Arkansas' Smith to fans: 'Don't give up on us'

By: David Harten
Published: September 24, 2012 at 1:27 p.m. - Updated: September 24, 2012 at 4:23 p.m.
STAFF PHOTO JASON IVESTER
Arkansas head coach John L. Smith walks off the field following the Razorbacks' 35-26 loss to Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Jason Ivester
STAFF PHOTO JASON IVESTER Arkansas head coach John L. Smith walks off the field following the Razorbacks' 35-26 loss to Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas coach John L. Smith spoke to the media and to members of the Little Rock Touchdown Club Monday at the Embassy Suites in west Little Rock.

Among the topics, Smith addressed the injuries to Chris Gragg and Tevin Mitchel, the state of the team heading into the game against Texas A&M and his coaching philosophy toward leading the Razorbacks.

John L. Smith makes 'state of Alabama' gaffe

Arkansas coach John L. Smith misspoke in his address of the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, calling the Razorbacks a "state of Alabama" program. He later was told of the mistake and corrected himself. The correction drew laughs from the fans, while the original slip-up drew groans. (By David Harten)
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Arkansas coach John L. Smith speaks to the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday. Smith took questions from members and explained the strategy for the rest of the season for the Razorbacks.

John L. Smith speaks to LRTD Club

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Arkansas coach John L. Smith addresses the media prior to the Little Rock Touchdown Club at the Embassy Suites in west Little Rock on Monday afternoon. Among the topics were the injuries to Tevin Mitchell and Chris Gragg, the production from Dennis Johnson and if he believes going to a bowl game is within reach in 2012.

John L. Smith addresses media at LRTD Club

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During his 10-minute session with the media and his 45-minute with the patrons, Smith pleaded with the fans not to give up on the team, yet he took responsibility for the team's mistakes. The Razorbacks have yet to beat a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. Their lone victory came against Football Championship Subdivision member Jacksonville State to open the season.

Things did take a turn for the awkward when Smith said the program was a "state of Alabama" program during his speech, drawing several groans from the crowd. Smith later said the he meant to say "state of Arkansas" program. The Crimson Tide beat the Razorbacks 52-0 two weeks ago in Fayetteville.

Smith said Gragg had a deep bruise into his thigh bone and that cornerback Mitchel was working his way back after being knocked out of the Louisiana-Monroe game on Sept. 8 after colliding with a teammate on a tackle. Mitchel had to be carted off the field.

Fans asked several critical questions of the team, specifically noting the deficiencies on defense, which has given up an average of 40.3 points per game in the Razorbacks' last three games.

Arkansas is currently 1-3 on the season after a 35-26 loss to Rutgers on Saturday.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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