Before spending a season in the NFL, Smith coached for four seasons with Schiano at Rutgers. He was the defensive coordinator there in 2012 when the Scarlet Knights won the Big East Conference — allowing just 91 points in seven conference games — and he learned that "football players are football players" while in the NFL.
"At the end of the day, whether it's a student-athlete or a professional football player, they want to have the tools necessary to be successful," Smith said. "And if you can provide them with that information and those tools, they're going to gravitate toward you."
Smith coached at Maine for seven seasons before his time with Rutgers, and he said he's excited to face a variety of different offenses in the SEC — which he called "the best league in college football, without question."
Smith joins a defensive staff that already features former Miami head coach Randy Shannon. Bielema said last week that Shannon, the linebackers' coach last season, would be promoted to senior associate head coach and wouldn't be named defensive coordinator — a position he held with the Hurricanes before being named head coach.
Bielema said Smith and Shannon met on Sunday, and he expects the transition to be a smooth one.
"We really found we were on the same page on a lot of things and shared the same vision," Smith said. "I thought it went very smoothly."