He was anxious to help his team start correcting some ball control and fundamental mistakes it had in a 49-24 season-opening win over Jacksonville State on Saturday night.
The Razorbacks (1-0) host Louisiana-Monroe (0-0) Saturday night at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.
"After reviewing the film and studying, there were a lot of good things," Smith said. "A lot of things we have to improve on, without a doubt. Just like everybody in the country right now, you're working on getting better. Good thing is we get a little bit of extra practice in today to get better. We have to make some improvement. That's obvious. I think that's what everybody's goal is at this point. But, as you look at it, there were some positives and there's positives we're going to build on and we're going to correct the negatives."
The Razorbacks, normally off on Monday, were able to get in an extra practice this week because school was out this Monday for Labor Day.
The scout team will definitely be going after the football after three seniors – Tyler Wilson, Chris Gragg and Ronnie Wingo – all lost fumbles in the first game.
"We have to do a better job of that," Smith said. "Those kids understand that, and we're going to make an effort to work on that in practice as well. Hopefully we can get our scout team to be more avid about trying to strip, trying to do all those things. Again, you can't go contact during the week. You can try to strip the ball out and do those things, so we have to do that."
Senior linebacker Tank Wright mentioned several things will be the focus of a defense that had some busted assignments.
"This week is really going to be an overemphasis on fundamentals, just eye control, tackling, hand control, moving our feet and playing with lateral movement and getting downhill as well," Wright said. "Just going back to the drawing board, going back to the practice field and just going out and playing fundamentally option football and pass football. Just going out and getting better."
Wright stressed that everything is correctable.
"I looked at the film and I feel like we just have to pick up on the small things, like the fundamentals," Wright said. "Everything that did go wrong can be fixed. So that's the great thing about it."
Smith noted that one of those mistakes – a deep pass given up on third down and long - had caused starting cornerback Darius Winston to be benched in favor of fellow senior Kaleon Kellybrew.
"What you'd like to have, and I'm serious about this, there's some great competition going on there," Smith said. "When you step up and don't make those mistakes, that's what we're looking for. Now you bring in a guy, Kelleybrew, and he plays OK. He does a decent job. But Darius has to just step up now and go earn that spot back.
"… You know, we'd like to have great competition going on there, like if you move up one day at practice, the other guy's starting today in practice," Smith added. "That's when you start getting better all over the field, and you'd like to have that competition in every spot. Yeah, he made a mistake, you put somebody else in. Maybe they didn't attack him like they did Darius. But again it wasn't some crucial mistakes. That's what we're trying to develop there is some competition."
Smith was happy that his team did not give up a touchdown in the second half and also noted that Arkansas' defensive effort was akin to what many other teams had in their season openers.
"Defensively, the second half was good from a standpoint of not letting anybody in the end zone," Smith said. "Keeping them out of the end zone and making them have to kick the football. Usually field goals are not going to beat you. So, if we can continue to do that, that's a good thing. But again, I feel like we can get a lot better on that side of the ball. It was good to see our (defensive line) front trade off in there."
He also noted that linebackers Wright and Alonzo Highsmith showed the effects of not being able to practice a lot in preseason camp due to injury.
"Linebacker wise, I think Highsmith and Tenarius will both tell you they were a little rusty," Smith said. "Just because they haven't been out there all the spring, they haven't practiced like a lot of the other guys the entire time. It was good for them to get some work in.
"Again, we gave up about what the average was of the top 15 teams in the country defensively," Smith added. "We'll improve there. I really liked what I saw in some areas."
Same with the offensive line, which was starting two walk ons as returning starter Jason Peacock sat out the game due to suspension.
"First group was OK," Smith said. "We have to improve along the board there. You know and hopefully we can develop some more competition there as well, in Peacock, we're trying to get him down some weight. We're trying to get him added to the mix a little bit. The more we can keep pushing him to put pressure on those tackles, the better they're going to be. You'd like to see that come into the mix as well."
Smith confirmed Peacock was no longer suspended.
"At this point, I would say, yeah, we're expecting to have him back," Smith said.
Obviously, wide receiver Brandon Mitchell shined in his debut as the former quarterback caught four passes for 122 yards and that was no surprise to Smith.
"Not necessarily I think we've seen that, day-in and day-out in practice this fall," Smith said. "So it's not a surprise to us. But it may come to a little bit of a surprise, and I'm sure it did to some of the fans, like ‘My goodness, this guy is legit.' He can go down the field and catch it. He's very athletic. He's faster than most people think. Those big, long legs are chewing up a lot of ground."
