Arkansas has hired Washington running backs coach Joel Thomas to the same position. “Joel Thomas has a proven record of developing running backs,” new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. “He excelled at the position as a player and has demonstrated a remarkable ability to connect with his student-athletes and pass his knowledge on to them. He also brings a strong background of recruiting in Texas and Dallas specifically, which is a valuable area for us to have a presence. I am extremely confident in Joel’s ability based on his time spent working under Jim Chaney, and I believe Joel’s knowledge and familiarity with Coach Chaney will be a benefit to our offense.” Thomas was part of Steve Sarkisian’s original staff when he arrived in 2009. He’s coached a 1,000-yard rusher each season he’s been at Washington — Chris Polk the first three and Bishop Sankey this year.