Bret Bielema To Arkansas!

Submitted by Brian on December 4th, 2012 at 3:11 PM

This is not a drill:

In a stunning coup, Arkansas will hire Wisconsin's Bret Bielema as its next football coach, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Bielema, who has taken the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, was nowhere on the radar amid months of speculation over who Arkansas would hire.

An announcement will come Tuesday, sources told Y! Sports, but Bielema is not expected to be introduced until Wednesday.

But like adding Rutgers and Maryland will prevent this sort of thing from happening. People in charge of things are just in charge of them, for no reason.

Comments

BlueinLansing

December 4th, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

but I think a lot of the older MAC success stories had to do with the lack of scholarship reductions in the 70's and before.  It was a little easier to dominate the MAC then.

 

Hoke aside, not many succesful MAC coaches in the Big 10 these days.  And don't bring up Kelly, he cut his teeth at GVSU, CMU was always a going to be a quick stop for him.

phork

December 4th, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

Why?  He fits right in with LSU and Alabama.  Man Ball.  So saying that, Bielema knew his run was up.  Meyer is the new sherrif in town and he lost all his good assistants.  Chryst was the last one.

bronxblue

December 4th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

Except those teams have far better defenses, recruit better, and don't stumble into bowl games because a couple of other teams ahead of them are barred from playing.

I think the more apt comparison for Wiscy in the SEC is a team like SC or, I guess, Arkansas.  A team that can make some noise if the cards go their way, but a clear step below the "top" programs in the conference when at full strength. 

bronxblue

December 4th, 2012 at 3:20 PM ^

This is an amazingly surreal move, both by Bielema (who will probably get skewered for not winning enough at a program that has outsized expectations) and for Wisconsin, which lost a solid coach.  I do think that the Wisconsin program will be fine because they have a system there that won't change.  Bielema will be gone in the next 3-4 years, if not sooner.  At no point did I see him display any real high-level coaching abilities in his years at Wisconsin, and that isn't really a slight against the guy but more the realities of the school.  It has a style that works because few teams still "man up" as much as the Badgers do, but if he thinks he'll be able to out-hoss the SEC with the mediocre recruits he'll snag at Arkansas, he's going to crash and burn.

bronxblue

December 4th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

Yeah, but in the history of Arkansas football they've never been able to successfully mine those two states for talent year in/year out.  And while Texas is certainly large enough to produce top-notch talent for multiple programs, LA seems to be a more difficult place to consistently recruit if you aren't LSU. 

Arkansas is in no-man's land to an extent; they'll never be a prominent team in the conference but the fanbase seems increasingly desperate to be taken seriously as a football power. 

inthebluelot

December 4th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

Tne SEC is a smash mouth conference, very similar to the B14. I'm not sure how anyone can say that he doesn't fit. The argument about Arkansas being more pass oriented is true, but that's only been the last 7 years. I never thought he'd leave Wisconsin, but Warmer weather and more $$$ had to be factors. He can always have a few dozen pounds of cheese and sausage flown in daily if need be.

bronxblue

December 4th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

People have said this for years, but only Alabama and LSU play anything approximating "smash mouth", and that's more a by-product of coaches who play conservatively offensively because they have amazing defenses than an offensive philosophy.  Wiscy runs the ball because they don't recruit the great skill-position players you need for the high-octane offenses.  Alabama and LSU could probably throw the ball around more if they wanted, but the risk isn't worth the reward given how they play the game.

DonAZ

December 4th, 2012 at 8:21 PM ^

The term "smash mouth," I think, is a bit misleading ... in the sense that it suggests an offensive style that only likes to run, and sees passing as something one would rather not do.  But I don't think that's a style played much today, if at all.

Today, even the most vocal "power" teams today desire and count on an effective passing game to balance their run game.  Alabama and McCarren will happily shred a defense if they cheat up to stop the run.  In 2012 they did a pretty decent job balancing rush with pass:

2012 -- Alabama passing ... Attempts: 300 - Completions: 199 - Int: 3 - TD: 27 - Yards: 2788

2012 -- Alabama rushing ... Attempts: 525 - Yards: 2920 - TD: 35

Now compare that with Wisconsin 2011, where Wilson at QB gave them a passing threat (I didn't compare to Wisconsin 2012 because their QB status was a mess this year):

2011 -- Wisconsin passing ... Attempts: 328 - Completions: 233 - Int: 5 - TD: 34 - Yards: 3280

2011 -- Wisconsin rushing ... Attemps: 609 - Yards: 3298 - TD: 48

This goes hand-in-hand with what Hoke / Borges have said time and again ... they want a dominant run game to open up passing.  Borges: "You run for yards, you pass for miles." 

So based on that, I'd say the SEC really is more of a "power" conference than a wide-open, four wide-out, nobody in the backfield but the QB type of league.  Yes, they do run that some of the time ... but it does not define the SEC.

Compare the SEC play to, say, West Virginia or Texas Tech, or Baylor ... each higher than the highest SEC passing team (Texas A&M).

NFG

December 4th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

If he had a problem with Meyer's recruiting tactics last year, how do you think he'll respond with coaches from the SEC doing the same recruiting ploys and gimmicks to steal recruits? He is in a world of hurt. Let me give him some advice: Don't go for a motorcycle ride in the Ozarks with your hot 25 year old intern/secretary.