An SEC defensive coordinator is set to join new Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck’s Golden Gophers staff.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that Fleck has hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith to the same position in Minneapolis. This becomes Fleck’s first hire at Minnesota.
The report indicates an official announcement will come later this week.
Smith, who has served as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas under Bret Bielema for the last three seasons, is also very familiar with Fleck.
While on Greg Schiano’s staff at Rutgers, Smith coached the special teams, linebackers and cornerbacks. Fleck was also part of Schiano’s staff with the Scarlet Knights, coaching the wide receivers.
Smith has found success with the Razorbacks. During his first season, Arkansas was ranked in the top ten in total defense and scoring defense. Last season, the Razorbacks ranked 12th in the nation against the run.
With Fleck’s enthusiasm and Smith’s experience on the defensive side of the ball in the nation’s toughest conference, there is plenty for Minnesota fans to be excited about going into the future.