Smith Anxious For Arkansas To Start Practice

New Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith believes that his group has improved this summer, but is anxious to see what looks like on the football field when practice starts August 4.

Fresh off what he called a Griswold Family Vacation, new Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith is ready to get back to work.

In fact, he wishes fall camp – or as the former NFL defensive coach calls it training camp – was starting this Monday instead of the following one.

“I’m ready to go,” Smith said. “I had a two-week hiatus and kind of did the Griswold Summer Vacation. We drove all over the Midwest.

“This is what we do, we play and we coach football and I know my wife is ready for me to get back. If training camp started tomorrow that would not be a bad thing.”

Smith has been entrusted with the job of improving an Arkansas defense that was certainly sub-par last season.

“Kind of our mantra across the board is that we didn’t want to pick up where we left off in spring football,” Smith said. “We wanted to be able to make improvements in the summer time and I think the guys have worked really hard to do that.

“We will get a chance in training camp to see where we are, but we are excited about everything.

“The summer has been great,” Smith said a little later. “I think our guys have done a great job of trying to improve and get better. But play football on the field, we get a chance to do that when we get to training camp.”

Smith is anxious to work with new linebacker Josh Williams (6-2, 240), who the Razorbacks added from Dodge City, Kan., Community College after spring practice ended.

“To me he can be a Sam – strongside – or Mike (middle) linebacker for us,” Smith said. “Really after the first week of training camp we will have a better sense of where he fits with the other people around him. Because it’s not just about Josh, it’s about working with the other guys and how that all kind of ties together. “I’ve had several opportunities to work with him in the meeting room and I am real excited about him. He picks up football well. The big test is coming. We are at training camp.”

He’s also anxious to continue working with safety Tiquention Coleman, who saw some action at linebacker this spring and is likely to play a hybrid role.

“He has been in the secondary meetings, he’s been in the linebacker meetings, he’s a guy that kind of gives us a little flexibility with some match-ups against a spread team,” Smith said. “He’s not afraid to stop the run, but he also has the coverage skills of the secondary guys and can help us in space. We are excited to see that whole thing progress when we get to training camp.”

He also had words of praise for defensive linemen DeMarcus Hodge - who has lost weight and improved his strength - and Bijhon Jackson – a true freshman.

“He looks great right now,” Smith said of Hodge. “We are excited. I know he has worked really hard. With the way things run in this league, you have got to do a great job up front and if you improve from within there, I think it is a fabulous thing. I am real excited to work with him when we get to camp. Looks great right now.”

“Just big-picture wise, Coach Herb has done a great job with our guys there,” Smith said. “Bijhon has really bought in to doing everything he can to get his body in the best possible shape to compete and play SEC football.

“In a short amount of time, he has done a great job redistributing his body and he is a guy that we are really anxious to work with in camp when we get the pads on.”

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