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John L. Smith has held head coaching positions at Idaho, Utah State, Louisville, Michigan state, Weber State and now at Arkansas. Smith is known as a program builder and has had success in every stop he has made along the way, according to Arkansas Razorbacks.com
He signed a 10 month, $850,000 deal with incentives to be the interim head coach at Arkansas according to an Associated Press story at standard.net, an Ogden Utah newspaper.
Smith coached at Arkansas as special team’s coordinator and outside linebacker coach for Bobby Petrino from 2009 through 2011. At the end of last year, he left to become head coach at Weber State, his playing alma mater.
Smith got to Weber, made a gracious "glad to be home" speech, hired a new staff, recruited 18 new football players, held spring practice and quit to go back to Arkansas.
On the one hand, he reminds me of Petrino, leaving Atlanta in a lurch to go to Arkansas. While on the other, it was a business decision. He is getting paid about as much as he would make at Weber in four years for 10 months work at Arkansas.
Smith’s familiarity with the Arkansas coaching staff and players makes him a good hire for Arkansas AD, Jeff Long. This team has an elite college quarterback Tyle Wilson) and running back (Knile Davis) and their 2 losses from the 11-2 record last year, were to the No.1 and No.2 teams in the country.
This Arkansas team is primed for a run at an SEC Championship and possibly a national title. By hiring Smith, Jeff Long has at least not harmed the program as he searches for a long term replacement and at best, has found his coach to replace Petrino.
I think this Arkansas team loses two or three games total. They will have a very good year but won’t play in the SEC or BCS Championship Games.