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Bielema, Malzahn Feud Continues Over Video Issue


Arkansas coach Brett Bielema sent a complaint to the SEC office accusing Auburn of doctoring its game tape. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
Arkansas coach Brett Bielema sent a complaint to the SEC office accusing Auburn of doctoring its game tape. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Arkansas head coach Brett Bielema and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn have one thing in common: They both are in their first year coaching a team in the SEC West.

They also both have coached for the Razorbacks.

Beyond that, they don't see eye-to-eye on many things. Bielema brought his run-first offense from Wisconsin. Malzahn prefers the spread offense he used as Cam Newton's offensive coordinator at Auburn and as head coach at Arkansas State.

This week, Bielema filed a complaint with the Southeastern Conference office regarding the game tape the team received from Auburn, the Associated Press reported. 

"There are just some clips that haven't, shall we say, the TV copy doesn't match the film copy," Bielema said in the article. "On the TV copy, they have a swinging gate at the beginning of the play, which obviously happened. It was on the TV copy. And when we got the video copy from them today, that exact same play doesn't show any of the gate."

The back-and-forth between the two coaches began at SEC media days in July. Bielema expressed player safety concerns related to no-huddle, hurry-up offenses, similar to Alabama coach Nick Saban. Malzahn's response, specifically to Bielema's comments? That's "a joke," he said.

To which Bielema responded: "I'm not a comedian."

Later, former Arkansas and current Auburn assistant Tim Horton tweeted Razorbacks tight end Austin Tate to wish him a speedy recovery following an injury. Nice, right? The problem is, Arkansas hadn't released any injury information yet, so Horton effectively made public some news that's become as guarded as national secrets for most football teams.

Bielema managed to take a jab at Horton and the Tigers at the time, saying he is careful to remind everyone associated with his program not to release sensitive information.

"I forgot to review this with the Auburn staff," he deadpanned.

Auburn (7-1, 3-1) has soared in Malzahn's first season, this week earning a Top 10 ranking in the AP poll. Arkansas (3-5, 0-4), meanwhile, recovering from the wake left by Bobby Petrino and interim coach John Smith, is coping with five consecutive losses and faces its fifth consecutive ranked opponent Saturday when it hosts Auburn.

Coaches typically share game film with one another as a courtesy. Although there is no NCAA rule requiring the exchange, it's an unwritten rule that's always followed.

"I'm sure it's a glitch," Bielema said of the difference in video he claims to have found. "I know Gus stands for everything that's right and (has) great faith in doing things right. So, I'm sure it's just a glitch that they'll get to the bottom of."

Auburn currently is an 8.5-point road favorite. The way both teams have been playing, Arkansas can study all the correct film it wants and still have its hands full, but if Bielema needed a way to keep his players engaged and motivated after all the losses, he may have found it.