is the athletics director forever.''
The details on Muschamp's deal haven't been finalized other than announcements that his salary will increase from $425,000 to $900,000 in January and that he'll get a five-year contract once he becomes head coach.
In the meantime, he waits, watches and learns how to be a head coach at a bell-cow program like Texas. His teacher is one who has mastered the required skills of recruiting, staff building, politicking and backslapping.
Muschamp says his role remains that of defensive coordinator, not co-head coach. He'll keep diving into sleepless nights of film sessions and game planning and trying to find the right matchups to win games.
Given his now-defined future, he might start to loosen up a little, or at least lose the nervous leg-tick that sends his feet bouncing under the table whenever he sits down to talk with the media. Where Brown always looks comfortable in front of cameras and reporters, Muschamp still looks uptight.
But there's time for that. Could be lots of time, or just a little.
It all depends on Mack.

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