It's been a little less than 24 hours since Arkansas officially John L. Smith as its interim head coach and the man who will try to lead the Razorbacks to an SEC title and perhaps a trip to a BCS bowl game. On the surface, this appears to be a good choice. Smith was on the Arkansas staff, he knows the players, is popular with them, and best of all, he has head coaching experience.
However, its hard not to ignore what he did to Weber State. He left his alma mater high and dry with three months until fall camp. This after saying he was proud to coach his alma mater and eluded to wanted to end his coaching career there.
[ Pat Forde: John L. Smith's wife sealed the coach's hiring at Arkansas ]
"This is not a good time to hire a new football coach," Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee told the Salt Lake Tribune from Indianapolis, where he is attending an NCAA convention.
"I was surprised, disappointed," Bovee continued. "By the same token, this is a business — sometimes a cold business."
It's weird to see Smith handed the keys to a potential national champion considering his last head coaching stint fell flat. He was 22-26 at Michigan State, 3-13 in league games in his final two seasons, and fans rejoiced when he was shown the door.
But Smith did do good things in his first major head coaching gig at Louisville. Twice the Cardinals won the Conference USA championship and finished no lower than third during his tenure. It's fair to say he's responsible for Louisville's promotion to the Big East.
But Louisville is a far cry from a potential national title contender like the Razorbacks. Smith gains some credibility from players who are excited for his return. Running back Knile Davis called the announcement, "The happiest day of my life."
[ Pat Forde: Arkansas hit a home run hiring John L. Smith as coach ]
Smith also received an endorsement from former coach Bobby Petrino, which may or may not be a good thing.
"I think Jeff Long made a great hire," Petrino said in a statement through his attorney. "While there were several outstanding internal candidates, John L. brings a lot of head coaching experience to the table that will help Arkansas' transition. He will unify the staff, the team and the Razorback fan base. I wish coach Smith, his staff and the Arkansas football team the very best."
It also helps that the coaching staff which helped Arkansas be so successful a year ago remains intact. Make no mistake, this hire was about keeping continuity and this should achieve that.
But is Smith the best interim solution? He came out of the blue, wasn't on anyone's radar and yet seems like the most logical choice to lead especially since Arkansas probably wasn't going to land its top permanent replacement.
So what do you think of the Smith hire? Are you happy with it? Should athletic director Jeff Long have gone with Taver Johnson or Paul Haynes?
What's your take?
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