There's no FlightTracker on this one, but multiple reports out of Alabama on Monday morning indicate that Crimson Tide athletic director Bill Battle will meet with Wichita State Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall in Kansas on Monday to discuss the job opening in Tuscaloosa.
The news directly contradicts Saturday's report from Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, who indicated that Marshall had already told Alabama he wasn't interested in the job. What changed, if things did indeed change over the last 48 hours or so?
Marshall's apparent decision to meet with Battle could be just a matter of leverage -- a seemingly strategic leak from Texas put a cap on the next coach's salary at $3 million. Shockingly enough, that's exactly the number floating around in Alabama circles for Marshall.
Depending on whether Marshall is the No. 1 choice for Texas, as many reports indicate, it's hard to see the Longhorns getting outbid for Marshall if he's the top target. However, if athletic director Steve Patterson really covets VCU head coach Shaka Smart, as a Richmond television station reported on Sunday, and can get him for less than $3 million per year, then perhaps Smart becomes the next Texas head coach if Marshall opts for Alabama on Monday.
On the Wichita State side, the Shockers seem more concerned about the Longhorns than the Crimson Tide:
WSU survived many overtures for coach Gregg Marshall, from many prominent schools, as his credentials grew. None offered the combination of resources, prestige, access to talent, location and winning tradition that Texas does, should it attempt to lure Marshall away.
"That is the one," several people close to the program said recently.
In fact, there's so much of a consensus that Marshall is interested in Texas that it's difficult to consider the report of Smart being the top candidate as credible. Former Statesman writer Mark Rosner added his own voice to those reporting Marshall's interest in Texas on Monday:
For what it's worth, a guy with some connections in coaching tells me Marshall really wants the #Longhorns job
— Mark Rosner (@MarkRosner3) March 30, 2015
So the guess here is that nothing will immediately come of the Monday meeting between Marshall and Alabama, giving Texas the opportunity to interview him some time in the next several days, with Marshall becoming the next head coach in Austin by the end of the week.