Just completed a phone discussion with a Prof from UT @ Austin (B-1). The discussion was a friendly one, centered around our respective research interests. I can see some relevance and match between our interests. I was also briefed about the application, funding and assistantship process, as well as the research culture in the school.
Overall, it was a good discussion and ended quite positively. The information gathered in today's session would be brought up to the ad comm. I still have to wait a few weeks before I get to hear the final decision. But it is good to know that I'm at least on the shortlist.