Reports have Smith leaving for Minnesota

FAYETTEVILLE - Reports persisted Tuesday that Robb Smith, Arkansas’ defensive coordinator since 2014 for Coach Bret Bielema, officially will leave the Razorbacks by the end of the week to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota.

Newly hired Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck, hired after a 13-1 season head coaching Western Michigan, and Smith served on the same Rutgers defensive staffs under Greg Schiano in 2010 and 2011 and in the NFL at Tampa Bay under Schiano in 2012.

If Smith leaves as anticipated, Paul Rhoads, the former Iowa State head coach (2009-2015) and before that the defensive coordinator at Auburn and the University of Pittsburgh, appears a strong possibility to be elevated by Bielema to Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.

Rhoads coached Arkansas’ secondary in 2016.

Maurice Linguist, coaching Mississippi State’s safeties in 2016 after coaching defensive backs for Rhoads at Iowa State in 2014 and 2015, was reported Tuesday by Arkansas 247 to be a coach that Rhoads might hire to coach in the secondary should Smith leave and Rhoads be promoted.

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