LOS ANGELES – UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora has been trying to douse a Texas brush fire, one that has engulfed Texas Longhorns football.
There were media reports Texas officials and Mora’s representatives were in discussions about UCLA’s coach taking over the Longhorns.
Asked about those reports, former Seahawks coach Mora on Friday told the Los Angeles Times, “It is always flattering when someone is interested in you. But I am committed to being the UCLA coach.”
Texas officials made contact with Mora’s agent after Longhorns coach Mack Brown stepped down in mid-December. Texas was talking about a salary between $5 million and $6 million — about double what Mora makes at UCLA — a person familiar with the talks who did not want to be identified told the Los Angeles Times.
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But Mora decided to stay at UCLA, where he has a 19-8 record in two seasons.
Likewise, Baylor’s Art Briles — another coach frequently mentioned in speculation about the Texas opening — said he has no desire to pursue another job and plans to lead the defending Big 12 champion Bears, who were 11-2 this season, into their new $260 million stadium in the fall.
“As I’ve said many times, I am both humbled and honored to be the head coach at Baylor University, and believe we have something special going here,” Briles said in a statement.
On Friday night, the Austin American-Statesman reported Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are leading candidates to coach Texas.
Beavers’ Crichton to enter draft
Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
Crichton, 22, is a graduate of Foss High School in Tacoma.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound junior announced his decision in an email sent by his attorney, Nelson Fraley.
Crichton had 7½ sacks in 2013 and forced a key fumble in Oregon State’s 38-23 victory over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl.
Crichton was voted to the All-Pac-12 first team in 2012 and the second team last year.
• USC’s Marqise Lee, who won the 2012 Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver, announced he will enter the NFL draft.
Other players who said they intend to enter the draft included California linebacker Khairi Fortt, South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington and Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson.
• With Bill O’Brien going to the NFL Houston Texans, Penn State is looking for a coach.
Miami’s Al Golden and Franklin have been mentioned as potential candidates.
Golden is a former Penn State captain and assistant coach.