FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema told reporters Saturday that he doesn’t expect any additional changes to his coaching staff until after National Signing Day, which is Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Bielema met with reporters to discuss the hiring of defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, who will replace Robb Smith. Smith left earlier this month to take the same position at Minnesota.
Rhoads was promoted from his position as Arkansas’ defensive backs coach. He was Iowa State’s head coach for eight seasons and, before that, a highly accomplished and respected defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh and Auburn.
Speculation on other possible departures has centered around defensive line coach Rory Segrest and linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves, although Bielema said there had been no movement on the staff other than Smith leaving and Rhoads being promoted.
Bielema said he and Rhoads had been interviewing potential candidates for the vacant position left by Smith’s departure.
The Razorbacks head coach said that part of the reason for a delay in hiring new staff members is because some potential candidates might be working with NFL teams that are still in the playoff hunt.
There is also the possibility that the NCAA will pass a new rule allowing FBS staffs to have 10 coaches, something that would affect the way Bielema might want to construct his staff.
Smith left following a mostly abysmal season defensively. The Hogs allowed an FBS-worst 39 rushing touchdowns in 2016. Arkansas ranked 75th in the country in total defense and 94th in rushing defense.
Arkansas went 7-6 last season and ended the year with a disappointing Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech.
Bielema also confirmed Saturday that offensive coordinator Dan Enos received a pay increase after other football programs expressed interest in hiring him this month. The only other staffer to receive a pay raise, Bielema said, was strength coach Ben Herbert.