Maybe because he hasn’t been caught with a mistress half his age whom he put on the university payroll?
Well, not yet, anyway.
Yeah, you read the headline correctly. The University of Arkansas, in a continuing quest to succeed in football despite itself hired John L. Smith, former Michigan State mediocrity-meister to replace the disgraced Bobby Petrino.
John L. Fucking Smith.
This hire may set records for completely not making sense, ironically because it does make some sense. You may have to follow me closely to catch the pretzel Arkansas logic in play here.
Let’s talk about the parts that sort of make sense. Arkansas through a funky set of circumstances found itself in need of a football coach at a time when most other programs are in the midst spring practices, and John L. Smith is a a football coach. Not only is Smith a coach, he just so happened to be an assistant coach on the Arkansas staff some years back. If you only look at those points, then this hire almost…almost makes sense.
But looking at this hire with that filter is like calling a Kardashian “attractive” without seeing what they look like without the trowels full of makeup required to make them look human.
Now I have a bit more sympathy for Lamar Odom, but that's another story.
The fact is rather simple. John L. Smith sucks as a football coach. Why do you think the only place he could get a job was at middle-of-nowhere Weber State? Yeah, he wrapped getting that job in the usual bullshit about coming home to coach his alma mater; Smith gushed about leading Weber State to the national championship with “I’ve always had a place in my heart for Weber State.” I’ll come back to this; right now I want to focus on Smith’s suckitude as a football coach.
Smith's tenure at Weber State almost outlasted Mike Price's at Alabama.
He’s 1-6 in bowl games, and has never taken a team to a bowl game better than the Alamo Bowl, which he lost with Michigan State. His record in “big conference football” is pretty dismal, especially if you remember that I don’t count Louisville and the Big East as “big conference football” because it isn’t. At Michigan State, John L. racked up a 22-26 record – 12-20 in conference play – and had the aforementioned Alamo Bowl loss to show for four seasons in East Lansing.
Here’s a question: Was this hire a panic move because Gus Malzahn wouldn’t return Arkansas’ phone calls or did Arkansas wait until they found a guy who could be as much of a douche-nozzle as Bobby Petrino?
Oops, did I let the “P” word slip, Hawg fans? Well, it’s time a for a bitter pill to swallow in Woo-Pig-Sooie land. The problem in your football program may be bigger than the head coach…it may be time to look at your athletic director Jeff Long.
Long is the guy who hired Petrino, and did so knowing he was stealing a coach away from a prior commitment in the middle of a season. Long is also the guy who put the “P-word’s” mistress on the university payroll. Long is the guy who threw the “P-word” under the bus only after his douchebaggery became public knowledge. And now Long hired John L. Smith.
Look at the track record here…First you have the “P-word,” who has left a snail trail everywhere he’s been. Even before the discovery of his university-paid bimbo, Petrino secretly interviewed in midseason Louisville for the Auburn job, a move intended to stab his friend Tommy Tuberville in the back. All through his career, he has always flirted for other jobs, including ditching the Atlanta Falcons in mid-season at Jeff Long’s behest. The “Long” and short of it is that Bobby Petrino is a bad guy; so bad that ultimately even winning wouldn’t cover for what a bad guy he is.
The "P-word's" face is in almost as tough of shape as his reputation.
Now, let’s go back to John L. and his alma mater. He made such a big deal out of being “back home,” yet skipped town in the midst of spring practice season the minute the phone rang. That makes it pretty clear this guy’s words means as much as something you might scrape off the sidewalk, which also makes it pretty clear Long has replaced one douchebag with another.
Don’t get me wrong here, I understand that coaches bail on teams all the time; I’m not “Polly-Anna” enough to buy that there’s any loyalty in college football. But just because everybody is a douchebag doesn’t mean you have to be one as well. I know Weber State isn’t even in the same universe with Arkansas. I know Weber State isn’t in the BCS. But I also know Weber State is John L.’s alma mater, and he’s the one who gave us the “Oh, it’s so great to be back home” sap-fest.
What utter bullshit.
John L. skulked out of town perfectly Petrino-like after filling us with such twaddle about his “alma mater.” Never mind he hasn’t even coached a single game at Weber State. Never mind all he did was coach the spring scrimmage game. Never mind that now we know John L.’s word means less than nothing. What matters is as convoluted as this all is, it still doesn’t make sense while making sense.
We know Petrino was a guy with no honor or loyalty. We know Jeff Long is the sort of guy who hires guys with no loyalty or honor. We know that because John L. is also a guy with no loyalty or honor and Jeff Long hired him.
Forget about how Long got down to John L. Smith’s name on his list. Forget that to replace Petrino, Long first wanted the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, who left Southern California months before the NCAA could hammer Carroll’s Trojan handy-work with the harshest football sanctions since Southern Methodist got the “death penalty.” Forget that Sean Payton, the same suspended Saints sideline man who is balls-deep into his own scandal, was rumored to be on Long’s list. You can even forget that Jeff Long is clearly a terrible judge of character.
What matters is that Long knew John L. Smith would never turn down this job. He knew this because like the “P-word,” John L. has a track record. Don’t forget this is the very John L. who left Louisville for Michigan State literally during a game. Louisville was playing Marshall in the GMAC Bowl when the news broke that Smith had taken the Michigan State job. John L. was standing on the Cardinals’ sideline, as cameras caught his players learning during the game their coach wouldn’t even be on the team flight home that night.
Now for the twist. This isn’t even a “real” job offer; John L. is only getting the gig on an “interim” basis. This makes Long’s knowing John L. would never turn down his offer all that much more important. Long needed a coach and he knew John L.’s song and dance was so much bullshit that he would ditch the “sanctity of his alma mater” to be a fucking temp…
This brings us back to what and what doesn’t make sense. The personalities of Petrino, Long and John L. clearly fit; there’s something to be said for building your own den of thieves. But I may be waiting a long time before somebody can make sense out the expectation of having football program run by John L. Smith.