Arkansas fired head coach Bret Bielema following the 48-45 loss to Missouri and the losing season. Now what?
No, really. It should’ve worked.
How do you combat being in the same division as Alabama, Auburn and LSU? You come up with something a wee bit different.
If you’re Arkansas, maybe you try to do everything straight up, fight the recruiting fight, and look to get a big win here and there. Or, you try to be the bad boy bully on the block.
And that’s what Bret Bielema brought to Arkansas after abruptly leaving Wisconsin. He was supposed to get the running game going with terrific backs running behind massive human beings to pound, pound, and pound some more.
Play great defense, own the time of possession, dominate in turnover margin, don’t commit penalties, and have just enough of an efficient passing attack to go along with the running game.
Basically, be Wisconsin in the SEC.
The Badgers get it done without any five-star talents. They win every year with their system, by getting the players who’ll all fit into what they do, and by beating people up.
It doesn’t matter how many stars are next to your recruiting profile when you’re getting run over by a 330-pound lineman for four quarters.
But it didn’t work.
The defense was never quite up to snuff, the offense was taken over by the passing game a little too often, and in a division with Alabama, Auburn and LSU, under Bielema, Arkansas was 3-12, beating LSU and Auburn in 2015.
The Hogs only had two losing seasons in his five yards, never lost fewer than five games in a season, and went a pathetic 11-29 in SEC play.
And now Arkansas is in a tough spot. This is a bad year to need a head coach in the SEC, considering Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M are all bigger gigs about to attract the bigger names.
The program can think about at least seeing if Gus Malzahn wants to come over, but why would he?
Is Lane Kiffin a right fit for a program that’s had a whole lot of drama with Bielema and Bobby Petrino? How about Mike Leach when it comes to bring in a fireball personality?
Is Matt Campbell really ready for life in the SEC? Les Miles? Blake Anderson?
It’s not Bret Bielema. He’ll find a gig somewhere soon, and he’ll get back to blasting away with the ground game and be the big bully on the block again.
And it’ll work.