Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a very simple philosophy when it comes to his team's opponents.
"No doubt, I think you respect all opponents, you fear none." Bielema said at his Monday press conference.
The Razorbacks (1-0) will host FCS foe Samford (1-0) Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.
While Arkansas was handling Louisiana 34-14 on Saturday, the Bulldogs rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit to down Georgia State 31-21 in Atlanta.
That made Samford one of eight lower-division teams (FCS) to beat higher division programs (FBS) on the opening weekend of the season with North Dakota State' 24-21 win at Kansas State the top shocker.
"I mean, obviously there's an example right there, but they were all watching that Kansas State game," Bielema said. "There's a lot of guys that paid attention to that before I even said anything to them on Sunday. No doubt, I think you respect all opponents, you fear none. I've never been a red-letter guy that you've got to beat this team or that team.
"There's certain teams that have a little bit more significance to the outside world, but like I said last week going, last Monday when you saw me, game week is different," Bielema added. "I never wear a suit and tie any day but game week, and it's a different feel. It's a different environment, and if you respect the week, I think you'll get great results on Saturdays."
Samford did so without head coach – former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan, who missed the game after back surgery and was replaced by assistant head coach Bill D'Ottavio.
"You don't get to meet many Heisman trophy winners in your life," Bielema said. "So I hope he makes it back for Saturday. I didn't become aware of that until I think someone put it in my box, an article, on Friday about that. but obviously the teem performed well.
"I will say this: as a coach, you really respect teams that are coached in your mind cleanly and for them to play the way they did and secure the football, play so well on special teams," Bielema added. " I don't know how many teams you can find that ran a kickoff back, had a 40-yard punt return and blocked a punt. I would guess there's not very many in college football that were able to do that. That to me is a significant mark of what kind of team we're facing."
The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis from War Memorial Stadium.
"Obviously, a long-standing tradition. To be a part of that and for a head coach to go in there and know all the head coaches that have come before you as players as well to go over to that side of the state and be in War Memorial, I know our guys are excited."
That being said, Bielema noted that the two games that the Razorbacks play in Little Rock this season (against Samford and Nov. 23 against Mississippi State) have to be viewed as road games.
"To be quite honest, I know that it is a home game on our schedule, but we as coaches and players have to treat it as a road game," Bielema said.
"One of the things that I first discovered when I came here – and I knew we played in Little Rock – these two games in reality because two of the longest trips of the entire season because it is three to three-and-a-half hour whatever bus ride there," Bielema added.
Bielema touched on how recruits can't be given tickets for the Little Rock games as they can the ones in Fayetteville, where the campus is located.
"It really is a different thing because it is a home game by rules, but for instance in recruiting we can have recruits go there and take part, but there are some restrictions how that can happen," Bielema continued. "We are able to give out hundreds of tickets for high school home games here, but we can't do it in Little Rock, which makes no sense to me when you are trying to build relationships with coaches.
"That should be one of the most paramount things that you should be able to do when you are going over to Little Rock," Bielema said. "If I can get to a point where Little Rock gives us four or five players every year from the teams that are coming on in that area, that would help us so much in recruiting and I can't give anybody tickets.
"It is a frustrating deal," Bielema continued. "I know that by the latest number I heard there are tickets available for sale. Hopefully after what we did last Saturday we are going to have some people filling those stands."
Bielema did note that his players have told him they like playing in Little Rock.
"Our kids, from everything they have told me, they love being a part of it," Bielema said. "I am a big believer in that I am not going to make a judgment until I live it. I am excited because I love to embrace things that I have never done before.
"I have become very, very close with several of our better donors of ours over there in Little Rock and several high school coaches, but I am excited to see the experience and the atmosphere," Bielema continued.
He was asked if he was disappointed or happy with the crowd of 69,801 fans on Saturday.
"I didn't even notice," Bielema said. "The only time that anything came into my mind was towards the end of the game. They had told me we were going to be shaded at the end of the game – which is a really big deal – and I looked across at that (visitor's) sideline and thought ‘what if you had been standing over there that whole time?' And how hot that it had to be on the east side in those stands.
"I know the number they gave us was 68 or whatever it was," Bielema added. "I thought it was awesome. My wife was excited about how well the stands were and people that were friends of mine that had never been to a game here were overwhelmed with how good it was – especially the opener – and carryover from last year to this year.
"The good thing is that we have nothing, but upwards to go," Bielema continued.
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