Maybe he is not outspoken about much, but one subject toward which he is passionate and outspoken is player safety.
Just over a week after a rant that exceeded 550 words on the proposal to add a substitution period after first downs against a no-huddle style of offense, Bielema said he supported a recent rule change pertaining to targeting players.
A lot of controversy has come with the rule change, especially after Doug Rhoads, the ACC coordinator of officials, said he would have flagged Jadeveon Clowney for his hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith in which he forced and recovered a fumble in the Outback Bowl. Under the rule change, the call would have led not only a 15-yard penalty, but also to his ejection.
"I sat for 48 hours in that rules committee meeting and there was a lot of back-and-forth discussion," he said. "Obviously, I was one of the few active BCS coaches that was sitting in that room and I know in talking to several of the other coaches, the committee had asked me to reach out to several other coaches not only in the SEC but other people I knew at schools across the country. One of the overriding things that our coaches wanted me to make sure of was that there was a checks-and-balance system. So I thought it was paramount to be able to go to the replay booth before it became official. I think that part will hopefully deter any potentially bad situations, but a lot of those hits are boom boom.
"I think the ones that they were very clear, that I saw on film, were where the guys were launching or leaving their feet and we just asked for clarification.
"I think it's a good rule for player safety. As you all know, I think that's a driving force and some of the catastrophic hits that they have shown over the course of time, some injuries that have not only affected the player for a short window where he is maybe missing a play or game or two, but you're talking about guys that are potentially dealing with the difference between walking or not walking or being able to play or not being able to continue life in a certain way. And the part that they kept referencing, and I think it's a great thing, the more player education that we can have to eliminate those type of plays, the better off we will be."
Bielema said among the ways to educate his team about this rule change will be a video presentation early in fall camp and a presentation by Southeastern Conference officials. He said the position on the field most prone to be penalized for targeting is likely the defensive backs. Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash said the change would not have a big impact on the way he coaches his defense, though.
"People have asked me 'are you going to change the way you tackle?' But we're not going to change anything we do," Ash said. "We're teaching our guys to tackle in a safe manner and I don't think we'll be in violation of rules like that anyway, so we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing."
Another Arkansas assistant coach, Taver Johnson, coaches the secondary along with Ash and said it can be concerning to potentially lose a player to ejection because of the way a referee sees a player tackle in real time, as opposed to on a replay.
"It's a lot like basketball when a guy gets ejected," Johnson said. "If you lose one of your best players to something like that in real time, you really have to rely on those referees that they are in the right position and that they are exactly on with what is happening and that they have been trained properly. But to complain about it or predict what happen, you throw your hands up in the air.
"As long as we understand what is the proper way to tackle and know not what to do. All we can do is teach our guys and hopefully it works out."