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Smith Isn’t Running Up A White Flag Regarding Hogs’ Job

John L. Smith just keeps on smiling.  His team is 4-6 and just 2-4 in the SEC, but Smith continues to look on the bright side of life (NSFW).  The man thrown into an unwinnable situation — made so because most believed the Arkansas situation was way too winnable — isn’t thinking about the end of his tenure as the Razorbacks’ interim coach.  He’s still trying to be optimistic.

According to the Associated Press, Smith said the following during a press gathering yesterday:


“I’m the most optimistic guy you could imagine.  So, I’m always optimistic.  I’m optimistic on us going to Starkville and getting a win this weekend.  The other stuff can take care of itself.  I’m not overly worried about any of that…

That’s way over my head, mentally (to reflect on his coaching career).  I have trouble just concentrating on today and this part of our season and where we are.  I’m going to love every day that we go do the practice field, because that’s the best part of my day and being around those guys is what it’s all about.  And thank God I’ve had the opportunity to do that.

I’m just knocking on wood, stretch it as far as we want or as far as we can.”


Players like quarterback Tyler Wilson and kicker Zach Hocker still speak highly of Smith and they should.  While many Hog fans have blamed him for their team’s collapse, the real culprit is Bobby Petrino, the sunshiney Smith.  It should be clear in Arkansas today — just as it was clear in Louisville after he left there — that the secret to Petrino’s winning programs isn’t great recruiting classes, great assistants, or great defense… it’s Petrino himself.

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SEC Headlines – 11/9/10 Part Three

1.  Cornerback Ramon Broadway will be out for the remainder of the regular season after undergoing surgery on a dislocated ankle.

2.  Running back Knile Davis thanks Bobby Petrino because: “He never gave up on me.”

3.  Freshman kicker Zach Hocker continues to impress.

4.  MSU’s Pernell McPhee might not have a sack… but he has caused a few.

5.  State’s defense is allowing nearly 10 fewer points per game this season.

6.  Dan Mullen says he’s not going to answer any more questions about Cam Newton.

7.  Ole Miss and Tennessee have had similar struggles this season.

8.  Freshman defensive end Carlos Thompson is starting to contribute for the Rebels.

9.  UM’s DT Shackleford says “it’s a possibility” that he might have played for Tennessee had Phillip Fulmer not been forced out.

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Hocker Continues to Impress

Content provided by The Slophouse.

It wasn’t as if Arkansas needed another offensive weapon, but the Razorbacks have found one this season in freshman kicker Zach Hocker.

The Russellville native has been a pleasant surprise, connecting on 10 of 11 field goal attempts. His 90.9 percent accuracy is tops in the SEC and is tied for 11th nationally. He has made all 39 of his extra point attempts.

Hocker, who originally committed to Arkansas State, continued his remarkable freshman campaign Saturday night with makes from 41 and 51 yards in the Razorbacks’ 41-20 win over South Carolina. Hocker’s latter kick was the school’s longest since all-American Kendall Trainor booted a 58-yarder in 1988.

He is the first Razorbacks kicker to make a 50-yarder since Todd Wright in 1992, when Hocker was 1-year-old.

“I’m just really thankful,” Hocker said. “I just try to go out there and do the same thing over and over. Whether it’s a 20-yarder or a 50-yarder, I go out and just do the exact same thing and try to stay consistent.

“I love Coach (Bobby) Petrino for giving me the chance to out there and put it through, and having that kind of confidence in me. It means everything to go out and try to show something as a freshman.”

Hocker wasn’t even in the running for the place kicker job when preseason practices began in August. Instead, he was battling Dylan Breeding for the starting punter job.

But when Alex Tejada and Eddie Camara struggled to find consistency and Breeding began to pull away in the other competition, Hocker was given the chance to kick field goals in practices. The rest, as they say, is history.

He drilled 48-yard field goals in back-to-back games against Georgia and Alabama early in the season and has made at least one field goal in every game but one this year.

“Zach has done a tremendous job being able to deal with the pressure he has,” Arkansas special teams coordinator John L. Smith said. “I think great kickers are like ducks; they kind of let the water and the bad things roll off their back. They don’t worry about it and move on to the next kick. That’s what Zach can do as well, even though he hasn’t missed many. He has great focus.

“He’s a special kid and could be very, very special before he’s done.”

For more visit You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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