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Texas pursuit of TCU co-OC Sonny Cumbie hinges on North Texas hire

Making sense of where things stand in the nascent search for the next Longhorns play caller.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely have the goings on in Denton impacted the football program in Austin, but that's the case with the Texas Longhorns targeting TCU Horned Frogs co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie as the North Texas Mean Green decide between Cumbie's co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and North Carolina Tar Heels offensive coordinator Seth Littrell.

On Monday afternoon, it looked like Meacham was going to be the choice, but now the Fort Worth Star-Telegram believes that North Texas merely wants to wait until after North Carolina competes in the ACC Championship game this weekend before the announcement becomes public.

Here's the key -- Meacham calls the plays for TCU, so Cumbie could receive a promotion to that position if Meacham does end up taking the job in Denton. If that happens, the belief is that Texas will not be able to land head coach Charlie Strong's top target as the next Longhorns play caller.

So where do things stand with Cumbie and Texas? Though a source told the Star-Telegram that TCU believes it can keep Cumbie, that was when Meacham looked headed to North Texas. Hours later, a source close to Cumbie told the Austin American-Statesman that the former Texas Tech quarterback does have interest in the position at Texas.

Orangebloods first reported Strong's interest in Cumbie on Monday, but Strong predictably denied having made any contact with Cumbie during his press conference right after Orangebloods broke that story. Of course, any contact between Texas and Cumbie would have been through an intermediary at this time, so Strong's denial doesn't mean that much -- he wouldn't directly make contact with the TCU co-offensive coordinator until after the season.

A skeptic might conclude that someone in Cumbie's camp wants to use the possibility of making the move as leverage against TCU since his contract is believed to expire after this season. And that would be a reasonable conclusion.

But any news of Cumbie having interest in leaving a program that is currently competing for Big 12 titles for a program struggling just to become bowl eligible is positive news.

The first thing that has to happen now is Littrell officially becoming the next North Texas coach. Since that's still a few days from now, any significant movement with Texas and Cumbie would likely come at that time, which will also coincide with Strong making an official decision about the future of current play caller Jay Norvell.

[Update]: This is good news: