Why I'm Giving John L. Smith A "Pass"

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The John L. Smith "experiment" has failed. Epically. There's no need to nitpick at a senile old man over it.

Maybe "pass" is too strong of a word. Honestly, I'm not sure what an appropriate word would be. Frankly, the team's performance thus far this season is completely unacceptable, and as head coach, he's on the hook for that.

But, I just can't bring myself to be angry, indignant, or even incredulous about JLS calling us "Alabama", doing some kind of Joker impression (SMILE!), or whatever other goofy thing he's done this week.

If JLS were a "real" coach, his ass would be gone already and we'd be cutting our losses this season with an interim. Problem is, he's already an interim. His employment is already predicated on cutting our losses. What's the point in firing an interim coach just to hire another interim coach? How many millions of dollars to we want to spend on interim coaches this season? It's a valid a question. Whatever your opinion, unless JLS suddenly develops an interest in Harleys and Jerry Seinfeld-esque women, we're probably stuck with him for the duration.

People are rightfully angry (and even embarrassed) about recent events. And, naturally, that anger leads people to lash out at anything and everything they can regarding the cause of said events. In this case, that's JLS. But, think about what he's going through.

  1. The current state of the dumpster fire that is the Razorback football program is effectively on his shoulders. We can argue all day long about who is responsible for the current state of the program, but perception is everything. And right now, the perception is that JLS took a preseason Top 10 team with a legit shot to compete for the SEC and a national championship and engineered one of the most spectacular crash-and-burns ever. That's going to stick with him for a while; frankly, his days as a HC (at any level) may be over.
  2. He knows (or should know) that he's unemployed effective Nov. 24. And, he should be. But, the only thing worse than being fired is knowing that you're about to be fired and not being able to do anything about it.
  3. He's $25M in debt, and had to file for bankruptcy because of it. Points 1) and 2) aren't going to help, either.
  4. His brother just died. What more needs to be said?

That's a bad couple of weeks, by anybody's standards.

Given all this, I'm just unwilling to show any emotion about a senile old man's off-the-field eccentricities. It feels nit-picky. It feels disingenuous. It feels trite.

The only emotion I'm willing to show is this: Thank for the "effort", I guess. Don't let the door hit you on the way out on Nov. 24.

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