Bielema Respects SEC; SEC Should Respect Him
By Dan Harralson
Three straight Rose Bowls should and did land a coach an SEC job. We all know SEC jobs are the premiere coaching destinations throughout college football.
Revenue sharing throughout the conference has allowed the Vanderbilts and Ole Miss' to compete with the historically upper-echelon teams in the conference. It also has caused elite teams in the conference to falter to other teams.
Then there is Arkansas. Arkansas joined the conference in 1992 and has been relatively successful during the last 20 years. Appearances in two SEC championship games and numerous big-time wins makes the Arkansas job attractive. And the Wal-Mart money helps the cause, too: $3.2 million to be exact. That is the dollar amount per year Arkansas has handed to former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.
Bielema trades in his Big Ten roots for a cream-of-the-crop conference destination. The unfolding of the great run Bobby Petrino had in Fayetteville ended tragically. The bounce-back will be better even after the John L. Smith debacle.
Bielema took the stand at SEC Media Days.
The former Iowa Hawkeyes nose guard likes how his style of play will translate to the SEC. Run the ball and play defense.
"We're going to definitely run the football. It's much easier, in my opinion, to rush the ball for four yards than throw the ball for four yards," Bielema told reporters at SEC Media Days. "You put it in the guy's hand, block it up the right way and you got four yards. If you want to throw the football, you've got to be able to get the quarterback to throw it and get the guy to catch it, you got to get the protection in between there."
His offensive and defensive philosophies translate into what the SEC has been known for since its inception in 1932. Coach Bielema realizes the importance of running the football and to establish a presence amongst the defensive line.
"I'm going to start with the offensive line and defensive line, two staples I believe are important for winning games that I want our team to play," Bielema said.
The former Wisconsin coach gets it. He understands the way to stop the few spread type teams in the conference is to establish a defensive line that can allow spread offenses to not have the time to set up their quirky plays.
The other aspect is rushing the football and keeping those offenses off the field.
"We're going to win a lot of football games. That's been the formula of our success in the past," the three-time Big Ten champion said.
Bielema still does not have the respect of the majority of SEC media and fans, probably due to his Big Ten roots and not wanting to see a Big Ten coach come into the conference and succeed. But Bielema deserves the respect and the opportunity because he has the same for the members of the conference.
"Everything I say good about the SEC, everybody else gets pissed. So I'm really in a quandary here," Bielema told reporters of the lack of respect he is given.