Bret Bielema is ready for the big time and not that his old job wasn’t a great situation, but he now takes the leap to the SEC where winning means statues and losing means unemployment quickly. Bielema has an aura around him of confidence that should breathe life into a broken Razorback program. Just two years ago Arkansas was a legitimate SEC championship contender but after motorcycle-gate and the John L. experiment the program needed an identity change. Bielema may be the right guy for the job and he could find success sooner than later.
- He was very passionate about his beliefs on giving defenses a chance to substitute against up tempo offenses. He made a compelling case citing fatigue for injury correlation. When he was told Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said it was a joke, he responded “well, I am no comedian”.
- He said more games are lost than won every Saturday. He mentioned that turnovers are the root of all evil in causing teams to give away the opportunity to win. If an Arkansas player fumbles in practice he immediately goes into a run. “Guys who put the ball on the ground won’t play for us”.
- He also said he would never turn in Wisconsin for a minor infractions such as a “bump” violation. He did say that recruiting it is very competitive but in his 20 years in football he has never heard or seen anything blatant.
Arkansas had a 100 play scrimmage that featured just 13 pass attempts by starting quarterback Brandon Allen. This was not a sign of things to come with regards to play calling but more a message by the new staff that they must develop toughness on the lines of scrimmage. Bielema promises to bring three key changes in year one and if they happen the Hogs could go bowling.
- Strong running game. It’s not how much you run but how effectively you do it. The Hogs may be doing it a lot after finishing last in the SEC in rushing offense.
- Positive turnover margin. Bielema went to three straight Rose Bowls at Wisconsin. The Badgers were +33 in the turnover margin in those three seasons. Last year the Hogs were -19 in turnover margin and finished 122nd out of 124 teams in college football.
- Strong time of possession. The last three years Wisconsin led the Big Ten twice in time of possession and finished second once. Arkansas finished 12th last season in the SEC in time of possession.
Hogs by the Numbers
-Arkansas averages 118 yards per game rushing which was last in the SEC and 107th nationally.
-The Razorbacks were 104th in the country in rushing touchdowns with just 12.
-Four times last season the Hogs were held under 100 yards rushing and their season high was 164 yards in the opener versus Jacksonville State.
-Arkansas allowed teams to possess the ball for five and half minutes more than them per game.
-Arkansas only had two 100 yard games from it’s running backs last season. Wisconsin had 16 100 yard games by their running backs.