ASU coach Graham fed up with job speculation

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State coach Todd Graham was patient up to a point, but on Tuesday he’d had enough of the speculation regarding his possible candidacy for the vacant coaching job at Texas.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there, and I’m kind of getting tired of it,” Graham said after Tuesday’s bowl practice. “We are committed to be here, to build a top-five national power. I’m tired of (the speculation). I’m not talking to anybody, I’m not going to talk to anybody. That’s what we’re doing. We’re focused on (building here).

“We’re putting together the top recruiting class in the league and doing some great things, and obviously when you’re doing those things a lot of people don’t think of anything but negative things to say. But the reality of that is just absolutely false.”

Graham did not mention Texas specifically Tuesday but has now reiterated his commitment to ASU three times publicly since Texas coach Mack Brown resigned Saturday. Despite an agreement between ASU and now-Texas athletic director Steve Patterson that Patterson would not hire any ASU coaches or staffers when he left Tempe in November, Graham’s name has surfaced constantly in speculation about possible candidates.

It’s possible that interested parties from other schools have begun planting rumors and ideas in the heads of recruits committed to ASU in attempts to sway their commitments. Such tactics could have been what prompted Graham to make a strong public statement.

“I hate even commenting on stuff like that, but I’m getting tired of it,” Graham said. “We’re looking forward to taking this thing to the next level, and that’s top 10, top five in the country.”

Graham also referenced rumors of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s candidacy for open jobs around college football. Rumors have linked him to Florida’s offensive coordinator opening, and footballscoop.com reported Monday that Norvell had spoken with representatives from Arkansas State about its head coaching vacancy.

“Coach Norvell is in the same boat,” Graham said. “We’ll have a comment on that tomorrow. Our focus is to keep our staff together. We’re going to do that. We’re committed to building a top-five program in the country, so I don’t know what else you can say.”

Graham said in a local radio interview Monday he is “fully confident” Norvell will remain at ASU and referenced ongoing contract discussions to retain the second-year coach.

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