Bret Bielema at SEC Spring Meetings: Recap & Analysis

The SEC is holding their annual shindig in Destin this week, and Tuesday was Bielema's day to entertain the media.

Where to begin with Bielema's big day at the SEC Spring Meetings?

As is custom whenever Bielema talks to a media gathering beyond the usual Arkansas beat guys, he was asked a bunch of questions about Gus Malzahn and the 10 second rule and about the Big 10 vs SEC and so on, stuff that you'd think would be routine and generate pretty boring answers because it feels like he's been asked them a zillion times. But one of Bielema's most amazing traits is that he always seems to give us something new.

For instance, today he coined a new phrase, "Holy Pistol"

HOLY PISTOL. Sounds like one of the fun faux-cussings they'd use on the old HBO show Big Love. Although nothing will ever top Barb's "THE SUGAR'S HIT THE FAN!"

Although, as some mentioned to me on Twitter, that could be a new formation Arkansas uses this year. Wait, Bielema, a new formation?  geeetouuuttaaaheeeere

On the 2014 season

Well, gee coach, I hope so too!

On why he moved from Wisconsin to Arkansas

First of all, opportunities for more than two SEC teams in the playoffs will be rare. It probably would have happened in 2011 had Arkansas beaten LSU, but it's hard to imagine the Selection Committee ignoring so many other conference champions to load the Playoff with three SEC teams. And the SEC won't get two teams each year, either.

Second, Wisconsin's got a much better chance of getting in the Playoff sometime soon than Arkansas does.

That quote is getting all the attention, but Bielema also said this:

"I made this move for a lot of different reasons -- obviously assistant coaches salaries and all that jazz, but I just wanted to reboot the battery," Bielema said. "I'd been at one place for 9 years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved every minute of it, I have great memories, great friends and great players. I just needed something to shake up my personal inventory a little bit to get where I needed to be."

On an early signing period for recruiting

This is interesting because I'm pretty sure this is the strongest Bielema has ever come out in favor of an early signing period, and it's a clear difference between Bielema and what we've often been told about an early signing period regarding Arkansas. Bobby Petrino was against the idea, and many seem to agree with him, that it put Arkansas at a disadvantage because places without deep recruiting bases - like Arkansas - needed as much time as possible to get prospects to campus and even attempt to flip them if necessary.

It does always seem like Arkansas ends up signing a few players each year who were committed to somebody else late in the process. For instance, JoJo Robinson was committed to Florida State for a long time before signing with the Razorbacks. Even if the Seminoles backed off of him late, they wouldn't have been able to do that if he signed the summer before the season started and he might be planning on going to Tallahassee right now instead of Fayetteville.

On the flip side, perhaps the Hogs keep Jermaine Eluemanor if he signs in August instead of continuing to look around during the season and eventually committing to Texas A&M.

It's a double-edged sword for a program like Arkansas. It probably is much more of an advantage for schools with deeper recruiting bases who tend to have many more commitments early in the process.

It should be noted, despite support for the idea of an early signing period, there's still significant dispute about when it should be. Some like Nick Saban want it in December, while others like Bielema would like to see it in August.

On whether the SEC should play an 8/9 game schedule

That's just kind of funny because he called them all "cats", and Bielema seems like neither a cat person, jazz person, nor beatnik.

It should be noted though, most of those cats could probably win at least one SEC game in year one. Probably.

On the infamous 10-second rule

Whew. Let's hope it stays off the agenda.

On whether Arkansas will look like Wisconsin when he's turned the program around

Just as long as there's winning involved. People forget, Bielema's teams put up a crap ton of points at Wisconsin. It's not like they went out there to win close, low-scoring games. The vast majority of his NFL Draft picks from Madison were offensive players.

Oh, and they asked him about his timeless, epic, heated rivalry with arch-nemesis Gus Malzahn

There are several tweets we could link to here. There's a lot of Bielema saying it's "overblown" and "exaggerated" in the media, and how there's actually a stronger "camaraderie" among SEC coaches than he expected before he came down here. That the players don't need any media rivalry between himself and Malzahn to get excited for the game.

Fine. Cool. Whatever.

They might have a perfectly fine professional relationship. That's fine. I don't buy for a second that they actually like each other, and that's fine. When you're competing in games for which losing often results in a stain on your professional reputation as well as your job security, it's okay not to be friendly with everybody you're competing against.

And he also said this

And that's just tons of fun!

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