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April 23, 2012

What the L.?

Associated Press is reporting that Arkansas has hired John L. Smith to replace Bobby Petrino as interim coach. Although Smith is a Petrino mentor and coached special teams for him there, I did not see this coming. At all. Here's a story out of Little Rock. Cue fast-field-goal and other jokes.

    UPDATE: They aren't too happy over at Weber State.

    From that perspective, John L. does not look too impressive right now. Since YouTube clips of some of his fabled MSU moments are now flying around, I'll reiterate what I've said many times about his tenure at MSU: He took a program in absolute disarray after three years of Bobby Williams and did some things to improve it. He nearly broke through a few times -- but didn't, and that's ultimately on him. Still, a pretty good coach who never really connected at MSU in the way he needed to succeed. But Mark Dantonio certainly appreciated the chance to succeed right away with players such as Javon Ringer, Devin Thomas, Jehuu Caulcrick, Brian Hoyer, Otis Wiley, Jonal Saint-Dic, Ervin Baldwin, Pete Clifford, etc. It's not like Dantonio inherited a pig (fitting reference for today). He inherited a mid-level program with a mid-level mindset ("We can't recruit against the big boys," "We don't want to get into the phonebooth with Ohio State and Penn State," etc.) and proved -- rather quickly -- that it could scoff at those limitations and take the next step.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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