This isn’t a surprise. As everybody in Arkansas is well aware, even those that aren’t Razorback fans, the Hogs have had a longtime policy of never playing in-state teams in any sport, and Bielema simply reiterated that stance at the coaches’ golf tournament in Bella Vista on Friday.
However, he did offer some new rationale for it. Here’s video (courtesy my old podcast partner Chad Neipling of GridironNow.com, also, horizontal video Chad! Horizontal video!)
Bielema makes it clear he never wants to play the Howlies and says so because of the relative comradery between himself and ASU coach Blake Anderson. They communicate regarding recruits and co-hosted the All-Arkansas satellite camp in Little Rock in June. Bielema says those things couldn’t be possible if the two schools competed against each other.
This is a new concept. I don’t recall the Arkansas and ASU coaches ever being openly friendly with each other on this level. It’s definitely a new talking point beyond the old “state unity” “nothing to gain” standards.
This also basically eliminates any chance (not that there was much of one to begin with) of Arkansas playing ASU in War Memorial as a way for the Razorbacks to continue playing in Little Rock beyond 2018.
Sorry, Howlies. Y’all are going to have to wait for a new AD/Coach combo in Fayetteville before there’s any chance of this game happening.
Other notes from the golf tournament interviews:
Bielema is not concerned with any decommitments from the 19 commitments in Arkansas’ 2017 recruiting class, saying only 4 players have ever decommitted from him. At least two of them have come during his Arkansas tenure in Kiehl Pollard last year and most infamously, K.J. Hill the year before. Bielema credits a letter he sends out following commitments for that loyalty. I don’t know about that, but go with what works.
Offensive line coach Kurt Anderson used the New York theatre scene to draw an analogy regarding the offensive line’s development.
“Watch (the offensive linemen) now, they look like they’re ready for . . . I wouldn’t say Broadway, I’d say off-Broadway, and that’s damn good,” Anderson said. “When this is all said and done, we’re going to give the Rockettes a run for their money in terms of how synchronized and how beautiful our footwork will be.”
As a noted theatre fan, I appreciate this. Off-Broadway is nothing to sneeze at. There’s a lot of great long-running shows and future Broadway shows on Off-Broadway. Hamilton started Off-Broadway for a few months before its instant popularity moved it to its spot on Broadway about a year ago. That’s a fine place for the Arkansas offensive line to be at this point.
The backup tight end spot behind Jeremy Sprinkle is still up for grabs.
What do you think of Bielema’s golf swing?
"My swing is violent" - Bret Bielema.— BEINGBretBielema (@BEINGBretB) July 29, 2016
Episode one coming August 10th at 9 pm ET pic.twitter.com/PLyeoqJWCJ
I don’t know if “violent” is the adjective I’d use. I do support his use of sandals while golfing, however.