John L. Smith assisting Cards with special teams

John L. Smith assisting Cards with special teams

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Current UofL head coach Bobby Petrino is enlisting a former Cards boss to help with special teams.

John L. Smith, currently the head coach at Kentucky State, is serving as a de facto special assistant for the Cards.

"We travel up the road and meet with John L. a lot, you know, he's always been one of the greatest special teams coaches in America and he certainly showed that when he came and worked for me at Arkansas," Petrino said. "I mean we were lighting it up, so he's been very kind to us and been coaching 'em up and they're gonna take a lot of pride in it, I think it'll work out good."

Instead of having one coach as the special teams coordinator, the Cards are using a staff approach. Chris Klenakis is coaching the punt team and kickoff return. Cort Dennison is coaching punt return and kickoff cover, and then every other coach, except the offensive line and defensive line coaches and quarterbacks coach, are helping out.

"Bobby has changed some things with his staff alignments and special teams, so I was just fortunate enough to be close by and he would call and say, can I bring my guys out there?" Smith said. "He's having different guys do different portions of the special teams and so, we've done some (clinics), and of course, he thinks I'm a lot better than I really am."

Petrino was an offensive coordinator under Smith at Utah State from 1995-97 and at UofL in 1998. Smith was the special teams coach under Petrino at Arkansas from 2009-11. Smith went 41-21 as the UofL head coach from 1998-2002.

The Cards' special teams star figures to be Jaire Alexander. He was No. 13 in the nation in 2016, averaging 10.5 yards per return, including a 69-yard touchdown in the 63-20 win over Florida State.

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