Smith is attempting to downplay the significance of back-to-back losses to Michigan and Ohio State by rightly stating that each game counts one and the Spartans have five more chances to make it a successful season. "Now we go to Northwestern," said Smith.
"We've got to be positive, we have to prepare for these guys and go down there and play better than we have been and get a win. That's kinda where the ball is right now."
Smith said he isn't consumed by the speculation about his job or about the future, he's focusing on the here and now.
"I'm very thankful to be where I am and have the kids that I do have. That's when it makes (coaching) fun. The kids are fun. And when you're practicing and being with them and understanding that 'hey, let's deal with their problems', that's the fun part, so I deal with that."
Smith says that despite media speculation that MSU's season is on the brink, he disagrees that the contest in Evanston is a 'must win.'
"No, the season doesn't hinge on this game," said Smith in response to a suggestion that MSU cannot afford to lose to Northwestern. "No. This game hinges on this game."
Yet, with yesterday's dismissal of heralded junior college transfer Bobby Jones for another off-the-field incident, Smith is under more scrutiny than ever before. Some have suggested he is losing control of the football team.
The coach didn't elaborate on Jones' dismissal saying only "Bobby, and I'll just leave it at that, has been dismissed. I don't want to get into it further."
"I think at this point we have to consider doing that, there's some other options because you don't want to do that."
"We're going to prepare him at that spot, we're going to be prepared to take the redshirt off, but there are still some things that we can do along the way. Maybe that we travel him, he's prepared and if we don't need him, we don't want to do it. It would be a last ditch effort that we have to pull the red shirt, but he understands that. That's part of being red shirted."
MSU takes on Northwestern at 12:00 noon EST Saturday in Evanston.