By KURT VOIGT
AP Sports Writer
FAYETTEVILLE (AP) - John L. Smith is optimistic about returning as Arkansas' coach next season.
The interim coach says he isn't concerned about the ongoing coaching search by athletic director Jeff Long.
Arkansas started the season ranked in the top 10. After a loss at South Carolina, Arkansas (4-6, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) must now win its final two games to earn bowl eligibility for a fourth straight season. It travels to Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) this weekend before closing out the regular season at home against No. 8 LSU.
Long said last month that Smith, despite the 10-month contract he signed in April, is a candidate to remain with the Razorbacks. He said it would be apparent at the end of the season whether Smith is his choice.Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.