Coaches, Players, Comfortable with Smith
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When John L. Smith was hired in April as the Arkansas head football coach, the selling point was the players’ familiarity with him.
Turns out, the coaching staff’s pretty comfortable with him as well, seeing as he had already worked with eight of his nine assistants before this season.
“It’s more like you’re in the shoe that you should be in, rather than trying to fit your foot in,” Smith said. “When you take over a new program, it’s like, ‘Ok, everything is new and I have to repeat myself 100 times.’”
Written into Smith’s 10 month contract was a clause stipulating that the coaching staff remained intact, minimizing the changes for the team to absorb after Bobby Petrino’s dismissal.
“A lot of what we do structurally when Bob was here, now that John L. is back, isn’t going to change,” said offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. “That makes it better for the players.”
This will be the first full season for Paul Petrino in his second stint at Arkansas, and first ever for new defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, but Cotton Bowl workouts and spring practice have already bred a level of familiarity.
“The good thing when you’re familiar with guys is you can challenge guys,” Haynes said. “That’s player to coach and coach to player, and make sure at the end of the day everybody’s on the same page.”
Arkansas opens the season Sept. 1 at home against Jacksonville State.