Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Smith named UA defensive coordinator
Former Rutgers assistant coached in NFL last season
Tampa Bay linebackers coach Robb Smith goes over a play with defensive end Adrian Clayborn, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and defensive end Trevor Scott during a 2013 game.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas has hired Robb Smith as its defensive coordinator.
Smith, who will also coach the Razorbacks' secondary, spent last season as the linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. He was previously a four-year assistant coach at Rutgers, serving as the Scarlet Knights' defensive coordinator in 2012.
During Smith's season leading Rutgers' defense, the Scarlet Knights ranked in the top 10 nationally in overall defense, scoring defense and run defense.
The 38-year-old spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Maine after three years as a graduate assistant at Iowa. Smith worked with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema at Iowa while Bielema was the Hawkeyes' linebackers coach.
"I've been able to watch Robb Smith grow in the profession, and I know he'll bring in an attacking defensive philosophy that is built specifically to stop offenses in the SEC," Bielema said in a statement. "Robb has been promoted time and time again at every place he's been.
"With his background, he captivates a room no matter where he is and players gravitate toward him. He's demonstrated an understanding of what it takes to build a team into a championship program."
Smith replaces Chris Ash as the Razorbacks' defensive coordinator. Ash was hired as co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State last month.
Smith will be Arkansas' fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons. Ash and Paul Haynes each spent one year in the position after Willy Robinson was fired in 2011.
With the addition of Smith, Arkansas has hired two new assistant coaches this off-season. Defensive line coach Rory Segrest was hired last month to replace Charlie Partridge, who accepted the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic in December.