The Arkansas Razorbacks will soon announce former Michigan State and Louisville head coach John L. Smith as their 2012 interim, the Associated Press reported. Pat Forde now confirms the report, adding a note about the length of Smith's term that runs contrary to previous reports, which had the next Hogs boss being named a non-interim:
Heavy speculation over the past week was that Arkansas would hire an interim coach for the 2012 season and then work on a long-term replacement for fired Bobby Petrino. Smith is not an interim coach in title, but has a 10-month contract and a long-term search is expected after the season.
Smith left Arkansas as special teams coach just months ago to take over the head coaching job at Weber State, his alma mater. If Arkansas was hoping to switch up the reputation it got by swiping Bobby Petrino away from another job ... this won't do it. While even a temporary head coaching job in the SEC surpasses just about any non-FBS job, this is still quite a surprising move all around.
Just about Arkansas' entire coaching staff is familiar with Smith, and his hire will enable coordinators to focus on coordinatin', but this is a name nobody predicted.