Hogs hire second linebackers coach

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Friday, February 10, 2017
This is a 2016 photo of Chad Walker of the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team. This image reflects the Atlanta Falcons active roster as of Monday, June 13, 2016 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
This is a 2016 photo of Chad Walker of the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team. This image reflects the Atlanta Falcons active roster as of Monday, June 13, 2016 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

— Arkansas dipped into the NFL ranks to fill another defensive coaching vacancy Friday.

The Razorbacks hired Atlanta Falcons assistant Chad Walker as their new outside linebackers coach, a move in line with the defense's shift to a 3-4 scheme. Walker was a defensive assistant/defensive backs coach for Atlanta, which lost to New England in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“Chad’s name was brought to my attention by several different people on the pro and collegiate level that have worked with him installing a 3-4 defense,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. “After meeting him and going through the interview process, I’m really excited to get him on the field working with our guys and helping us transform our defense. I think he’ll hit the ground running in recruiting and I’m excited to have him join our family.”

Walker's hire comes three days after New York Jets assistant defensive line coach John Scott Jr. was hired as the Razorbacks' defensive line coach, succeeding Rory Segrest, who was fired last weekend after three seasons.

Vernon Hargreaves will coach inside linebackers in the new staff setup. He previously was the Hogs' only linebackers coach when the Razorbacks ran a base 4-3 defense, but Arkansas will join the many schools, Alabama and LSU included, that run a 3-4 and employ multiple linebackers coaches.

Newly-promoted defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads will continue to coach the secondary.

Walker spent two seasons in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a defensive quality control assistant at Oklahoma for two years, the defensive coordinator at Mississippi College for three years and spent three seasons as an assistant at Bryant University. His career began as a graduate assistant at Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia before serving as a defensive assistant for LSU in 2003 when the Tigers won the BCS national championship.

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