Bret Bielema finds himself in an interesting position heading into this year.
He’s had a tendency of finishing the season strong, but that usually comes after a poor start. The 2016 season was a little different, as the Razorbacks started 5-2 but lost thee of their final four games, holding double-digit halftime leads in the final two.
But Bielema put together another top 30 recruiting class and landed four 4-star recruits in the process. This year’s team also returns Austin Allen at quarterback and Rawleigh Williams III at running back.
The defensive side of the ball was a huge problem in 2016 for the Razorbacks, especially defending the run. After Robb Smith left, Bielema promoted secondary coach Paul Rhoads to defensive coordinator. Rhoads has plenty of experience calling a defense and was the head coach at Iowa State from 2009-15. If Rhoads can turn around the Razorbacks’ defense, Arkansas could be in for a much better 2017 than 2016.
Bielema might really need that to happen after a 68.7 percent approval rating in SEC Country‘s first approval rating poll. That percentage left him in 11th place amongst SEC coaches. However, he probably gained some fan support after he called out the referees of the SEC Tournament men’s basketball championship game on Twitter.
Bielema earned a salary of $4.1 million in 2016. In his four years at Arkansas, Bielema has a 25-26 overall record, but is just 10-22 in the SEC.
Vote on Bret Bielema’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.