AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Sources within the University of Texas Athletic Department are reporting that Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden is in a state of panic following Athletic Director Steve Patterson's vow to stop the Bellmont Hall gravy train.
According to people close to the situation, Madden's hysteria began after he overheard a telephone conversation between Patterson and University of Texas President Bill Powers. During the call, Patterson promised to "put a stop to the gravy train in Bellmont Hall."
"Mad Dog is freaking out," revealed one source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's been running around the halls shouting all this gloom and doom stuff about an impending breakdown in worldwide gravy distribution."
One source recalled a recent incident in which a disheveled Madden barged into his office unsolicited and proceeded to issue a rambling, incoherent dissertation on gravy logistics.
"Between all the wheezing and shouting and sweating, I didn't quite follow Jeff's argument," said the source. "But he insisted that railways are the only way to deliver gravy to Central Texas. He said something about our non-navigable rivers making it impossible to sail gravy boats to Austin."
Multiple sources agreed that Madden had not been this concerned about a looming gravy shortage since overhearing a news report about Greece's export reductions in response to tensions with Turkey. According to one source, Madden's concerns about that crisis spurred him to hoard gravy.
"Yeah, I remember that guy," recounted one Cracker Barrel employee close to the situation. "He wobbled into our store a few years ago carrying a 55-gallon drum under each arm, gasping for air and ranting about some kind of Middle East grease embargo. The dude offered us $200 to fill the drums with sausage gravy."
Although most sources report that Madden has been in a constant state of frazzled, sweaty dismay since first hearing Patterson's comments, others have seen reasons to believe Madden may soon pull out of his funk.
"Steve dropped by Mad Dog's office and asked him to come by later to 'chew the fat,'" reported an insider. "That put a big smile on Jeff's face."
But several people within the Athletic Department reported that the meeting did not go well for Madden, who began hyperventilating and clutching his chest after Patterson promised to return UT Athletics to its "salad days."
"Also, I think he took [head coach] Mack Brown's advice to 'butter Steve up' a little too literally," added one source. "That must have been pretty awkward."
The conversation with Patterson was not the first time Madden had entered a work meeting with high expectations, only to be let down.
"It's just like the time Mad Dog got all excited about attending a fitness conference at the Mayo Clinic," reported another source. "You'd have thought he was a kid on his way to Disney World. He was practically giddy."
"Boy was he disappointed when he got up there," the source added.