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College football has been in the headlines this offseason more than if Johnny Manziel hooked up with each of the Kardashians. Between the Baylor mess, Ole Miss trying to do their best SMU impersonation, and Jim Harbaugh flipping the double birds to the SEC, the sport has provided no shortage of juicy content to sports radio ever since Nick Saban hoisted the National Championship trophy.
Now granted, every single offseason we all expect to see stories and scandals like these. What is amazing about the 2016 offseason specifically however, is that we have yet to hear any noise from one of college football’s most notorious headline makers:
Despite all of the struggles the Arkansas Razorback football program has gone through, it never stopped Bret Bielema from being Bret Bielema. When he first arrived on campus in December 2013, he began sparring with bitter Wisconsin fans on Twitter after he left their program following eight seasons. He also began publicly stating how he had serious issues with the hurry up, no huddle spread offense and how it puts kids health at risk. Some agreed with his sentiment, but most saw it as whining.
In the 2014 offseason, he continued to show his disdain for the HUNH offense. This time he went as far as to allude that Cal football player Ted Agu’s untimely death after a rigorous team workout was proof that the HUNH offense was dangerous to the welfare of kids. Bielema was met with outrage from people all across the country saying his comments crossed the line.
Enter the 2015 offseason, where Bielema was speaking to a Texas High School Coaches Convention. Trying to show his confidence about his style of football he claims, “If you don’t play with a fullback, we’ll kick your ass. If you throw it 70 times a game, we’ll kick your ass.” This obviously rubbed some of the attending coaches the wrong way; Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury being one of them. Kingsbury would have the last laugh later in the year though when his Red Raiders beat the Razorbacks in Fayetteville and claiming after the game that Bielema “got his ass kicked.”
So here we are in the middle of the 2016 college football offseason and there has not been one peep out of Bret Bielema. Not a one. The most interesting thing he has done is tweet about how he cooked his organic low sodium soy marinated sea bass. Which is awesome (and likely delicious), but it also raises this question for me: Does Bielema know that this year is the year for his Razorbacks?
Only Bielema knows why he’s been laying low, but quiet confidence is one of the best ways in college football to show that the coach is confident heading into the season. You don’t hear as much as a popcorn fart from Urban Meyer at Ohio State, but Jim Harbaugh at Michigan would be a moderator at a presidential debate if he thought he could get a recruit from it. Yet Urban will have more success than Harbaugh this year.
That’s especially true for a team like Arkansas. In years past when they’ve won the SEC West, they were picked to finish in the bottom of the division. And again, most people aren’t really giving the Hogs a chance this year. But Bielema has some serious confidence about his team and staff in 2016. Returning all but three defensive players from the 2-deep last year, a redshirt junior quarterback named Austin Allen who he thinks can be even better than older brother last year, and a coaching staff that he feels is able to get the most out of his players, Bielema wants to take Arkansas to that next level.
And that may be why no one has heard anything from him.
There is a time for everything in college sports if you want to be successful. There’s a time to be proud, to be humble, to be angry, to be patient, to be fired up, to be focused, and to be drunk. But ultimately it’s about finding that opportune time to show everyone how good your team is.
Bret Bielema’s time may finally come in 2016.
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