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Former Arkansas RB Coach Joel Thomas Hired By Saints

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The Arkansas Razorbacks' former RB Coach Joel Thomas has taken on the same position with the New Orleans Saints. Thomas has been coaching running backs since 2002, this will be his first stint in the NFL.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have signed former Arkansas Running Back Coach Joel Thomas.  Thomas has spent the last two seasons with the Razorbacks, and he has been coaching college backs since 2002.  Thomas has worked with Louisville, Idaho, Purdue and Washington as well.

This could bode well for the Saints heading into the 2015 season, as Arkansas was heavily reliant on their running game during Thomas's tenure there.  In 2014, Arkansas produced two 1,000 yard rushers in Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.  As a team, the Hogs rushed for 2,834 yards, nearly 400 yards more than they threw for.  In 2013, Thomas's first year there, the disparity was even wider, rushing for 2,504 yards to only 1,782 yards passing.  All of this comes in the hyper-competitive (unless it's bowl season) SEC West.

Obviously Arkansas's talent at running back played a huge part in their success in the back half of the 2014 season, and they fairly consistently churn out NFL quality backs.  However, Thomas thrives in run heavy offenses.  This could bode well for the Saints, as they're trying to establish more of an identity in the running game.  Despite popular opinion, the Saints' offense was more or less the same in terms of rushing to passing ratio from 2013-2014, so the presence of Thomas may be able to at least aid the development of young, physical runners such as Khiry Robinson (and Mark Ingram if Ingram stays).

Thomas is a part of what will likely be an oncoming slew of assistant coaching hires for the Saints, as Head Coach Sean Payton has promised serious change in New Orleans following an astoundingly disappointing 2014 campaign.