FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — During his weekly appearance on the SEC football coaches teleconference, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was asked a question he’s used to answering.
Considering his offensive line’s struggles this season, how does Bielema expect it to perform against Auburn’s stout defensive front?
“Again, this world loves to be negative, people want to talk about struggles, but we try to emphasize the positives,” Bielema responded. “We have three news starters in our lineup that have gotten better every game. They have done some really good things.”
Arkansas’ offensive line has struggled mightily for most of this season, a trend Hog fans aren’t used to seeing. Bielema’s teams at both Wisconsin and Arkansas have been known for superior offensive line play.
But ever since the Hogs’ 21-20 season-opening win over Louisiana Tech — during which Arkansas averaged just 2.65 yards per rush and quarterback Austin Allen was sacked four times — Bielema has steadfastly defended his O-line.
The only personnel change that Arkansas coaches have made up front this year was replacing right tackle Colton Jackson with Brian Wallace four games into the season.
The unit definitely played its best game of the year in the Hogs’ 34-30 win over Ole Miss last week, but Allen was still sacked three times.
“I think if I dwell on the negatives like everybody else, we for sure wouldn’t be getting to where we need to be,” Bielema said Wednesday. “Our guys have made steady improvement. They are good football players.”