Rutgers hires Robb Smith as Defensive Coordinator

beavergopher

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I remember looking up Smith's progression of defenses at Arkansas when he was named Gopher d coordinator. What I saw frightened me. His defenses got progressively worse during his time there and when he was hired here people were arguing/hoping that was due to Bielema losing favor and there was speculation recruiting had dropped - or some other reason the defense had fallen off so dramatically under Smith.
Exactly
 

Golden Elephant

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I remember looking up Smith's progression of defenses at Arkansas when he was named Gopher d coordinator. What I saw frightened me. His defenses got progressively worse during his time there and when he was hired here people were arguing/hoping that was due to Bielema losing favor and there was speculation recruiting had dropped - or some other reason the defense had fallen off so dramatically under Smith.
This exactly. Smith's defenses got worse every year he was at Arkansas. I don't know why Fleck didn't see that, but he must've seen something else he liked.

The firing of Smith and the massive turnaround in D was simply unbelievable - I've never seen such a turnaround to the positive from any team from a mid-season firing like that. The defense went from absolutely awful to very good with the same personnel. It still baffles me.
 

PitinoFan

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This exactly. Smith's defenses got worse every year he was at Arkansas. I don't know why Fleck didn't see that, but he must've seen something else he liked.

The firing of Smith and the massive turnaround in D was simply unbelievable - I've never seen such a turnaround to the positive from any team from a mid-season firing like that. The defense went from absolutely awful to very good with the same personnel. It still baffles me.
That tells me we need to do whatever is necessary to hang on to Rossi. It was literally overnight.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Robb Smith reminds me a little of Everett Withers. Withers defense in Brewster's 1st year was really bad. There were rumblings that his schemes were too complicated, and that was part of the issue. Ted Roof came in the following year and we saw a dramatic improvement.

Withers still ended up being hired by UNC and Ohio St, and he's been a head coach at a couple of different places with varying success. Similar to Withers, Smith seems to still be highly regarded by other coaches despite his failures. Maybe it was just a bad fit for Smith here.
 

MNVCGUY

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I remember looking up Smith's progression of defenses at Arkansas when he was named Gopher d coordinator. What I saw frightened me. His defenses got progressively worse during his time there and when he was hired here people were arguing/hoping that was due to Bielema losing favor and there was speculation recruiting had dropped - or some other reason the defense had fallen off so dramatically under Smith.
I remember when he was hired there were a lot of people on here really concerned. Was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but our defense under Smith was a joke. The rate we were giving up big plays was off the charts.

Then he gets fired, Rossi takes over, and without a single personnel change the Defense starts playing well.

Schiano is a defense guy. Maybe he is trying to do a buddy a favor by getting him back in a good position that he 100% hasn't earned to this point. As someone else mentioned, Rutgers is already a joke on defense so he can't make them any worse.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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I remember when he was hired there were a lot of people on here really concerned. Was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but our defense under Smith was a joke. The rate we were giving up big plays was off the charts.

Then he gets fired, Rossi takes over, and without a single personnel change the Defense starts playing well.

Schiano is a defense guy. Maybe he is trying to do a buddy a favor by getting him back in a good position that he 100% hasn't earned to this point. As someone else mentioned, Rutgers is already a joke on defense so he can't make them any worse.
Yeah Arkansas fans didn't have much good to say about him either, they were pretty dismissive of his early accomplishments there... you never know what happens but not great signs.
 

#2Gopher

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Only 44 and still learning. However not knowing all the particulars he may be better off being a position coach as support to a DC. Look at Claeys. While he was a good DC, I don't feel he would make a good head coach.

Its not about putting limitations on people, but rather growing where you need to grow first before taking the next step.
 

Pompous Elitist

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He seems like he might make a good position coach.

This is starting to look like it might just be a swan song payday tour for the Schiano gang.
 
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This exactly. Smith's defenses got worse every year he was at Arkansas. I don't know why Fleck didn't see that, but he must've seen something else he liked.

The firing of Smith and the massive turnaround in D was simply unbelievable - I've never seen such a turnaround to the positive from any team from a mid-season firing like that. The defense went from absolutely awful to very good with the same personnel. It still baffles me.
Smith is a horrible DC. Horrible. Aweful.
 

hungan1

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My take on him is he got the defensive scheme too complicated as an end in itself. Players spent too much time thinking instead of reacting. Rossi simplified the scheme and took advantage of the personnel. He tailored the defense to the type of skilled players he had. Smith tried to fit the players into his scheme. Maybe a third time is a charm. I wish him the best.
 
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OddStack

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Rutgers locked themselves in the basement of the Big Ten.

I posted years ago about his issues and many are parroting. I'm sure somebody here could dig up the statistics I posted (more than once) on points per game and rankings at his two previous stops (Maine and Arkansas).

Anyhow, he's 3 for 3 as a DC. His ppg have gotten worse every single year he has returned to the same program. It's hard to say all other factors--time of possession, poor field position, etc.--that contribute to ppg stats negatively affected all 3 programs and the defenses he ran.
 

bfriedrichs10

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I'm sure in one week he didn't install an entirely new defense, but if you even just look at where players were positioned that next game it was obvious things had changed. I'm assuming those formations (if you call them that) were in the playbook, but not being utilized by Smith? It was a significant change in position on the field and responsibility.

