Gophers fire D-coordinator Smith after big loss


Minnesota fired defensive coordinator Robb Smith on Sunday, a day after the team allowed 55 points in a loss at Illinois.

Coach P.J. Fleck announced the change, saying defensive line coach Joe Rossi, a former defensive coordinator at Rutgers, would serve as coordinator for the rest of the season. After a promising start this season, Minnesota’s defense has allowed 43.2 points per game and 507.7 yards per game during Big Ten play. Smith was in his second year with Fleck at Minnesota after spending three years as defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

“These decisions are always difficult, especially when they involve a close friend and colleague,” Fleck said in a prepared statement. “Robb is an elite man and will always be a dear friend of mine.”

Minnesota, which dropped to 4-5 after Saturday’s loss, hosts Purdue and Northwestern the next two weeks before wrapping up the regular season at Wisconsin.

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