Arkansas coach Bret Bielema states case for another season with Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Embattled Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is prepared to do whatever he can to keep from losing his job at the conclusion of the Razorbacks’ season Friday.
Bielema told reporters Monday he had his staff compile information to highlight the youth of his current team and how bright he believes the future could be. Arkansas is 4-7 overall and 1-6 in SEC play as it prepares to host Missouri on Friday (1:30 p.m. CT, CBS).
“Something like 75-to-80 percent of our offensive production — yardage, scoring — is everything from first- and second-year players,” Bielema said. “Our roster is just filled with sophomores and freshmen, juniors that’ll be back for senior year. [We] have a good plan for us in defensive recruiting as we move forward.
“My goal is to put our best performance on Friday, hopefully try to get ourselves a victory. Saturday, regroup during the morning, hop on a plane and get recruiting on Saturday night and Sunday morning.”
Bielema, who is 29-33 at Arkansas, said he has recently begun to think about the possibility of being fired. It was the first time he’s publicly acknowledged considering that seemingly imminent reality.
“I know that none of it is regret, none of it is remorse, none of it is second guessing,” Bielema said. “It’s just I have so much faith in what we’ve built and what could be here.”
Among SEC schools, Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee already are set to hire new coaches. There’s speculation that Texas A&M and others could be doing the same. Bielema cited that transition within the conference as a reason to keep him around.
The fifth-year coach also pointed to teams that underperformed last season but have shown significant improvement. He specifically mentioned Notre Dame, Michigan State and Mississippi State.
Notre Dame was 4-8 last season and is currently 9-2. Michigan State has improved from 3-9 to 8-3. Mississippi State is 8-3 after going 6-7 last season. Bielema admitted he did not have the previous success as coaches at those schools, which he knows is a key factor.
“I know we want more wins. I want more wins, the wins will come,” Bielema said. “What we took over, what we’ve built and what’s coming back is a very exciting time.”