Arkansas AD behind struggling new coach

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long isn't giving up on coach John L. Smith or the season.

Long said Wednesday that he is committed to Smith for this season, despite a difficult start.

Speaking to a group of reporters after an appearance at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club, Long said he is also committed to the rest of the coaching staff, which remained intact after coach Bobby Petrino's firing in April.

"I also want to be clear, I remain steadfastly behind this group of young men and this coaching staff," Long said. "Supporting this team is the best course of action for the short and long term. … I'm confident they will work hard and win games."

The Razorbacks (1-3) lost their third straight last week, 35-26 at home to then-unranked Rutgers. Arkansas was 21-5 the previous two seasons under Petrino, who was fired for hiring his mistress to a position in the athletic department and initially lying about her presence during an April 1 motorcycle accident.

Smith, a former Michigan State and Louisville coach, was hired on a 10-month contract in April after three seasons as a Razorbacks assistant.

Smith mistakenly referred to Arkansas as Alabama during a speech to fans in Little Rock this week, and Long said he has talked to the coach about his public speaking. The coach also came under fire from fans for telling reporters to "Smile!" two days after a 52-0 loss to the No. 1 Crimson Tide.

CLEMSON: Receiver Martavis Bryant will miss two games after injuring himself while working out.

KENTUCKY: Quarterback Maxwell Smith expects to play with a separated shoulder Saturday against No. 6 South Carolina. The sophomore missed Saturday's 38-0 loss at No. 11 Florida.

NEBRASKA: Athletic director Tom Osborne, 75, said he'll retire Jan. 1. He won three national championships as the Cornhuskers' coach from 1973-97.

PENN STATE: The team is down another quarterback after backup Paul Jones left for personal reasons. The once touted recruit slipped behind freshman Steven Bench to third string. Senior Matt McGloin is the starter. Jones is the second quarterback to leave the program this year; Rob Bolden departed for LSU.

UCLA: Coach Jim Mora kicked the media out of practice after a camera crew tried to set up in a restricted area. The Los Angeles Times reported that the school's sports information department was ejected as well.

WISCONSIN: Running back Montee Ball, knocked out of last week's game with a concussion, plans to play Saturday against Nebraska, Fox Sports reported. "I'm going to play," Ball was quoted as saying. "No doubt."

SUSPENSION: The Sun Belt Conference suspended Arkansas State linebacker Qushaun Lee for one game because of a hit last weekend against Alcorn State. Lee was called for a personal foul for lowering his head during a tackle.

Arkansas AD behind struggling new coach 09/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:06am]

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