Bret Bielema will speak to the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club three days before the season opener with Texas-El Paso it was announced Wednesday.
The NWA TD Club unveiled its 2015 lineup as Excecution Director Bo Mattingly explained that he filled slots after hearing members ask for former Razorback players and coaches. Of the nine speakers, seven have ties to the Razorbacks.
Bielema, the Arkansas head coach, will speak to the group on Wednesday before the season opener. The club meetings are at Mermaid Restaurant on College in Fayetteville at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays during the season.
UA athletic director Jeff Long speaks in the third week. Former UA coach Joe Kines is scheduled for Sept. 30. Also speaking are former Hogs Clint Stoerner, Dan Hampton and Matt Jones. Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan, former LSU lineman and SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears and USA Today columnist George Schroeder round out the list.
Sept. 3 - Bret Bielema
Sept. 16 - Jim Donnan
Sept. 23 - Jeff Long
Sept. 30 - Joe Kines
Oct. 7 - Clint Stoerner
Oct. 21 - George Schroeder
Oct. 28 - Dan Hampton
Nov. 4 - Matt Jones
Nov. 11 - Marcus Spears
Former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, one of last year's speakers, delivered the keynote speach on Wednesday at the announcement party. Wilson said it's an "exciting time" for the Razorbacks as he previewed the 2015 season.
"There is a lot of anticipation right now," Wilson said. "I'm enjoying covering this team."
Wilson is a co-host of the Morning Rush radio show on ESPN stations in Arkansas from 6 to 9 a.m.
Asked about the loss of tailback Jonathan Williams to injury, Wilson said, "That's a blow, no doubt. Last year, Jonathan and Alex Collins averaged 32 carries. That's 16 each. Someone has to step up to fill that void. Certainly, I think it can be done. Alex is gong to be given a few more. I think Kody Walker can step up, too."
Wilson said he played with Walker with the Razorbacks and was impressed.
"I thought of lot of Kody," Wilson said. "It's incredible that he's at 255 or 260 now. He's a downhill guy that can make yards inside and I think Alex can make them on the edge."
Wilson was asked about quarrterback play. He misunderstood the question and talked about cornerbacks at first.
"I think we've had some great cornerbacks here at times," Wilson said. "I know that Reggie Herring's defense Batman Carroll and Chris Houston had some talented corners. But it has trended downward in the last five years. That's changed and there is a lot of talent and depth at corner."
No, the question was about quarterbacks. What about that position?
"Sorry, I thought you said corners," he said. "I do have some knowledge of the quarterbacks. I do summer camps and had two in the area this summer. I had Brandon Allen, Austin Allen and Ty Storey at both of them. I saw them deliver a throwing clinic and saw them throw. I know they have very good talent."
Wilson said a lot of questions are asked about the potential UA record.
"The sky is the limit," he said. "The schedule is tough. I know it's tough when you have to go Alabama and LSU in the same season and they have that."
Wilson recalls leading an Arkansas team into the huddle at Tuscaloosa and receiving blank stares because the other 10 players couldn't hear his signals.
"They didn't hear a word," he said. "I'll never forget that. We had some early success in that game, but over time, the tension just kind of wears on you. The same applies at LSU."