Smith contract a mistake, some Razorbacks quit, two coaches say
Posted by: Josh Kendall on January 31, 2013
It's easy to see now that John L. Smith's one season at Arkansas was not a success.
Paul Petrino could have told you it didn't have much of a chance from the start.
Smith's 10-month contract made it impossible for the coaching staff to properly handle the team and some of the players eventually quit on the coaches, former Razorbacks offensive coordinator Petrino and former defensive coordinator Paul Haynes both told the Sporting News.
"I don't think an A.D. should ever hire somebody for 10 months," Petrino said. "Players know what that means; they understand that. It hurts the power of the head coach and the assistants. They should've hired (Smith) for two years or hired someone else for two years, or just (expletive)-canned all of us."
Both coaches added they do not hold a grudge against Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long after the 4-8 season that led to the dismissal of Smith and the staff.
"Even if they had a plan to get rid of us no matter what, which I think they did, you say two years and I think the kids dig in," Haynes said. "When you give 10 months, everyone is on eggshells."
Smith agreed although he didn't go as far as his two former assistants.
"You look back and, yeah, a little more time would've been nice," he told Sporting News. "Does that give you more teeth? Yes."
The uncertainty of the situation made it difficult for the assistants to give Smith their best effort, Petrino added.
"It was also hard for John L. with assistants," he said, "maybe even with me. And I love John; outside of my brother and my dad, that's the person in football I love the most. ... I don't necessarily know if he was ever able to be himself all the way."
Josh Kendall is a staff writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered the SEC for more than 15 years for papers such as the Athens Banner-Herald, Macon Telegraph, and The State. He’s the father of two boys who he’s hoping don’t inherit his wide receiver frame and offensive guard feet. Follow @EyeOnCoaches on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org