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 Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award.
Rory Segrest out as Arkansas' defensive line coach
Briston Guidry, freshman defensive lineman, and defensive line coach Rory Segrest Arkansas football practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas has fired defensive line coach Rory Segrest, according to a statement released Saturday.
“After reviewing the 2016 season and starting the transition to a new defense, I have decided to go in a different direction with our defensive line coach position," Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema said. "I want to thank Rory for his hard work and contributions on defense and special teams over the last three years. I wish he and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
Bielema brought Segrest to Arkansas in 2014 after former Razorbacks defensive line coach Charlie Partridge left to become head coach at Florida Atlantic. Segrest previously was a defensive line coach at Samford and prior to that for the Philadelphia Eagles. Segrest reportedly was a candidate to return to the Eagles last year, but stayed at Arkansas and was given a pay increase.
Like most university employees, Segrest was working on a 12-month contract that expires June 30. He was being paid $300,000 annually as part of his restructured contract he signed last year.
Believed to be a team strength in the preseason, the Razorbacks' defensive line struggled throughout 2016. The line consisted of two players, Deatrich Wise and Jeremiah Ledbetter, who were invited to this year's NFL Scouting Combine, and all of its starters returned from the year before.
Segrest's departure leaves Arkansas down two assistant defensive coaches. Former Razorbacks defensive coordinator Robb Smith left for the same position at Minnesota last month and Arkansas secondary coach Paul Rhoads was promoted to coordinator, but his assistant vacancy never was filled.
Potential candidates to replace Segrest include Partridge, who coached for Bielema at Wisconsin prior to Arkansas, and who also worked with Rhoads at Pittsburgh. Another potential candidate is Green Bay Packers defensive line assistant Jerry Montgomery, who played and was a student assistant at Iowa while Bielema was an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes.
Bielema said Wednesday that he hoped to interview unidentified assistant coaches from the Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and one of the teams participating in Sunday's Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
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