Arkansas' offensive and defensive coordinators will be on the sideline for games this season instead of working from a booth in the press box. Or at least that’s the plan for now.
Coach John L. Smith has some fun with his Razorbacks, including fullback Kiero Small (36) and running back Dennis Johnson (33), during Media Day.
But first-year Coach John L. Smith emphasized Saturday that it is “not etched in stone.”
“We have to make sure that we understand what’s best for us,” Smith said during the Razorbacks’ Media Day event.
In the past at previous stops, Smith has had coordinators work games from the field, and he’s had them work from the booth.
“It’s kind of a deal where we’ve even changed during the middle of the year,” Smith said. “If you look back, Bobby (Petrino) felt very comfortable on the field when he was a coordinator. Going back to Scotty Linehan, he felt comfortable upstairs as a coordinator.
"So I think that (comfort) is a part of it as well as getting the communication, getting the adjustments is the biggest thing. So that being said, we’re going to have the people on the field. If we can get the adjustment from the box to the field to the kid, then we’re OK. If there’s a step missing somewhere, then we might have to make a change.”
What’s up with Alvin?
Arkansas’ preseason second-team All-SEC offensive lineman Alvin Bailey hasn’t been working with the first-team offense in fall camp and was on the second team in the spring, too.
What do Arkansas’ coaches need to see from Bailey, a two-year starter, to put him back on the first team?
Alvin Bailey is on the watch lists for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.
Smith elaborated Saturday.
“First thing I want to see is real good grades from this summer,” he said. “And it’s not always necessarily the things that are taking place on the field. We have to be, and he has to be – and I’m going to be honest in this – more demanding of himself academically and what takes place off the field. That’s the first key for him.
"Show these guys that you’re going to be there with them. Show these guys that you’re going to do what’s demanded academically. And he’ll get that done. And he’s I’m sure feeling that this is an important deal. So it starts there.”
The Razorbacks don’t have a win total in their heads that they would like to achieve. There is only one goal, and it’s not a number, according to the head coach.
“Right now we are talking about one thing, and that is our expectation of winning a national championship,” Smith said. “Regardless of numbers, that is what we are talking about.”
The Razorbacks appear to be embracing that expectation, and Smith said that’s a great thing.
“You don’t want the other thing where they would embrace ‘We’d like to be fifth in the league,’" Smith said. “You want to embrace the goal that we’re going to be the best. Is it pressure? I don’t see it as that way. It’s something that we dream about it. We shoot for. We’re striving for it. It gives us an energy daily, so it has to be that.”
John L.’s greatest hits
Smith, who is known for his off-the-cuff remarks, got a few laughs out of the media Saturday.
A quick sampling of some of Smith's funnier quotes:
To radio show host Bo Mattingly: “You know the only reason I like you here? It’s because you have less hair than me.”
On quarterback Tyler Wilson: “I hate to use the word, but he’s kind of like a little rose. He’s a pretty little flower. He’s starting to blossom.”
On what it feels like to be a head coach again: “I feel great. I feel comfortable out there. The only time I feel bad is when I have to see you guys (reporters). That’s after every practice. But other than that, it’s awesome.”