Expectations sometimes get inflated, and when that happens they usually become impossible to meet. That's not the case for Bret Bielema, who delivered the most enjoyable press conference yet this week at the SEC Media Days. Bielema's performance undoubtedly punctuated the day of those in attendance, and raised their spirits before venturing out to sample Hoover, Alabama's diverse nightlife.
Check out some of these gems:
I am very excited about our defense. I think they can be a very special group. I've kind of been giving them the tag line, the Bad News Bears. For those of you that have the vintage to remember that movie, they're a bunch of guys that nobody really had a strong game but played well together. I think that's what our defense is.
Later he declares war:
To get here as a head coach, I wore a little bling on the shoes just to have a little fun. I saw a coach walk in here yesterday with his Adidas on. We're a Nike school. First thing I said was, hell, let's start a little Nike-Adidas war. That was why I did it. I love Dan Mullen and everything he is, but we're a Nike school. I didn't have that opportunity when I was at Wisconsin, we were an Adidas school.
He also turned a specific question about offensive line recruiting into a semi-veiled view on troubled players getting kicked off teams:
...you recruit your own problems.
On kneeling the ball against Texas in last season's bowl game:
It was borderline erotic.
He also referenced Spurrier when asked if he was doing cartwheels after last year's record:
And from day one, Coach Spurrier has been awesome to my wife and I at every event we went to. I think you guys tend to play things up that you want to make headlines. I will say this. I'll respect my elders at all points.
He would also go on to say that he put Arkansas' offensive linemen on the cover of the media guide because "it's the only group that I feel good taking a picture with."
There was also some football talk hidden in the press conference too. Bielema seems very proud of his upperclassmen who have preserved through tough times, and built a team that's on the cusp of a great season. He singled out the players he brought to Hoover—running back Jonathon Williams, receiver Keon Hatcher, and quarterback Brandon Allen—as players who have improved every season. Those three skill players will also have the benefit of playing behind a Bielema-developed offensive line.
Arkansas' defense appears to be the team's mystery this preseason. A defense that lost Trey Flowers, Darius Philon, and Martrell Spaight will have to compete against strong SEC West offenses week-to-week. Bielema said that the defensive line will be a strength, and the Hogs' simplified scheme makes preparation easier.
If SEC West champions were determined by which coach gives the best press conference, Arkansas' defense wouldn't be a concern at all.