FAYETTEVILLE — Kevin Peoples hoped to hear some good news when he walked down the hall to visit with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino in his office earlier this month.

FAYETTEVILLE — Kevin Peoples hoped to hear some good news when he walked down the hall to visit with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino in his office earlier this month.

Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson had been let go by the Razorbacks. John L. Smith left for Weber State. So with Arkansas in the market for two defensive assistants, the program’s director of high school operations figured he might be in line for a promotion.

“I was hoping that it was going to be my opportunity to get out there,” Peoples said.

“Luckily for me, coach Petrino gave me that opportunity and now I’m going to do everything I can not to disappoint coach Petrino and the Razorback Nation.”

New Arkansas coordinators Paul Haynes and Paul Petrino have received most of the attention the past few weeks, settling into their new roles with the Razorbacks in preparation for the Cotton Bowl. Peoples is the third, stepping back into a coaching position after working in another capacity on Petrino’s staff the past two seasons.

Peoples left Arkansas State after a nine-year tenure as defensive line coach, joining the Razorbacks in the administrative role.

It was a calculated move, one Peoples was confident would result in a coaching job whenever the Razorbacks had an opening on staff. So he is elated it has happened.

“I want to be back on the field,” Peoples said about the job. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and I feel like I learned a bunch from coach Petrino. It was a great situation. But I was anxious to get back on the field.”

Peoples is now in charge of a defensive tackle position that is loaded with depth.

Byran Jones, D.D. Jones, Robert Thomas, Alfred Davis and Zach Stadther are among the big men Peoples has been placed in charge of for the bowl game and beyond. His history is proof the Razorbacks are in good hands, though, considering Peoples tutored 11 All-Sun Belt Conference winners in nine years with the Red Wolves. Three of his defensive linemen also spent time in the NFL.

“He’s a great coach,” D.D. Jones said. “He knows what he’s talking about and we’re just trying to do good for him. He’s trying to make us the best players we can be and we’re trying to make him the best coach he can be.

“It’s all working out pretty good so far.”

Peoples addition to the staff also means Arkansas has one more Carroll College product working as an assistant coach.

Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, receivers coach Kris Cinkovich, and offensive line coach Chris Klenakis are the others. So is Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp.

But Petrino said Peoples is much more than just another Carroll College alum. He described Peoples as an “expert” in defensive line play earlier this month, something Allen agreed with last week.

“When I coached the tackles, I had a chance to talk to Kevin about how he had coached the defensive line in the past,” Allen said. “He’s not doing things a whole lot differently, but he’s got a fresh approach, a different way to teach technique. And I can see the defensive linemen being excited about him coaching them, and his personality and his energy … I talk to those guys after practice, and they’re excited.”

Allen said Peoples is going to make Arkansas’ defense better. Haynes said the coach has already been a valuable addition.

“His knowledge of the front and everything is helping me out,” Haynes said. “Him and (defensive ends coach Steve) Caldwell. … His experience and his background so much being on the other side of how they attack things is only going to help us on defense.”

Peoples believes he’s back on the field much more knowledgeable as a coach, too, after stepping back for two seasons and working in a different capacity.

While he did have other responsibilities, Peoples spent time with Petrino and former offensive coordinator Garrick McGee to “really learn a different perspective and a different side of the ball.” It helped.

There’s no doubt the SEC is different than the Sun Belt, but Peoples said producing “NFL-type” linemen remains his goal.

“The difference here is the depth,” Peoples said. “We have more depth here than obviously we had at those positions (at Arkansas State). But we need NFL guys and we need them from top to bottom. That’s what we’re trying to recruit and that’s what we need to win with in this league.”

Peoples is eager for the opportunity, beginning with the Cotton Bowl, to help the Razorbacks reach those goals.

He waited two years to get back on the field, after all. So now that he’s Arkansas’ defensive tackles coach, Peoples said he’s determined to produce for the Razorbacks.

“I’m going to try to bring energy … a lot of energy,” Peoples said. “I want to make sure we’re fundamentally sound. And we feel like if we can be fundamentally sound then we’ve got a chance to be successful because we’ve got talented players here.”