"It's hard," Smith said. "When you're on top and then you leave, it doesn't end well then. If it's the other case, where it ends because they have to fire you, it doesn't end well then, either. So, you're kind of caught as a coach anymore."
Arkansas has seen its share of less-than-graceful exits during its last three coaching tenures — from Houston Nutt's paid departure for Mississippi to Petrino's firing and Smith's temporary hold on the job. All of it has thrown an aura of instability over a program that had seemed on the rise with the likes of Ryan Mallett, Knile Davis and Tyler Wilson leading the way on the field.
Bielema isn't concerned about the tide of public support turning on him at Arkansas, saying he doesn't believe that has to happen. The closest he's come to a losing season as a head coach was a 7-6 campaign in 2008, his third season at Wisconsin.
The Badgers followed that with three straight years of double-digit wins, and Bielema said the key for him during the struggles was self-analysis and how he handled himself.
It's a lesson he plans to carry over to the SEC.
"It can turn for other people; it doesn't have to turn for me," Bielema said. "I don't care where you are at in life. Everything is about how you react to what happens. It's not what happens; it's how you react to it. I think that's the part that I know I control."
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