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JOHN L. SMITH
MATT GAGNE
August 17, 2012
GETS INTO HIS TEAM'S DEPTH AND HIS STAFF'S FEELINGS
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August 17, 2012

John L. Smith

GETS INTO HIS TEAM'S DEPTH AND HIS STAFF'S FEELINGS

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SI: How has this team's focus been affected by the coaching change?

JLS: Our goal is not going to change. It's to win the SEC championship. Once you get that, you're playing for the big one. That's our expectation.

SI: What is your main worry this season?

JLS: We're not as deep as we'd like to be on defense. Our defensive front will be very capable, but our linebackers and secondary have to stay healthy.

SI: YOU SIGNED A 10-MONTH CONTRACT. WILL THAT IMPACT HOW YOU COACH?

JLS: TEN MONTHS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN FOUR YEARS. YOU ACT LIKE YOU'LL BE HERE A LIFETIME. BUT THE REALITY IS, YOU HAVE TO PRODUCE. IF THEY WANT YOU GONE YOU'RE GONE.

SI: There appeared to be several viable internal head coaching candidates. Were there hurt feelings among the assistants?

JLS: I'm sure. But we don't have time to think about that. There won't be a transition. The staff has hit the ground running and we have to come even closer together.

SI: Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino stayed on after his brother's firing. Any awkwardness?

JLS: Of the coaches on staff, Paul and I have been together the longest. We're part of each other's family. Paul knows what had to take place. Would he love to be head coach? There may be a point in time when he may be. But I don't think he would say anything but, "This is the right move and I'm going to do everything I can do." He's a super individual.

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