The University of Arkansas announced Robb Smith as the new defensive coordinator/secondary coach yesterday. Smith spent last season in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers as linebackers coach.
This is all a result of former defensive coordinator Chris Ash, bolting out of Fayetteville for the co-defensive coordinating job at Ohio State.
The new deal for Smith is for two years at $500,000 per season with a $150,000 buyout if he leaves before February 15, 2016.
Smith spent four seasons at Rutgers, the 2012 season as defensive coordinator, before following Greg Schiano to the NFL. The Scarlet Knights finished fourth in FBS in scoring defense and in the top-10 in both total defense and yards per-play allowed with Smith calling the shots.
During the press conference, Smith emphasized communication within the defense and how important it is for everyone to be on the same page. He is also the secondary coach which consists of all four defensive backs being together in hopes of strengthening communication for the defense, which was detrimental on occasions last year.
Smith appeared to be very honored by the job opportunity and eager to work with the players as soon as possible. He has an ‘attacking’ style of defense that the players will have to execute and should be prime for going against SEC opponents.
If you’re like me, when the rumors and speculations first came out, you may have had to look up Robb Smith because of lack of knowledge on the coach. My immediate reaction was a small bit of disappointment, but once I researched into Smith, the more generally impressed I became.
I wouldn’t consider this as a homerun hire for Bret Bielema, which may be a problem for some fans, but an adequate hire seems appropriate.
One thing is certain for the new defensive coordinator and that is that he has his work cut out for him.
Arkansas ranked close to the bottom of the SEC in nearly every major defensive category a year ago. The Hogs finished 102nd in the FBS in yards per-play allowed last season which is horrendous and has to improve dramatically if they don’t want another 3-9 year.
The defense for Arkansas has been a nightmare for the past two seasons and maybe Smith can come in and get some guys to make plays for him in his defensive schemes. It may be an underwhelming hire for some fans, but let’s wait and see how it pans out before we make any rash decisions on Smith.
It’s not like the defense can get any worse….right? Smith has a chance to be a great hero for the Arkansas football team if he can find any way to stop the great offenses of the SEC.
Hire Grade: B-