The fact that Smith couldn't figure out where to put people on the field in order for them to be effective says a lot. I still think his entire defense was predicated on having an Antoine Winfield type safety that could cover up everyone else's sins, and there ain't that many Antoine Winfield type safeties out there.
I think I remember seeing somewhere that the main thing Rossi did was simplify things for the D. I never watched too closely with Smith, but it seems like Rossi has his front 6 in a one-gap system where players SHOULD (doesn't always work out that way) know more or less where to go pre-snap. Was Smith trying to play too many games with the DL/LBs where they were thinking too much and that just slowed them down? Anyone out there have any insight?
 

bfriedrichs10

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My take on him is he got the defensive scheme too complicated as an end in itself. Players spent too much time thinking instead of reacting. Rossi simplified the scheme and took advantage of the personnel. He tailored the defense to the type of skilled players he had. Smith tried to fit the players into his scheme. Maybe a third time is a charm. I wish him the best.
Similar to what I think/ have heard.
 

MplsGopher

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The biggest indictment of Smith was that as soon as he was fired the defense got immediately better. How any team can hire him as the DC after what happened here is beyond me.

Coaching positions are flukey and a guy who is an idiot one day can be a genius the next with the right players but it is still surprising to see him get another DC job given how things ended here.
Not just here. By all accounts he did a horrible job the previous two years in Arkansas.

In both cases, Fleck here, and Schiano now at Rutgers, this was 100% a crony hire.

He worked with both coaches at Rutgers 2010-2011, where he was the ST coach and a defensive position coach. Also with Schiano at Rutgers in 2009, then again at Tampa Bay in 2013.


Just .... f'ing stupid. Really stupid move by Schiano. What you see is what you will get.

My hypothesis has long been that his scheme was too complex, the players were thinking too much, and were paralyzed and playing slow as a result.

I don't see how changing the DC can have such a major impact on a team's defense, in one week, in the middle of a season, otherwise. I doubt it was like he was always calling the perfectly wrong defensive formation or coverage on every play. Players just weren't getting it done under him.
 

fmlizard

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Virginia Tech LB coach Tracy Claeys was probably available for this job.
 

OddStack

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I found it:



Scoring Defense:
Maine ppg: '06=11.1 '07=20.7 '08=21.1 GOT WORSE every year

Arkansas ppg: '14= 19.2 (10/128) '15= 27.4 (68/128) '16= 31.1 (85/128) GOT WORSE every year

10 points worse at Maine in 3 years
11.9 points worse at Arkansas in 3 years
 

Face The Facts

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I never met the guy, but only if he is too stubborn to learn from his mistakes is he forever going to be a bad coach.

Or if he is just generally disorganized, etc.

If he has a solid football knowledge, the possibility to learn should be there.


With that said, I'm very glad he isn't our coach.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Robb Smith reminds me a little of Everett Withers. Withers defense in Brewster's 1st year was really bad. There were rumblings that his schemes were too complicated, and that was part of the issue. Ted Roof came in the following year and we saw a dramatic improvement.

Withers still ended up being hired by UNC and Ohio St, and he's been a head coach at a couple of different places with varying success. Similar to Withers, Smith seems to still be highly regarded by other coaches despite his failures. Maybe it was just a bad fit for Smith here.
Some guys are nominally competent ... but their real skill is networking / getting hired / convincing their boss that they've got all these challenges to explain away whatever is going on.

Coaching hires seem to be heavily network influenced so I suspect a lot of guys are sort of just coastin around like that.
 

OddStack

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Some guys are nominally competent ... but their real skill is networking / getting hired / convincing their boss that they've got all these challenges to explain away whatever is going on.

Coaching hires seem to be heavily network influenced so I suspect a lot of guys are sort of just coastin around like that.
Mike Singletary, perhaps.........I've heard he doesn't know a ton, comparatively, about Xs and Os. Frazier passed him over twice for DC after Singletary had been a HC. Singletary has never been a coordinator in his life.
 

fmlizard

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Mike Singletary, perhaps.........I've heard he doesn't know a ton, comparatively, about Xs and Os. Frazier passed him over twice for DC after Singletary had been a HC. Singletary has never been a coordinator in his life.
Very few great players are also great coaches/execs. Part of it is that they play deep into their 30s instead of gaining off-field experience. Another part is that great players are often demanding and expect others to be similarly good, and thus become warped judges of talent.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Mike Singletary, perhaps.........I've heard he doesn't know a ton, comparatively, about Xs and Os. Frazier passed him over twice for DC after Singletary had been a HC. Singletary has never been a coordinator in his life.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Very few great players are also great coaches/execs. Part of it is that they play deep into their 30s instead of gaining off-field experience. Another part is that great players are often demanding and expect others to be similarly good, and thus become warped judges of talent.
I kinda think that might be Scott Frost's issue with getting along with his players.

He's the math teacher who is good at math and doesn't understand why the other students don't just ... do the thing.
 
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