- Associated Press - Friday, December 13, 2013

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - The Mack Brown saga at Texas continues _ even without Nick Saban in the picture any more.

In a short, energetic speech at his team’s annual banquet, Brown acknowledged the “distractions” his team faced over rumors and reports that he would be resign or be fired after 16 seasons, but ended only with a plea for his team to “beat Oregon” in the Alamo Bowl.

Brown did not directly address the speculation swirling around his job, but news of Alabama’s new contract with Nick Saban, a coach some Texas officials hoped to lure to the Longhorns, rippled through the banquet minutes before Brown gave his speech.

Brown gave no indication he plans to step down. His lively speech seemed to lift the somber tone of the banquet and he told new athletic director Steve Patterson that he’s looking forward to working with him.

Brown lingered long after the banquet was over to chat with recruits and their families.

But what Brown and his bosses didn’t do was deliver any definitive closure to the question of whether he would be back.

Brown, Patterson and school President Bill Powers met Friday afternoon, but Patterson declined comment when approached at the banquet.

“When we have something to announce, we’ll announce it,” Patterson told reporters

During his prepared remarks, Patterson said he’s “excited to be working with” Brown.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get together and work for many years to come,” Patterson said.

Powers, one of Brown’s biggest allies, also praised Brown and his wife.

“Mack and Sally, I’m so proud of you, the way you brought this team over obstacles,” Powers said. “You two are the very best. I’m proud to be your friend.”

A team spokesman said Brown and Powers would not comment after the banquet.

In his remarks, Brown wanted to keep the focus on his players and their 8-4 season which will end in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 against Oregon.

“What we’re here for is the football team,” Brown said.

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