Smith Explains "Smile!" On Radio Show


You don't need me to tell you about the bizarre beginning to John L. Smith's Monday press conference.

Just type "Smile!" and "John L. Smith" into an Internet search engine and you'll get your answer.

The clip has gone viral, quickly rivaling those of Smith slapping himself in the face during a press conference at Michigan State or yelling about his coaches "screwing it up" during a halftime interview. So Smith tried to explain his reasoning behind his "Smile!" comments during the opening moments of his weekly radio show Wednesday night.

Teaser: It includes "Why would I walk into the press conference and say 'Nick Saban just ripped my heart out?'"

“We talk to our football team and our players all the time about body language. And what does your body language portray. If you have negative language it’s going to exude nothing but defeat. In fact, I met with one of our players right afterward and said you know you’re walking off the field with your head down and your chin on the floor. That exudes nothing but defeat. But the alternative is to be positive. To throw your shoulders back, to look up, to maybe smile once in awhile and exude a little positive body language. And then that will exude the opposite: Winning. OK? How do you get anything accomplished in life if you’re negative?

“So I walk in, the media, you know that’s kind of like walking in and addressing my football team. You look ... What is going on? Everybody’s head is down. It’s like we’re crying. These guys (referring to his players) will tell you, I’ll say, 'Hey, turn, sit up, pay attention. Put a smile on your face. We’re going to get something accomplished.' And that’s what I would’ve told you guys (again referring to players). So that’s kind of what happened. I walked in there and, my goodness, I’ve never felt so much negativity coming at me in a long, long time. So I said, 'Hey, put a smile on your face. Let’s go get something accomplished. Let’s get better.' You know?

“And if somebody in the media or the fans out there would ever misconstrue that as not being serious about the game … then they don’t know us very well do they? That’s our life. Football is our life. And coaching these young men is our life. And winning is our life. So to misconstrue trying to be positive, trying to exude a little positive energy to not caring or not being serious, whoever they are, those people are sadly, sadly mistaken. And I apologize if that’s the way it came across.

“In athletics, what do we teach our guys? Don’t show pain. Right? Why would you show that they’ve hurt you? Right? So why would I walk into a press conference and say, ‘Nick Saban just ripped my heart out?’ Even though you feel that you’re not going to say that. You’re not going to act like that. You’re not going to show that. So, yeah, again, you want to be positive. You want to teach your guys how to handle it. And that’s what we teach in athletics is don’t let them know that they’ve hurt you. Right? So we’re not going to cry. We’re going to get up. And we’re going to bounce back and we’re going to carry on. And we’re going to get better. And that’s the way we are.”

For what it's worth: There weren't any media members in the room with their heads down crying.

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau