Fran forced to respond yet again

Perhaps revealing a touch of frustration over having to address the issue over and over again, Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione responded yet again to rumors linking him to various jobs around the country. <br><br>Texas A&M is the current "school du jour."

"It doesn't appear to me that people listen a great deal to what I say," Franchione said during his regular teleconference on Sunday.

Calling the stories "idiotic," Friday Franchione addressed at length on his website to numerous Internet reports and a San Antonio newspaper columnist that had linked him to Texas A&M.

Currently in the second year of a seven-year contract paying him more than one million dollars a year, Franchione's name has been linked to numerous jobs over the past year and a half, including Kansas, Texas, Notre Dame and even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Franchione and Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore talked last summer about a new 10-year contract that would virtually guarantee that the Kansas native would finish out his coaching career at The Capstone. That contract has been the subject of negotiation between University lawyers and Franchione's legal representatives for months now, prompting much hand wringing among Tide fans.

Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore and Franchione pose in the Bryant-Denny press box earlier this fall.

Franchione has been quoted several times saying that he expected the contract extension to be "settled" following the season, and in the meantime he was concentrating on coaching football.

Sunday he was asked whether "settled" meant he would sign the extension. "I would think that's what ‘settled' means," Franchione replied. "I feel like that's what is going to happen."

Talk radio and the Internet buzzed last week with rumors about Texas A&M, supposedly a school with enough wealthy boosters and deep enough pockets to buy out even the richest contract. Franchione's background at Texas Christian makes him well known in the Midwest.

In the past Franchione has done an excellent job keeping outside issues from affecting his team. But it's an open question whether or not that happened Saturday, as the Tide clearly was out of rhythm, especially on offense, in their loss to arch-rival Auburn.

"It's just one of those things that you go through," Franchione said. "Certainly we've had plenty of distractions--or I've had. You just can't let them be (distractions). You just keep working and keep doing the things that you know are best for this football team."

This is the second year in a row Franchione has been forced to deal with the talk. At one point last spring he arrived for work only to find a television crew waiting for him outside the Alabama Football Complex. "It becomes a little bit of a nuisance when you have reporters sitting in your parking spot, wondering if you're going to Tampa Bay (Buccaneers)," he said. "Some of you guys (reporters) know me well enough to know that I have no aspirations of coaching in the NFL.

"I understand the arena that I live and work in, but (the rumors) do become cumbersome sometimes."

To the average print reporter, the Internet---with its too-often anonymous "sources"---has become the bane of modern media. Asked by a newspaper writer what he thought of the Internet, Franchione was realistic. "It's certainly a great technology," he noted. "I just know that I can't spend my time worrying about what's on there. It just is never ending.

"(Responding to Internet rumors) would be something that would take away from what I do."

Another reporter asked Franchione if he would give odds on how likely it was that he would sign the contract extension after the season.

"It's inappropriate for me to talk about that right now," Franchione said. "I don't know how to answer some of those kinds of questions. I'm working on this football team.

"I've been doing everything with this program at the height of my thought process."

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