A pretty good hire. And he's fairly young as well, a lot of potential with an already solid resume. It looks like Arkansas wants to focus more on defense and winning titles rather than just competing.
And here’s why all the calls and texts and messageboard-studying and flight-tracking is really meaningless: Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports is now reporting that Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema will be named Arkansas’ next head coach at some point today.
If true, so much for talk of Gary Patterson, Chris Peterson, Mike Gundy, et al. Bielema has been so far off the radar on this one you’d have thought he was in the Bermuda Triangle. Instead, the ex-Iowa player and seventh-year Badgers coach will head to Fayetteville fresh of a 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game and three consecutive Rose Bowl trips.
If true, that’s an outside the box hire and one must wonder how far down on AD Jeff Long’s list Bielema was. He has no strong recruiting ties to Texas or the southeast region so far as we’re aware at first blush. Then again, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin (and his entire staff) had few ties to the south and he’s done pretty darn well.
Regarding recruiting, let’s not forget that this past offseason Bielema was pretty vocal about his dislike for Urban Meyer’s practice of dialing up Wisconsin commitments. In fact, he said “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC in any way, shape or form.” (Think Bielema will be reminded of that one?)
If true — like how we keep throwing that out there? — the Razorbacks would have grabbed a “name” coach and that was clearly Long’s goal from the get-go… whether Bielema was first on his list or not.
Oh, and you can be sure Long will claim Bielema was his choice all along. Again, if this one’s true.
UPDATE — Others are now confirming Bielema to Arkansas. The 42-year-old Badgers’ coach was 68-24 overall in Madison.