Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge is the new head coach at FAU. The Plantation, Florida, native is heading home, and he signed a five-year contract worth $2.76 million, according to media reports.
Bret Bielema was hoping to keep his staff together and have continuity for his second year, but that won’t happen.
With Partridge’s absence, two big-time pieces to the Razorbacks’ program take a hit. First, the Hogs’ defensive line was the best unit on defense and arguably the top unit on the team. Partridge’s troops racked up 28 sacks, good for third in the SEC. DEs Chris Smith and Trey Flowers had great seasons, and freshman DT Darius Philon looks like a rising superstar. Tackles Bryan Jones and Robert Thomas also had big seasons. Thomas suffered a season-ending injury that gave Philon much more playing time. The same can’t be said about other units on the field, but the defensive line was SEC-worthy.
The second – and arguably most important – hit comes in recruiting. Partridge had so many ties to South Florida, and he was the biggest reason All-SEC freshmen Alex Collins and Denver Kirkland came to Fayetteville. Collins, of course, was the SEC Freshman of the Year, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in his debut season.
Going home and getting the head gig at FAU is huge for Partridge and his family, but Arkansas takes a major hit on the coaching staff.
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