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February 12, 2014

Taver Johnson to Purdue




Arkansas assistant coach Taver Johnson is leaving Arkansas to take over as secondary coach at Purdue. Johnson accepted the position Tuesday.

Johnson's title at Arkansas is blurry. He coached cornerbacks last year but when head coach Bret Bielema introduced new defensive coordinator Robb Smith on Monday he added that Smith would coach the entire secondary and that Johnson's role would apparently be to support Smith.

"He is our defensive coordinator and secondary coach," Bielema said on Monday in regard to Smith. "He's responsible for all four DBs as we see it. The part that I think is going to be fun for us is to continue to let coaches grow. Taver worked with the corners last year, but I wanted to bring that room together, so it'll definitely be a transition for those guys. But on the same account Taver can work with all four secondary positions as well as the possibility of a nickel position."

It would be tough to blame Johnson if he ever returned to the Natural State. He left Ohio State as secondary coach after the 2011 season to become linebackers coach and assistant head coach at Arkansas. A few months later, former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was involved in a scandal that would lead to his firing.

The next season was pretty much a disaster under interim head coach John L. Smith. When Bielema assumed the role as head coach, he kept Johnson on staff. Johnson was moved from coaching the linebackers to coaching cornerbacks. He lost his assistant head coach title and had his salary reduced by $25,000 a year.

Then when Smith was hired, it appeared as though Johnson's title and responsibilities would be further reduced to something along the lines of nickel coach or rover coach.


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