Arkansas Razorbacks Take Great Leap Backward

Joe GSenior Writer IJanuary 16, 2009

Arkansas Razorbacks fans, welcome to your very own, personal hell.

The legendary John L. Smith, a man who will forever be remembered by Michigan State fans, is joining the Arkansas Razorbacks' coaching staff as the special teams coordinator.

Apparently, Bobby Petrino has a different definition of progress than the rest of the country.

Has Petrino forgotten how spectacularly inept Smith was in his time at the helm of the Spartans program?

I would have been surprised and maybe mildly amused if Smith had landed a head coaching gig this off-season. I'm downright shocked that he is going to be coaching special teams for somebody.

Special teams in East Lansing under Smith were some of the worst I've ever seen. I know he didn't have the same close control of special teams that he will in his new role, but to some degree, their performance has to reflect his coaching abilities.

Exhibit A is placekicker John Goss. The mere mention of his name is enough to send a Michigan State fan into violent convulsions. In 2005, Goss was 4-of-11 on field goal attempts.

Kicking at a 36.4 percent clip is bad enough. It gets even more embarrassing when you consider that his longest field goal was 32 yards.

Against Michigan in 2005, at home, Goss had two chances that would have won the game for the Spartans. He missed from 37 yards in overtime, but overtime might not have been necessary if he hadn't shanked a 23-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.

I'm pretty sure that I could knock a ball through the uprights from 23 yards. Things got so bad that season that I actually seriously considered trying to walk on as a kicker. I've got a background in soccer, how hard could it be? But I digress...

Exhibit B was perhaps the most complete demonstration of Smith's coaching abilities. One week after the Michigan debacle, 16th-ranked Michigan State traveled to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes.

Ohio State had a very good team in 2005. They ended up finishing 10-2 and demolishing Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

And Michigan State had a great upset bid going that John L. and his coaching staff absolutely ruined before halftime.

The Spartans had a 17-7 lead and were driving towards yet another score in the dying seconds of the second quarter. After being stopped at the Ohio State 17 on second down with no timeouts left and 24 seconds on the clock, the Michigan State coaching staff strangely rushed the field goal unit out instead of spiking the ball on third down.

The result? The field goal unit went out with only ten men, and Ohio State took advantage, blocking the kick and returning it 72 yards. It also led to perhaps the greatest halftime interview of all time.

Does this sound like a man who is capable of making smart decisions on the big stage? Teams are always a reflection of their coaches. Do Arkansas fans want this man in charge of their field goal unit in the dying minutes of a close game?

They certainly shouldn't.

Enjoy your newest coach, Arkansas.

Because he never sticks around for too long.