Many people have been speculating on Robb Smith’s job status as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas since well before the end of the season, and rumors are circulating that he’s going to leave Fayetteville for the same role at Wake Forest.
Sources tell FootballScoop Arkansas DC Robb Smith will be the new defensive coordinator at Wake Forest https://t.co/ppxU2CWIrn— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 6, 2017
But nothing is official yet, and we don’t know for sure if it will be.
Talked to Arkansas DC Robb Smith and reports he has been offered a job at Wake Forrest are not true.— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) January 6, 2017
If this does happen, it is in line with how Bret Bielema moves coaches around on his staff. I don’t know that he’s outright fired anybody since coming to Arkansas, but coaches throughout the years have mysteriously ended up at other jobs, like Jim Chaney’s move to Pittsburgh a couple of years ago.
Robb Smith started off as a hero in the Ozarks for coordinating a highly successful defense in 2014 that led the way toward Arkansas’ rebound back to consistent bowl eligibility (that defense was so great that Trent Wooldridge memorably suggested all Arkansas fans add an extra consonant to their names in tribute). Unfortunately, the defense has been highly disappointing each of the past two seasons. That disappointment was strongest in 2016 with Arkansas returning nine starters and somehow ending up worse on that side of the ball than they were in 2015.
There’s no telling who could take Smith’s place at Arkansas if this goes down. Bielema has consistently pulled off unexpected hires over the last few years, and we see little reason for this to be different. It’s possible he could promote secondary coach Paul Rhoades, and some fans have mentioned the possibility of Bielema going after his former teammate at Iowa, Bob Diaco. Diaco was the Broyles Award winner as DC at Notre Dame prior to becoming the head coach at UConn, where he was fired last month.
And of course there may be more changes. So there’s still plenty to be determined how this will shake out.