Bielema Certain Character Counts at Arkansas

At his first post-practice press conference on Monday, Razorback head coach Bret Bielema talked about how much he stresses character with both current Razorbacks and those who might be in the future.

During his Monday afternoon press conference after Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema was asked several questions that dealt with the character of the current Razorbacks and recruits that he and his staff have either pursued at one point or are still going after now.

The questions came – no doubt – because Arkansas is facing Auburn in its season opener and Tigers' preseason quarterback All-SEC quarterback Nick Marshall will not start because of a legal issue he had this summer.

“Here is what I do as a head coach all the time, to be quite honest, I really try to take other people's situations as a learning experience and think what would you do if this same type of situation arose,” Bielema said. “I just firmly believe – and whether you guys want to take it and run with it or not – but a lot of these things as a head coach, we have these (penalties) set in stone before it ever happens. Our kids know the rules before they ever really become invoked or however you want to say it.

“Obviously he (Marshall) is a very, very good football player and however long he stays on the sideline is obviously in their coach's hands,” Bielema added. “But I think when we are playing Auburn, if you are a true competitor you want to play against the best. I tell you their other quarterback (Jeremy Johnson) is going to step in and he is a tremendous player. I think he was the All-SEC (Freshman) Offensive Player of the Week in two of the three weeks he started. He is a tremendous talent and it is what it is and we'll move forward.”

Arkansas has not had a player arrested so far in Bielema's tenure at Arkansas.

“I will say that I am very proud of our guys and the way they handle themselves,” Bielema continued. “I go back to when that whole (Marshall) issue arose and I am sure that everybody saw the same twitter feed I did about it – arrests in the SEC – and I have a lot of pride in the fact that Arkansas had none and I let our kids know that.”

Bielema went through the process of how he decides whether or not to offer a prospect.

“We have an offer sheet,” Bielema said. “It has got to go through the area coach first, the position coach on the offensive or defensive side of the ball and then it comes to me. And if I check him as an offer, the only thing I might check is in that upper right hand corner.

“There are three things: he has got to have a g.p.a that I can relate to, an ACT, SAT or pre-ACT score and third box is social media. Before we offer a kid he will be checked out in every category – twitter, facebook, my space, instagram, all that stuff.

“I distinctly remember a player last year who was a big-time kid who had interest in us. He had a twitter handle that was something I can't repeat in here...I said what are we doing here, that is about as obvious as it gets in what we are dealing here with. So we backed out all together.

“I have been in a home and you can bet this one happened because I am a huge, huge believer in how young man at the age of 18 years of age – or 17 or 16 – how they handle women. I have been in a home where a kid tells his mom to shut up or curses here and I have pulled out of two just like that. Because I think if a kid hasn't learned how to respect his mother by the age of 18, it is never going to happen.

“If they never respect their mother, they are sure as heck not going to respect women in those same capacities. I get in fights with my dad every day. We carry the same mind. He has taught me more than any other man in my life, but men tend to battle. It's what we do. But my mom, she's a saint and I can't ever imagine not having that same respect. And it doesn't have to be the mom. It could be the grandma. We always talk to the women in the school, how do they handle the female teachers, how they handle authority from a female perspective and it's a big deal for us.”

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema looks over practice.

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