Smith's Role Defined

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has defined John L. Smith's role with the defense.

Petrino said during Arkansas' national signing day news conference that Smith, who was hired last month as special teams coordinator, also will coach the Razorbacks' strongside and jack linebackers.

The role will give defensive coordinator Willy Robinson the whole secondary after coaching just safeties in 2008. It also will play to one of Smith's strengths. He has previous experience with linebackers.

"The biggest deal was first to sit down as a staff and say, ‘OK, where can I contribute the most? And where can I help you guys the most?'" Smith said. "Not only coach Petrino, but Willy Robinson and the other people. Put me in that spot that helps the team the most.

"So being with the linebackers, with that outside guy, those safeties, that's where I've coordinated from in the past. That's probably where I'm the most comfortable. So it fits."

Petrino said the move will help keep the continuity among the rest of the defense. And Robinson, who split the secondary with Lorenzo Ward last season, said coaching the entire group will be no trouble. It's something he has done through much of his career.

He also believes having someone like Smith, who spent 18 years as a head coach, as part of his defensive staff in any capacity is an asset to the Hogs.

"I'm always going to lean on his expertise and his experience," Robinson said. "My goodness, to not have a guy like that on your staff, to pass that up, you can't do that."

Big Addition

Arkansas capped its class Wednesday morning when Bastrop (La.) High defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones signed scholarship papers with the Hogs.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was originally committed to Michigan, but announced that he had changed his mind on signing day. Arkansas welcomed his fax with open arms. Jones is listed as a three-star prospect by and should help the front immediately.

"He came out and he stayed true to what he was telling us all this time and that's a great statement for us right there," Robinson said. "That's a guy that's going to set the barameter for us at that position."

Tough Day

Signing day is supposed to be an exciting one for high school prospects, but Darius Winston had something else on his mind: His grandmother passed away. Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton, who is close to Winston and his family, said he knows how bad the cornerback was hurting Wednesday.

"What's so sad about that, the whole family is coming to Helena to celebrate something that's very special to that kid," Horton said. "And instead of celebrating signing with the Razorbacks, you're mourning the death of the queen of the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family. They're a class act."

Room for More?

Signing national day has come and gone, but the Razorbacks might not be completely done.

Petrino said Arkansas is still looking to sign a punter to replace departed senior Jeremy Davis in the next few weeks. But he's not rushing it. Players can sign national letters of intent until April 1.

"There's still a good chance we'll sign a punter," Petrino said. "We've got a number of guys that we've been recruiting. One thing I learned from coach Smith a long time ago is that patience is a good thing. ...

"We wanted to make sure we did a good job of identifying those guys and getting to know them and we'll continue to recruit them. We have a couple visits left. We might bring a couple guys on campus."

School Ties

It's no surprise Arkansas pulled in three junior college players — defensive backs Andru Stewart and Anthony Leon and defensive tackle John Henderson — from the College of the Sequoias (Calif.) this year.

Robinson was raised in the area, played for the school and still has good friends that work on the staff.

"His ties were huge," Horton said. "We had an in there and we were hard to beat."

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