Bielema Excited About Arkansas Rising to Power
The recruiting pitch happened when commentator Joey Galloway asked if Bielema – who loves to ground and pound on offense – actually recruited wide receivers.
“We do and we recruit them well,” Bielema said. “They block in the NFL, too.
“I think the part that gets lost is…in my first 10 years as a head coach, I have had more players drafted by the NFL in any coach in college history.
“I wondered how does that happen? Because I don’t even think about it. But it is part of the process of being in our program. We do what the NFL loves to do.
“We were 7-6 and we had 13 guys sign NFL contracts. That shows that people appreciate what we do at this level for what they are going to do at the next level.”
“Well, 7-6 is by no means a landing point, it is more of a launching point,” Bielema said. “We are going to take this and go forward.
“Our worst record at Wisconsin was 7-6 so I am not accustomed to what we went through and I am not going to live by it every day.
“The big thing is that our players now realize that we can do this and have a lot of success and I think that is what you are going to see.”
“To be quite honest, I have them by mistake,” Bielema said. “About a month or so ago, Nike gives us a certain allotment of money, which my coaches and my wife tends to run through that rather quickly.
“But I said that I needed to order a few things. I thought they were kind of white rustic from the way they looked on the computer the bling effect was not there.
“When I opened them up, I was like ‘oh, my.’”
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen had brought his own shiny pair of Adidas shoes on Tuesday.
“So I got up this morning and thought I needed to make a little move, a little Nike vs. Adidas and we will see who comes out on top,” Bielema said.
It’s clear that his players thought they were fleek, which is described by the Urban dictionary as “the quality of being perfect or on point.”
They had sit in my office for two months and I was kind of afraid to take them home. This is the debut…Our players have described them as pretty fleek.”
Bielema was asked how he planned to carry over the momentum from winning three of its final games, including a 31-6 win over Texas in its bowl game.
“Obviously the outside world saw it on those last three or four games, but I go back to the (Texas) A&M, our opener in the SEC,” Bielema said. “We are going to go into a three-touchdown lead, but we get a penalty that bring back a touchdown and we lost momentum.
“Our guys really didn’t know how to win at that time. But we made some adjustments and got a little better. We played Alabama to a one-point game and we left 10 points on the field.
“We went into a bye week and we had three games left and if we two of those three, we are going to be bowl eligible.”
LSU (17-0), Ole Miss (31-0) before losing at Missouri.
“We went in to play LSU and it was the first time that it hadn’t happened at the end of the year because we moved it up because the SEC wanted to do that,” Bielema said. “It worked out very well for us..
“We beat Ole Miss 31-0 and it was the first time in history that an unranked team had shut out two ranked teams.
“We let one get away at Mizzou and then played very well against Texas in the bowl game and made a statement and want to just continued that forward.”
Bielema also addressed losing the play and leadership of top defenders Trey Flowers, Darius Philon and Martrell Spaight to the NFL.
“Today I brought three offensive players just because we have an abundance of those side of the ball. Defensively we have a lot of no-name guys. I have kind of referenced us as the Bad News Bears if you are old enough to remember that movie.
“It’s a bunch of no-name guys that play really well together. We are very well coached. Robb Smith came in and did an outstanding job defensively. We lost Randy Shannon, but replaced him with Vernon Hargreaves, who has been a great addition. So I am very happy about us defensively.”
In the last six games of the 2014 season, the Arkansas defense was first nationally in touchdowns allowed, first in scoring and second in yards allowed.
“The type of system we run is very simple, very basic. There is not 30 calls into a ballgame. There is about four or five.
“Our guys play very simplistic, they play with great pad level, they tackle efficiently, they use their hands, play penalty-free and they are great in the red zone.
“I think those things allow you to play good defense. It took awhile for our guys to understand ‘let’s do this and win, let’s play strong in the fourth quarter.’
“We replace with new names, but that is just part of our identity.”
Jonathan Williams and juniors Alex Collins and Kody Walker.
Williams and Collins rushed for over 1,000 years each while Walker had 174 yards in the Red-White game this spring.
“I think you recruit your own problems,” Bielema said. “If you recruit players that believe in I and believe they need to have 1,500 yards and go out early in the draft, then you won’t have success.
“Jonathan Williams, when you sit down and meet him, is all about we. He is going to be enrolled in two hours this fall and going to graduate by December. He is an outstanding leader on and off the field.
“Him and Alex have a great relationship and I have a third guy in Kody Walker that if they bat an eye, he will be up on their heels in a heartbeat. We also have a freshman in Rawleigh Williams.
“But it is not just our running backs, it is our five guys up front (offensive line) that I think are as good as they are and a quarterback (Brandon Allen) who I think can really be an efficient manager of the game and can do some really good things throwing the football and a couple of good tight ends (Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle) now.”
Brandon Allen, Jonathan Williams, Keon Hatcher and Bret Bielema pose after arriving in Hoover, Ala., for SEC Media Days.