From an Arkansas fan's perspective, I count myself amongst those who see the positives more than any negatives in the hiring of John L. Smith to be the head coach in 2012. As others have pointed out, he brings experience with our players, experience with our staff, and head coaching experience. Experience, all around! And the prevailing opinion is that he knows the importance of not getting in the way of the assistants and the players and will let them do their jobs. To boot, he is something of a character, but hopefully not as much of a character as was the head coach before Petrino.
With that said, I think we would be in the wrong if he we didn't acknowledge here that there are also some young men in Utah who are experiencing the exact opposite of Knile Davis' best day of his life upon hearing the news that John L. Smith is leaving Weber State after just just four months on the job. If you want to see who they are, I put the roster after the jump.
It is a cut-throat business, college football. But it is also one where people doing the cutting like to pretend and have you believe that this is all about the players and raising young boys into young men, yadda, yadda, yadda. But money and ego are really the true shoes upon which coaches do most of their walking, when it comes right down to it. When Petrino left the millionaire players on the Falcons with three games left in the season (not middle of the season, ESPN), that was easier to explain away, that being a pro sport where there is little pretense of loyalty. But John L. Smith left players who were counting on him to be their coach in the fall. And none of them have millionaire salaries to fall back on either. Just think for a moment how we would all feel if a coach did the same thing to an Arkansas team at this time of year.
Think about this scenario as well. What if Jeff Long had said this to John L. Smith when he volunteered to come back to Arkansas: "Coach, I appreciate your offer. I really do. I am really in a fix at the moment. But I just can't in good conscience take a head coach from another team, no matter what level, at this time of year. Those young men at Weber State are counting on you. You best attend to them. I'll promote somebody from within or get somebody not in coaching at the moment. Thanks for the offer." Didn't happen. And in this dog-eat-dog business of coaching, it probably would not have happened at most other schools either.
So where does that leave us? I certainly wish Weber State the best in finding a new coach at this time of year. I hope that person fits in with the current players there. You know, I don't expect to ever get much help if my car, with Razorback stickers on it, should ever breakdown in Ogden, Utah, that's for sure. On second thought, I probably should just forever avoid passing through there. But am I not going to purchase tickets after making my donation to the foundation as a way of protesting the treatment of the Weber State players? No. For I also love and support our own players. The least I think we can do, however, is remember that this initially is not a win-win for everybody involved. We've poached a coach. And as football karma likes to strike in Fayetteville like nowhere else it seems, we probably should batten down the hatches for what will come next.