It’s finally official.
Friday night, Robb Smith changed his Twitter profile to this:
A couple hours later, Arkansas released a statement from Bret Bielema:
“We have received Robb’s official letter of resignation. I would like to thank Robb for his hard work over the last three seasons and wish he and his family the best of luck. My focus is on having a strong finish to our 2017 recruiting class and completing our coaching staff.”
So now the search is officially on for a new defensive coordinator. The early favorite is Paul Rhoads. Rhoads was the secondary coach for Arkansas last year but was the head coach at Iowa State before that, and was a longtime DC at Auburn and Pittsburgh before taking his shot in Ames.
There were reports that Arkansas had been pursuing Bob Diaco, the former Broyles Award winner at Notre Dame who was fired from the head coaching position at UConn recently. Diaco and Bielema were together at Iowa for a while in their playing days. However, Diaco decided to go to Nebraska, it was announced yesterday. We’ll likely never know exactly how hard Bielema pursued him, but it doesn’t matter now.
If Bielema promotes Rhoads to DC, the announcement could come soon. However, Bielema has a history of going outside the box to find coaches, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if this dragged on for a while if it’s not Rhoads.