John L. Smith has returned to lead the Razorbacks and bring new energy to the football program. In Tuesday’s news conference Athletic Director Jeff Long was optimistic about the future of the football program and said hiring Smith was the best decision for this team.
"Coach Smith he might be a little more extraverted so to speak,” Long said. “He has those same principles. He has high expectations, he has accountability, he going to have expectations for our student athletes and to me that the key to a successful program.”
Long said he hadn't thought of hiring Coach Smith until Smith called an athletic department official.
"He had not been a thought until I was told that he inquired through John Fagg, and then obviously I said ‘wow I should have been thinking of John L.,’" Long said.
Football players at the news conference were happy Smith is returning to the program.
"Definitely, excited,” said Knile Davis. “I'm glad that John L came back. Jeff Long did a great job with the hire and I totally back him. I'm just ready to play football now.”
"He's a great coach and I think a lot of players will play hard for him,” Cobi Hamilton said. “I think we will bring everything together.”
Long says Smith's leadership style is attractive to the players.
"John L. is a different kind of leader but I think he commands the respect of the student athletes so I think it's a really good fit, I really do," Long said.
Long says this will give him more time to make a decision on a permanent coach.