John L. Smith was introduced as the next head coach at Arkansasthis week, receiving a ten month contract through the end of the season. Whilemany more high profile names will surface in the discussion comes November,Smith is in the unique position of controlling his own destiny. The one yearhire was really the only way athletic director Jeff Long could go consideringthe timing of the situation, the make up of his staff and more importantly theexperience of his team. Taver Johnson and Garrick McGhee were not ready to bethe guy in Longs eyes and neither guy was willing to mortgage the futurewith a one year winner take all situation. Smith brings head coachingexperience, roster knowledge and a calming influence to a volatile fan base.Smith didnt do himself any public relations favors by basically sayingchampionship or bust in his news conference. But Smith gets it he understandswhat an opportunity this is and why not grab the bull by the horns and changethe culture of Arkansas football forever.Bobby Petrino was on his way to changing the culture ofArkansas and turning the Razorbacks into a national championship team. Themissing ingredients were a bruising run game like LSU and Alabama and a solid defenselike the upper half of the league. Knile Davis returns to give the Hogs thatelement against heavyweights Alabama and LSU, while the defensive issues wereaddressed before the bowl game against Kansas State. Smith needs to build thisteam up, convince them they are one step away and then find a way to get thejob done. If he can do that he may get an extension, heck he may get a statue.But if the Hogs slip up or find some adversity, he will have a hard timecontrolling his team because of the contract situation he is under. September 15th the champs come toFayetteville in what should be a nationally televised game. Based on what Iheard at Smiths press conference there is a good shot he can be baited in totalking about that game now, especially with two non conference games to start.Razorbacks Key Games-September 15th vs. Alabama-September 29th at Texas A&M-November 10th at South Carolina-November 24th vs. LSUSpring RewindTennessee got a big game from Marlin Lane with over 100yards and showed some life during its spring game. Last year Lane had 280 yardstotal and the Vols only averaged 2.76 yards per carry. Lane possesses thestrength to run inside, but the speed to grab big chunks. The defense rolledout its 3-4 look and the Volunteers look to be a dangerous team in 2012. Its allmental with Tennessee; if they can block out the noise in the system they canreturn to the post season.Arkansas put on an offensive show with Tyler Wilson and KobiHamilton. Wilson showed his experience by spreading the ball around, especiallyto the tight ends. I thought the Razorbacks set this scrimmage up perfectly.The first team clobbered the back ups, fueling the momentum in Fayetteville.I dont know Hugh Freeze at all, (except what I have seen inthe movie) but you have to love the fact that he had overtime in his springgame. He made it competitive, which is the first step to building your program.When you tear down the entitlement that comes with todays athletes and makethem earn their position it helps you build. The quarterback situation isinteresting with the passer Bo Wallace a junior college transfer and the runnerBarry Brunetti (formerly of West Virginia).Based on the spring game and practice overall these two guys couldbattle all the way through the season.Finally the Mississippi State Bulldogs had their spring gametied in with a Sugarland concert. Now thats what Im talking about! Sugarlands Jennifer Nettles performed Hank Williams classic your cheatin heart for aSuper Bowl commercial, but I digress. DanMullen will throw the ball more this season than he ever has atMississippi State. Tyler Wilson may have set the spring practice record forattempts while trying to break in a talented new receiving corps. Last year theDogs had 19 touchdown passes the most under Mullen. I say the beat thatby at least five this season.
Hogs Have a One Year Deal for John L Smith
April 24, 2012, 9:15 pm