SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and his assistant coaches appeared at a fan event Thursday to celebrate the Razorbacks’ 2017 recruiting class.
Every current member of the coaching staff was there. That includes defensive line coach Rory Segrest, who has largely stayed out of sight since the Belk Bowl. As a result, Segrest was a subject of speculation regarding the future of Bielema’s staff.
The only staff change so far came when defensive coordinator Robb Smith resigned and accepted the same position at Minnesota last month. Bielema promoted defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads, leaving 1 opening on the staff through National Signing Day.
Bielema said Wednesday that he had been talking with potential candidates to join his staff but did not reveal many details. He did add that there could be more changes, saying that he expected his 2017 staff to be in place by Feb. 20, when Razorbacks coaches will begin preparing for spring practices.
The Arkansas defensive line returned loads of experience in 2016 and was expected to be among the strongest units on the team. But the group was underwhelming all season and now must replace key players Deatrich Wise Jr., Taiwan Johnson, Jeremiah Ledbetter and JaMichael Winston.
Segrest joined the Arkansas coaching staff in 2014 — the same season Smith took over the defense — after spending the previous few years at Samford. The Alabama graduate also worked several years for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. In addition to coaching the defense line, Segrest’s duties at Arkansas include overseeing kickers and punters.
At Thursday’s event — held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale — gathered fans heard from Bielema as well as recruiting director E.K. Franks and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr., who handles the bulk of Arkansas’ in-state recruiting.
Fans also saw film highlights of the 2017 Arkansas signees as Bielema spoke about each of them.
Fans also watched video interviews with some of the Arkansas signees who are already on campus and enrolled in classes.