Before Paul Finebaum and Nick Saban got into a back and forth live on the SEC Network and again off the air, Bret Bielema was undoubtedly the most entertaining coach to come through the event.
Bielema didn’t take any true shots at any coaches in the league. He spoke about a talk he and former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive had when the head coach took a shot at Gus Malzahn some time ago, and has learned, as fun as it can be, to not go in that direction anymore.
The only coaching “jabs” he took was at Kevin Sumlin regarding when the two met at midfield following Arkansas’ loss to Texas A&M in Arlington in 2014. Bielema says Sumlin remarked, “Coach, I don’t know what to say,” to which Bielema replied, “Don’t say anything, I might punch you.”
That was only one of the fun notes the head coach gave Wednesday. Here are some more:
- Bielema and wife Jen traveled to Paris for Russell Wilson and Ciara’s wedding recently. He made the comment on a number of occasions that he was not in the wedding and his seat being on the eighth row on the end. Also, he spoke of a number of high-profile celebrities including Kelly Rowland and others, but to cover his backside admitted Jen was still the best looking woman in attendance. Nice work.
- It seems as if Bielema walks into this event with a go-to line in mind each time. This year it was “sexy” and a number of things in that area. He proceeded to call defensive end Deatrich Wise a “beautiful” player before adding that Arkansas “needs a lot of time in the bathroom” to get ready. Putting lipstick on a pig, if you will.
Arkansas "needs a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready, but when we do, we'll stop time" this event should be Bert 14 times— jason (@JasonKirkSBN) July 13, 2016
- Also, a question about the series with Michigan being called off was asked by Eric Bolin of the Arkansas News Bureau, and Bielema replied he was in Europe for Wilson’s wedding when he found out. He was obviously a little disappointed in learning the news, pointing back to a 12-1 season his first year at Wisconsin – the lone loss to Michigan. The Wolverines dropped Arkansas for Notre Dame, but Bielema sees the Hogs-UM matchup as an intriguing one as well.
Bielema stops short of jab at Michigan for a canceling. "I know Michigan-Notre Dame is sexy, but I think Michigan-Arkansas sounds sexy."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 13, 2016
- Ever since stepping on campus, Bielema has made it clear he’s not going to put up with knuckleheads in his program. So when the question came up about suspending players, potentially, for a season opener, he was very candid:
Bret Bielema said he never has to worry about suspending anyone for the first game because "it doesn't come up in our program."— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) July 13, 2016
- Before stepping to the dais, Bielema was on the SEC Network desk with Dari Nowkhah and company. When asked about the running back position he was very positive about Rawleigh Williams’ health and ability – Kody Walker as well. And after leaving the center stage, he remarked Devwah Waley is the best running back he’s ever evaluated on film.
Bielema on Rawleigh Williams: "He's completely healthy, been healed up since the spring. I think he should be a 1,000-yard rusher."— Danny West (@DannyWest1) July 13, 2016
Bret Bielema: "Devwah Whaley may be the best running back I've ever evaluated on film."— Jimmy Carter (@NWAJimmy) July 13, 2016
After a relatively boring first few days in Hoover, Bielema provided some laughs as well as some personality – and the sexy. I can understand why some coaches would come in and just plug the positives about their respective program, but I think BIelema being so personable and fun-loving is huge for recruiting, too. There is an apparent realness to him, and I don’t think its a show.
Heck, the SEC Network guys and even some print media members were crying out for Bielema to save the entire week. That speaks volumes. Bielema can absolutely give you his fair share of coach-speak, but we can always count on some fun remarks, too, and he definitely brought that today.