Multiple sources have told FootballScoop.com that current Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith is expected to become the new Wake Forest defensive coordinator.
The full statement is below:
Multiple sources tell FootballScoop Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith is expected to become the new defensive coordinator at Wake Forest although we have not heard that the deal is complete at this time. Smith has served as defensive coordinator at Arkansas the past three seasons. He spent the 2013 season with the Tampa Bay Bucs and Greg Schiano and was at Rutgers from 2009-2012.
Smith led Arkansas to the 63rd ranked S&P+ ranking this season and 67th ranked S&P+ ranking in 2015.
He was hired by Brett Bielema to become the Arkansas defensive coordinator in 2014 following a stint as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers coach.
This hire was likely brought about by the close relationship the Dave Clawson and Greg Schiano share, as Smith worked under Schiano for several years at Rutgers in the late ‘00s.
Smith was the defensive coordinator at Rutgers for a year, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 14.2 PPG average. Interestingly enough, current defensive line coach Dave Cohen took over after Smith left Rutgers.
Smith graduated from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where he was a strong safety from 1993-1997. He started out his coaching career as the GA/QC at Iowa from 1999-2001 before moving on to Maine from 2002-2008.
It will be interesting to see if Wake Forest attempts to bring a special teams coordinator over from Arkansas as well. There are a couple of different guys who have special teams backgrounds there, including Venon Hargreaves or Paul Rhoads.
This move may seem like a head-scratcher, but it may be for the simplest of reasons: job security. Coach Clawson just received an eight year extension through 2024, while Bielema could very well be on the hot seat and perhaps fired if he doesn’t get it done this season.
Based on an initial perusal of the internet down in Arkansas football-land, Smith does not appear to be highly thought of:
It seems that he had a strong first year, but things went downhill pretty quickly the past two years.
He did have a pretty decent recruiting class at Arkansas, currently holding onto the No. 18 safety, No. 83 corner, and #62 and #63 OLB’s.
It appears that he was making somewhere in the $800K range last year, so Wake Forest will almost certainly have to spend a good deal of money to get this in place. I am guessing that a lot of Clawson’s raise may have brought money to dish out to assistants, but that’s purely speculation at this juncture.
We will have more on this as it develops, but barring a last second change, Smith will become replacement for Mike Elko, who has gone on to the defensive coordinator position at Notre Dame.