Arkansas filled the defensive coordinator vacancy on coach Bret Bielema's staff with the hiring of former NFL assistant Robb Smith.

Smith replaces Chris Ash, who left Arkansas last month to become co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. The 38-year-old Smith will make $500,000 per year through the 2015 season.

Smith worked as the linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season before coach Greg Schiano was ousted. Smith had served under Schiano at Rutgers, where Smith spent four seasons going from special teams coordinator to linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

Bielema and Smith previously worked together at Iowa when Bielema was linebackers coach and Smith was a graduate assistant.

"I've been able to watch Robb Smith grow in the profession and I know he'll bring in an attacking defensive philosophy that is built specifically to stop offenses in the SEC," Bielema said. "Robb has been promoted time and time again at every place he's been. With his background, he captivates a room no matter where he is and players gravitate towards him. He's demonstrated an understanding of what it takes to build a team into a championship program."

Smith faces the challenge of improving an Arkansas defense that ranked 102nd nationally and 12th in the SEC last season in yards allowed per play (6.09). The Razorbacks finished with a 3-9 record in Bielema's first year.

"We want to swarm to the football," Smith said. "We want to be physical at all levels of our defense. That's just an attitude. That's the first thing we're going to bring."

Bielema announced earlier this month that linebackers coach Randy Shannon was promoted to senior associate head coach. Shannon is a fomrer University of Miami head coach.