TUSCALOOSA, ALA. (AP) - Alabama coach Nick Saban and the football team are moving on.
Saban has put to rest the speculation that he would replace Mack Brown at Texas by striking a new deal with Alabama.
For the third-ranked Crimson Tide, the focus is on getting over the loss to Auburn and trying to finish the season strong in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl against No. 11 Oklahoma.
Saban had said Friday night after agreeing to a new contract reportedly worth about $7 million a year that he planned to retire at Alabama.
He said “there were no talks” between his representatives and Texas and pointed to comments on ESPN that he “never considered going to Texas.”
“I think I’ve already made a reaction to that,” Saban said. “Don’t you watch ESPN? Didn’t you see what they put down across the bottom line. That’s my reaction to it.
“I don’t have any more reactions to it. I think it’s kind of over so why do we want to talk about that? We look forward. I’m looking forward. I made a commitment to our players that are here and I’m happy to be committed to them and I want them to make the same kind of commitment to the program and to their future success.”
Brown announced his resignation at Texas on Saturday.
Several Texas regents and a former regent were involved in a meeting with Saban’s agent last January to gauge the coach’s interest in coming to Texas. Saban found the best way to quash that talk: Re-upping with the Tide.
Receiver Kevin Norwood never doubted it.
“I went home for the break or whatever, and everybody was basically talking about it,” Norwood said. “And I was like, `Coach Saban is not going anywhere.’ And whatever social media was saying, whatever was happening after that, I pretty much ignored it.”
Alabama (11-1) returned to the practice field on Tuesday for the first time since the Iron Bowl.
The game was tied until Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown on the final play to effectively end Alabama’s bid for a third straight national championship.
Now, the team is gearing up for a bowl trip that would be a prize for most teams, but could be viewed as a disappointment for the Tide.
“We’re fired up playing Oklahoma,” defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan said. “It’s not for a national championship or anything, but we’re going to go into it like it is.