On signing day, Lincoln's Smith reflects on lessons learned
JEFFERSON CITY --- Steven Smith didn't slip in the door quietly last year, he kicked it down with a bark.
As in, talk of winning a national championship.
In his first year. At Lincoln. Coaching football.
For a program that hadn't had a winning season since 1972. For a program that had won one or fewer games as many times as it had two or more games the past 20 years. And for a program that had been 11-67 this decade.
Well, add one more to the former column and roll the decade total to 12-76 --- the Blue Tigers went 1-9 in Smith's debut season.
These were some hard lessons learned.
"It was very disappointing and humbling," Smith said Wednesday, national signing day for college recruits. "I think you look at it two ways --- I'd never lost in the college rankings, so it showed me how to humble myself. The second thing is that I thought I could build Rome in a day, and that's just not possible. That was just one of those things I could not do, and I understand that now."
Which is not to say, however, he's abandoned talk of winning a national championship at Lincoln.
"Never, never, no," Smith said. "We'll never settle for anything less than that."
Help is on the way, as the Blue Tigers signed 30 players to national letters of intent Wednesday.
"I think we did a good job of filling some holes; I think we've done what we were trying to get done," Smith said. "We've done a good job of bringing in a bunch of guys in who can help us moving forward. We didn't have a whole lot (Lincoln signed 32 players last year), because we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores on our team, already, who played last year.
"We have a foundation, we're just trying to put a little on top of the foundation we already have."
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