January 05, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says defensive coordinator Robb Smith has signed a new contract with the school.

Bielema didn't elaborate on the new contract length or salary for Smith, but the signing is key for a team that improved from 76th to 10th nationally this season in total defense in their first year under the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay assistant coach.

Smith, 39, was making $500,000 annually and was signed through next season.

Arkansas (7-6) earned its first bowl berth in three years this season, defeating Texas in the Texas Bowl. The defensive improvement, led by Smith and first-team All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Martrell Spaight, was a key factor in the turnaround for the Razorbacks - who were 3-9 in Bielema's first season.

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