Smith, who said injured wideout Cobi Hamilton would practice on Monday, also lauded the way junior wideout Javontee Herndon played after a sub-par camp.
"He's a guy that he had an OK camp," Smith said. "It's been OK. We're trying to stay with him and stay upbeat. Stay positive, stay working hard. If we can continue him on that upward roll he is going to be the player that you saw. Others have to contribute as well. That's not abnormal. Kids should perform like that. Now that we see it, we're going to expect him to be like that every week. Some of those other guys have to step up, those young guys as well."
Arkansas fell behind Jacksonville 14-7 early before reeling off 28 straight points in the second quarter.
"I didn't feel a sense of panic," Smith said. "Sometimes on the sideline you'll feel a sense of panic from players like, 'Oh my goodness what do we do now.' There was no sense of that at all. Everybody was very confident about what we have to do what we can do and what we're going to do. So it was not, we didn't have any of that at all. It was just a matter of ‘hey let's go do what we have to do.'"
He credits that to the leadership on his team.
"Not only the leadership, but the team maturity," Smith said. "Understanding that we are going to win this game. We are better than this. Sometimes that ball is going to bounce funny. We're going to bounce back and make sure it starts bouncing in our direction. So I think that was the attitude on the sideline. It's just a matter of time, again, and then the offense, once they started to get on a roll, the defense starts to feel it, and it kind of carries over.
"So we go out, we make a stop, we get it back, we score," Smith added. "We go out, make a stop, we get it back, we score. You want to keep it going as long as we can. It was a great feeling to see the offense kind of take control and do all that."
Smith made it clear that it was his decision to go for it on fourth downs in Saturday's game.
"That, for us, going into this is a good time to practice that fourth down area," Smith said. "That's an area on the field we've kind of set aside as we know our drop-dead point at kicking the field goal. OK? So we've got about a 10-15 yard area that's a fourth down area and we're going to go ahead and practice that at least at this point.
"Had that been a Alabama and we're ahead, yeah, we're going to kick the ball," Smith said. "We're going to try to pin them down there. But right now we're going to go ahead and practice that."
He lauded the play of defensive end Chris Smith (co-SEC DL of the Week) and safety Ross Rasner, who led the team with 11 tackles on Saturday.
"Chris played well," Smith said. "Chris can play even better than he did, but he made a lot of plays. When Chris knows what they're going to do, like, the fourth down play. He shouldn't' be blocked. He should be able to beat that guy and get around the corner. We expect that from him. He played a good game. A good game. But he can be better."
Rasner split his time between linebacker and safety.
"Good performance out of Rasner," Smith said. "Probably one of his better games. If not his best. I thought he played real well. He did a tremendous job on the one deep ball they tried to go, he was in man coverage, he was great with his eyes, he didn't' get caught up in the fake, he was disciplined with his eyes and covered the guy he was supposed to cover. "He's done a tremendous job," Smith continued. "We're expecting more out of him as well. Now you know, hey, you expect him to play that well each week if not better. We like him wherever we put him. He's a guy like Jerico (Nelson), you have to have him on the field somewhere. Wherever that spot is, you'll be fine."
ULM has lost to Arkansas all nine times the two teams have played, but did have Bobby Petrino's first Razorback team down 27-14 with 12:46 left in the game in 2008 before the home team rallied to win, 28-27.
The last meeting between the two was a 31-7 Arkansas win in Little Rock in 2010 in which the Sugar Bowl-bound Razorbacks led by just a touchdown at halftime.
"Now, that brings us to a point of, as you look at these guys we have to go off of -- to a degree -- two years ago when we played them," Smith said. "And then last year's video. What changes they've made, there's going to be some adjustments going on on the sideline, adjustments at halftime and that's what you have to do in first games. I'm sure there'll be something different in there."
He does know what to expect.
"Well, they're going to spread it, according to what we have seen, they're more, not as much of a running team as we saw from this group last week," Smith said. "They'll spread the field. They'll try to throw it a little bit more. A fair amount more. So, we have to shore up what we're doing in the secondary. Get off and put some heat on them. They're a good football team. They've got some new bodies in there. So we just have to be prepared for whatever it is we're going to see, go out and make adjustments accordingly."
Smith noted that he and the team are excited to be playing at War Memorial this weekend.
"We're looking forward to going to Little Rock," Smith said. "It's been great for us. Our kids believe in it. They're excited about it. The walk there, of course and the fans there are as good as it gets. It's a great atmosphere. We plan on going down there and playing a lot better than we did last week."