Bielema Unplugged

New head coach Bret Bielema went over several topics - including the formation of his coaching staff - Saturday during a teleconference with the media.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema gave more clarification on his new staff on Saturday during a media teleconference.

Bielema noted that he has already hired a running back and linebacker coach – the names of whom will be revealed after their respective bowl games.

They will join a staff that already includes offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Chris Ash, offensive line coach Sam Pittman, wide receivers coach George McDonald and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge.

"There will be a couple of tremendous hires that will be announced shortly after they play in their respective bowl games," Bielema said. "Some guys that will really bring a balance to the game, offense, defense and special teams but also create recruiting ties for us here at Arkansas in what they have been able to do in the past. Just a lot of positive things. I couldn't be more pleased."

He seems extremely pleased with his linebacker hire.



"I have a linebacker coach in place that I think will probably amaze a lot of people, but someone I'm very, very excited to have join our program," Bielema said. "Once he is completed with his bowl game he'll be aboard. My defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and Chris Ash are currently interviewing a few people that I'm really interested in coaching the secondary with Coach Ash."

He also noted that former Arkansas assistant Bobby Allen has moved to high school relations director and that former Razorback assistants Tim Horton and Taver Johnson remain alive for spots on his new staff, but Steve Caldwell had moved on.

"I can tell you Bobby Allen has joined us and he is going to be the high school relations director," Bielema said. "It was very important to me to keep him and I thought he would be great in that role. He has been outstanding and has been live on the recruiting road for us because we are under numbers wise.

"Bobby was out recruiting through the month of December," Bielema added. "He has been tremendous for me. He will be in our staff in a non-coaching position but as someone who has great relationships within the staff.

"All those guys that you mentioned, Coach Caldwell, pretty much, has moved on," Bielema continued. "He knew kind of where I was at after I hired a defensive line coach and knew where I was going. But I've had a lot of conversations with Taver and Tim."

Bielema also made it clear that one of his most important hires so far was getting strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert away from Wisconsin.

"Ben Herbert touches our players more than any person in our program," Bielema said. "He is hands on with them on a daily basis. So it was emphatic for me to be able to have the pool and the resource to bring Ben Herbert with us.

"It's something I've learned through seven years as a head coach…They have such an effect on them on a daily basis," Bielema said. "He has a power to him and embraces these kids in a way that they're going learn that they can eat, recover and train in a way that their bodies will literally change within weeks."

Bielema said Herbert will begin off-season condition on Jan. 14th - the first day of classes of the new semester - and that the Red-White spring game will be on April 20th.

"He's going to have an assessment week where he's going to get a baseline of where all these kids are at," Bielema said. "Strengths, weaknesses, deficiencies, then we'll jump into a seven-week program. After that, we'll start spring ball the week before spring break with three practices on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, jump into spring break, and then we'll have four weeks of three practices ending with the spring game on April 20. It's just a formula we've used and one that I think will be really, really good."

Bielema noted that he did not have a chance to talk to tailback Knile Davis until after he has signed with an agent and had not had a conversation with offensive lineman Alvin Bailey.

Both have declared for the NFL draft.

"I never had a chance to sit down with Alvin Bailey," Bielema said. "I did bring Knile Davis in. It was after he already signed with an agent. So that process had been completed really before we had the chance to be together. He had a little bit of buyer's remorse in talking with him here. My running back, Montee Ball, won the Doak Walker the night before. So he knows what we love to do and he kind of expressed that. But he had already gone down a path that was pretty well-planned out already. So I wish those guys the best of luck. Obviously wish nothing but success for them in the future."

He has not heard of anyone planning on transferring.

"As far as anybody else on the team, I've visited, like I said, with all the seniors and there's probably a group of 20 to 30 kids that stopped by my office before they left town and I had a chance to sit down with them," Bielema said. "But I really can't comment on anybody else's status. There hasn't been anybody that has approached me about anything as far as transferring and moving on."

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Bielema.

"Very excited what has happened here over the last two and a half weeks," Bielema said. "It has been a whirlwind with staffing and recruiting. And obviously dealing with a lot of things you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis as a head coach. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity that some of the coaches joining have been as well as the players.

"I have met with they players a couple of times as an entire group and with our 21 seniors," Bielema added. "They really seem eager and anxious about the future. I caught them right before they were leaving campus after finals. I thought it was really important to talk to that group of seniors. They are going to be the guys to lead us to success next year. The player part was really awesome."

He noted that he was not planning on force-feeding his Wisconsin style into Arkansas right away.

"Offensively it was very apparent to me that things maybe I grew accustomed to at Wisconsin weren't already in place here at Arkansas," Bielema said. "You can't just force-feed something into a situation. So it's important for me to go after a guy that blended in both a spread style and a pro style, a man who has had success in several different stuff.

"I have known Jim Chaney for a long time and Sam Pittman I actually began to recruit last year when I was looking for an offensive line coach (at Wisconsin)," Bielema added. "Those two came to the forefront pretty quickly. I talked to four or five coordinators that I was intrigued with who had a variety of college and NFL experience. It wasn't someone I necessarily had worked with but somebody that I knew and the people that knew him well. That's where I landed with Jim.

"We will play a style of offense that won't be uptempo," Bielema continued. "It will be a blend of - once we get through spring ball it's important for us to assess our personnel. Jim has had success in a lot of different styles. "

Bielema's defense will not be one that sits back.

"Defensively we will be a 4-3 scheme and a team that is very, very aggressive on first and second down," Bielema said. "Not aggressive by blitzing, but being aggressive by nature. We don't want a defense thinking about things. We want them to play hard and play fast. If you have a kid thinking too much or saying too much he usually plays a little bit slower and softer. So we want our kids to be aggressive on first and second down. On third down we will have fun. We will create as much mental and physical pressure on the quarterback as we can."

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