Posted November 20, 2012 on AP on Fox
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer John L. Smith figures to leave Arkansas riding the same overflowing emotion that carried him back to the state. The likely farewell tour for the interim coach began in earnest Monday, with Smith left fighting back tears while discussing his coaching future, the Razorbacks' season-finale against LSU, and the difficult season that has left Arkansas (4-7, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) outside of the bowl picture for the first time since 2008. Smith, who was hired in April to replace the fired Bobby Petrino, is hoping to keep coaching after this season - wherever that might be. The former Michigan State and Louisville coach also acknowledged the possibility that he won't be back with the Razorbacks, a likely scenario as athletic director Jeff Long continues his search for a permanent coach. ''Boy, I'd sure like to go out with a win,'' Smith said of Friday's game with the No. 8 Tigers (9-2, 5-2). Smith was lauded by Arkansas' players for his personable ways when he took over for Petrino, and he was nearly overcome with emotion several times Monday. The 64-year-old Smith, who is dealing with his personal $40.7 million bankruptcy case and the death of his younger brother during the losing season, said he hasn't talked directly with Long about his future. Long said last month that Smith was still a candidate for the full-time job, adding that it would be apparent at the end of the season whether Smith was his choice. ''It has not worked like I would have liked to come back and give them, so I'm a little bit regretful in the fact I would have like to give them more wins, if you can give that,'' Smith said. ''But you try to give what you can and do all you can and prepare them the best you can. And hopefully we've been a positive, positive influence on their lives. That's the best you can do, I guess.'' Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was in the room for Monday's news conference, waiting his turn to speak, and he watched as Smith's eyes filled with tears. Wilson said the heightened emotions and reflection were the result of the Razorbacks' latest loss, a 45-14 setback to Mississippi State that ended any hopes of a fourth straight bowl game. ''I think it's emotional for all of us,'' Wilson said. The senior also admitted the last six months ''have been tough,'' but he praised Smith for helping keep the team together. ''He's always got a smile,'' Wilson said. ''Whether he's feeling it deep down in there or not, it's the way he expresses himself. And, you know, it touches everybody.'' The Razorbacks were 21-5 the last two seasons under Petrino and had hopes of competing for SEC and national championships this season. Those hopes, however, crashed in the wake of Petrino's April 1 motorcycle accident - an accident that led to revelations of Petrino's extramarital affair, and that he had hired his mistress to work in the athletic department. Smith, who had been an Arkansas assistant under Petrino the last three seasons, was signed to a 10-month contract by Long after a brief stint as head coach at his alma mater, Weber State. Smith said he expects to be ''over-emotional'' this week, both before, during and after Friday's game. ''I'm very thankful for this,'' Smith said. ''I'm thankful for having the opportunity to come back. I'm thankful that these guys thought enough of me to say, to say `that's a guy we'd like back.''' Smith did his best to hold his emotions in check while answering his final question on Monday. He was asked about fans' support for Friday's game, and his answer quickly turned into an outpouring of thankfulness - and apologies - before quickly leaving the stage to conceal his tears. ''We're sorry again we couldn't have maybe done more,'' Smith said. ''... Our fans have been the best place I've ever been. If I get one bad email, I get 100 good ones, in saying thank you. So, please come and say thanks to those players.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Report: College teams now pursuing Jon Gruden

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, both Arkansas and Tennessee are now pursuing former Buccaneers and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Arkansas is reportedly ready to make Gruden the highest paid head coach in the SEC. Former Buccaneers and Raiders coach Jon Gruden has been one of the most coveted coaching candidates since leaving the game for the broadcast booth after the...

Arkansas Fans Looking Forward to the Boot Friday

For many Arkansas Razorback fans, Friday can’t come soon enough. Not because they expect their beloved Hogs to beat LSU and take back the Golden Boot trophy. No, the only boot Razorback fans know for sure they are going to see Friday is the boot up John L. Smith’s backside officially ending his disastrous 10-month tenure as head football coach.To paraphrase a quote from Sir Winston...
PLEASE HELP US

Arkansas fans try to serenade Jon Gruden

If the Bobby Petrino fiasco and subsequent debacle of a season have taught us anything about Arkansas fans, it's that they can't help but write songs about stuff. First, it was the lady wearing the Hog head singing wistfully about the Razorbacks' struggles. Now these three – might I say, well-harmonized – cats have worked up there own rendition of Paul McCartney&...

Arkansas 112, Longwood 63

BJ Young's 23 points and 5 assists lead six Arkansas players in double figures as the Razorbacks rout Longwood 112-63 Sunday afternoon before 5,835 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas 89, FAMU 60

Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell gets a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Rickey Scott adds 13 points, BJ Young 12 and Mardracus Wade 11 Tuesday night in Arkansas' 89-60 win over Florida A&M before 6,450 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

LSU Looks to Stay the Course Against Arkansas

The LSU Tigers, still on the prowl for a BCS berth, will look to take care of business on the road Saturday against the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks. The college football odds have the hungry Tigers (9-2, 5-2) upwards of a 13-point favorite with the over/under installed at 51 points. LSU has won two straight since having its national-title hopes dashed in a loss to Alabama, but...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.