Six years ago, P.J. Fleck and Robb Smith were position coaches at Rutgers.
Fleck coached the wide receivers and Smith coached the special teams, linebackers and cornerbacks for Greg Schiano’s staff. Both Fleck and Smith eventually followed Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though they did so at separate times. Both went to different places after Tampa Bay.
Now, they’ll reportedly work together again.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Fleck hired Smith from Arkansas to become Minnesota’s new defensive coordinator.
Smith served on Bret Bielema’s staff as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator the last three years. That would be Fleck’s first hire for his new staff.
Smith was reportedly a candidate at Wake Forest, but now, he’ll have a chance to coach alongside the B1G’s newest coach.
In 2016, Smith was responsible for the nation’s No. 76 defense. The Razorbacks finished second in the SEC and 12th in the nation against the run in 2015. In Smith’s first season, Arkansas finished in the top 10 in scoring defense and total defense for the first time in 22 years.
Fleck already landed 10 new commitments in his first three days since accepting the job at Minnesota. That was without any assistant coaches in place.
According to Rittenberg, the hire could be announced later in the week.