I hope he is correct and Mizzou/Arkansas becomes the traditional Thanksgiving Day game. That would be fantastic for Mizzou and, eventually, fantastic for Arkansas. But I can understand why Arkansas fans would get upset and the LSU tradition going away.
This one might be pretty entertaining. John L. Smith steps to the mic to discuss his appointment as Arkansas’ interim coach. Smith is a colorful guy off the field. Throw in the fact that he’ll likely be asked about Bobby Petrino’s downfall, his own recent money woes, his shaky job status and the way he left his alma mater, Weber State, after just a few months on the job and you could have the best presser of Media Days.
We shall see…
* Smith talks about the great opportunity before him and calls “Hog nation” among the best fanbases in the country.
* Smith says adversity will make Arkansas’ team stronger.
* Smith said the welcome he got from Razorback fans led him to “wipe away tears.” “We all have to relish our position in this program.”
* The coach says UA’s goal is still to win the BCS title.
* Asked if he wants to be the Arkansas coach beyond this year, Smith exclaimed: “Certainly. Do I look stupid?!” Asked if he had to go 14-0 to keep that job, Smith said that’s up to the athletic director.
* Smith says pressure has to roll off his players’ backs like water off a duck’s back.
* Smith says Missouri is a natural, geographical rival for Arkansas. “To me it’s an automatic. Now we get to develop that rivalry.” He also said, “I see that developing into a big rivalry for us.”
* The coach said that his decision to leave Weber State was simply a matter of weighing options. When one door opens, etc.
* Regarding recruiting, Smith says he’s told kids that no coach can guarantee he’ll be back. “You’re not committing to an individual” is his sell.
* After a rough start — not knowing really how Media Days works and that he wouldn’t be introducing his players today — Smith is really getting fired-up. His voice will rise depending on the question. Not in an angry way, but in a pumped up kind of way.
* Smith said his wife updated him on Petrino’s situation, but it wasn’t something that he followed closely “from the outside.”
* He said he was “surprised” and “shocked” by what went down with Petrino. He said “you pray for them” and hope the issues inside Petrino’s family can be remedied.
* Brandon Mitchell — UA’s backup quarterback — may not be the only Razorback to play a couple of positions this season. He said fullback Kiero Small may play some linebacker because the Hogs aren’t deep at that position. Mitchell has been working some at receiver.
* Smith says is LSU/Texas A&M becomes a season-ending game, Missouri/Arkansas would be a good season-ender.
* Smith said he got onto the radar of AD Jeff Long by talking to UA’s assistant coaches after the Petrino scandal broke.
* Smith said he talked to Petrino last week and that it was a good conversation.
* Smith’s high-pitched, loud voice is certainly unique to the league. It’s a bit like someone stepping on a gas pedal. He’ll answer for a minute or two in a normal tone and then he’ll get excited and BOOM… the voice goes up.
* Smith bragged on quarterback Tyler Wilson and his leadership abilities.
Our overall grad for Smith’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 4 on a scale of 1-5. He was friendly. He was entertaining. But he also didn’t seem to know how in the world a Media Days session was to work. He tried to dance around a question about whether or not he approached Arkansas or vice versa, but — as noted above — he eventually gave an answer. Smith may well lead the Razorbacks to their first SEC title, but we’ve got a feeling that we just saw Smith’s first and last appearance in Hoover.