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Keith Smart Has Been in 'Interim' Role with Teams Before

Hogs' assistant has confidence not much will change taking over for a couple of weeks with Eric Musselman out

Taking over for an ailing head coach isn't exactly foreign to Arkansas assistant Keith Smart.

"When I was coaching at Golden State, I coached 17 games with coach Don Nelson there," he said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "It's not a new thing."

Eric Musselman suffered a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder a couple of months ago when Trey Wade landed on him during a practice. After dealing with a lot of pain, Musselman gave up and went under the knife Thursday morning.

Eric Musselman-Keith Smart

With Eric Musselman having to get his torn rotator cuff fixed, he turned to Keith Smart to take over.

As you might suspect from Musselman, he had gone through the scenarios for a couple of days.

"We had talked about it for a while," Smart said.

Musselman and the players didn't mention the surgery coming up the next morning at his press conference after an 83-47 win over Missouri to finally get a league win.

Any situation like this requires some trust by the head coach the assistant he puts in place and he has that with Smart.

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"I've been around Coach Muss for so long and have a good understanding of how his approach was to being here and watching him work every day," Smart said. "But I've got to coach in my style and my personality. I talked with coach about that and he said just do what you need to do and keep preparing this team to get ready to play a game."

That will come quickly in Smart's hometown of Baton Rouge, although the Tigers weren't too interested in him coming out of high school or after a couple of years of junior college.

Smart will just try to keep things rolling from the big win over Missouri.

"Momentum is key in any game," he said Thursday. "They’re feeling very confident in what they have done and what they had to do last night."

Now they see if they can carry that on the road before returning home for a pair of games next week against South Carolina and Texas A&M.


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