No, Bret Bielema did not throw his players under bus

arkansas-football-bret bielema

Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Is Bret Bielema placing blame on his players?

Not exactly.

But as angry and frothy-mouthed as many fans, and some in the media, are, his words could be taken as such. Bielema said Monday at his weekly press conference that “a coach is only going to be allowed to coach at a level of what his personnel is.” If one is looking for a reason to be further upset with Bielema, such wording would certainly provide it.

It makes sense that it became more of a big deal Tuesday than it was Monday night. The words had to make the rounds. Opinions had to be formed. Angry ones, especially.

Bielema was not, however, saying his players stink. He wasn’t saying they don’t deserve a roster spot. Bielema said, and meant, they have not developed. The coach didn’t lay the blame of their lack of development on the players themselves. He also didn’t lay it on himself and the coaches. It was a simple statement.

But simple statements can be taken and ran with. It’s not even wrong to do that. Not disingenuous, either. Words like that can be taken different ways.

With the way things are with Arkansas right now, they were taken as fuel to the “fire Bielema” flames.

Frank Ragnow uses the haters as motivation

Arkansas’ best offensive lineman had maybe his worst game of the season in a 48-22 loss to South Carolina on Saturday. The whole line did, frankly. Ragnow knows it. Arkansas’ starting quarterback Austin Allen was hurt in the loss. Reason enough for a bad game.

But Ragnow was not hurt or offended by what Bielema said Monday. He knows the unit has to play better. He knows he has to play better. Ragnow put the responsibility for the poor line play on himself.

With Alabama up next, now is as good a time as any. It’s unclear whether Allen will play Saturday against the best defensive line in the country. Opinions differ as to whether he should (hint: he should). His balky shoulder, if it gets knocked again, could finish his season.

Ragnow owns that and he is focusing on being a Bielema-style offensive lineman.

Arkansas shouldn’t change anything this week

If the Razorbacks want to go to Alabama and get blasted, play Cole Kelley. Make more moves on the offensive line. Change some defensive schemes.

Our resident podcaster and Razorbacks fan, John Nabors, said Arkansas should go straight into Alabama and stick to the plan. He’s absolutely right.

Changing plans does nothing. Why? Because, odds are, as good as Alabama is and as bad as Arkansas is, whatever changes take place are going to end in failure, anyway. Then you have gone and shown future opponents a new look plus gained zero confidence in the new look because it likely didn’t work.

Head to Tuscaloosa, do what you do and see what happens.

ICYMI

  • Former Arkansas defensive lineman Dan Hampton was named as the Razorbacks’ representative to the 2017 SEC Legends Class. Hampton played at Arkansas in the 1970s, when it was a member of the Southwest Conference.
  • This upcoming season in SEC baseball, catchers can wear earpieces that will allow them to receive signals from a coach. WholeHogSports’ Matt Jones has some details.
  • Tuesday was a rough news day for the soon-to-be nationally ranked Arkansas baseball team. Diamond Hogs coach Dave Van Horn told the gathered media that right-handed pitcher Kevin Kopps will miss the season because of Tommy John surgery. Kopps may have contended for a starting pitching spot and, at worst, would have been one of the top arms out of the bullpen this season.
  • Bielema is trying to remain hopeful for Arkansas during a time of difficulty, wrote the Associated Press’ Kurt Voigt.
  • Arkansas athletics joined Greek Life, Associated Student Government and University Housing in the “It’s On Us” campaign. “It’s On Us” has an aim of pledge and awareness of consent, bystander awareness and survivor support. Largely, it’s a campus safety campaign. And a good one.

Tweets and the like

• I recommend heading out to Baum Stadium if you want a first look at the Diamond Hogs. They should be a preseason top 15 team, if not even higher.

• ESPN’s SEC writer Chris Low doesn’t have high hopes for Arkansas the rest of the way.

• Ohhhh, boy. This isn’t good for Bielema:

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.

The post No, Bret Bielema did not throw his players under bus appeared first on SEC Country.

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