Arkansas DC Smith signs new deal

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says defensive coordinator Robb Smith has signed a new contract with the school.

Smith's new contract is a three-year deal that will pay him $750,000 annually and will go up $50,000 each year, a source told ESPN's Chris Low.

The signing is key for a team that improved from 76th to 10th nationally this season in total defense in their first year under the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay assistant coach.

Smith, 39, was making $500,000 annually and was signed through next season.

Arkansas (7-6) earned its first bowl berth in three years this season, defeating Texas in the Texas Bowl. The defensive improvement, led by Smith and first-team All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Martrell Spaight, was a key factor in the turnaround for the Razorbacks -- who were 3-9 in Bielema's first season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.