Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bielema on Malzahn envy, footprint in Georgia and his secretive alliance with Saban

Arkansas' "Bielema Project" is turning out to be a case study in how a major college football coach adapts to life, recruiting, coaching, and public relations in the South.

In this interview he talks about how Malzahn had it so much easier as a first year coach in the SEC, how he plans to attack recruiting in the state of Georgia, and how everything between him and Nick Saban is above board. But what really stands out is his defense that it's always about player safety. Always.
I really do think that the only thing I regret about that whole conversation and things that were said … the only thing at the top of my priority list in player safety. Nothing will ever derail from that. Nothing will ever take me away from that. It’s something I believe in strongly. Our one solid and unwavering commitment to parents when we recruit young men is that we will look out for the safety and well-being of their child, no matter what. And I think that’s something that can never be lost in in translation.”
Truth. But then Carvell gives him full authority over the NCAA and asks him for one thing he would change. Rule change to address concussions? Manifesto to protect gassed defenseless players?

Nope. Recruiting.
I would suggest, and I’ve put in motion now for about four or five years in a row now, the ability to bring in a parent on an official visit by plane.
Hey, I agree that a program should be allowed to bring in parents on recruiting trips. In a way, maybe that does address player safety...??

Arkansas has it tough this season. They open in Auburn and get Georgia (home) and Missouri (away) from the East. Bielema seems over his head down here. But fully admits this is what he wanted for a challenge as a head coach. And since his contract buyout is nearly $13 million for the first three seasons, he'll likely get the chance to recruit his own players for his own system.

Will be an interesting situation to watch develop. We travel to Little Rock midway through the season. Should be a good time for a temperature check.