Bret Bielema has built the Razorbacks into a tough out in the SEC West in his four seasons as head coach, and he let loose on a number of subjects on the third day of SEC Media Days. He began the proceedings by discussing the issue of player discipline by noting that "You don't have to ask me if I'm going to suspend anybody for our first game. That doesn't come up in our program," and later added that "I learned a valuable lesson from Coach Frye: 'You recruit your own problems'," which is ironic since the team had a player arrested last August.
Later on, Bielema put his two cents in on Michigan bowing out of a home-and-home with Arkansas, stating "I know that Michigan-Notre Dame sounds sexy to everyone, but to me, Michigan-Arkansas sounds sexy." Arkansas also had the notion of putting TCU on the schedule prior to conference play, per the head coach.
But there was no doubt what the highlight was for Bielema on SEC Media Day:
Bret: "At Arkansas, we’re not built very sexy. We need a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) July 13, 2016
The defending national champions made their appearance on SEC Media Day, but what made headlines was the exchange between Nick Saban and Paul Finebaum regarding the Cam Robinson situation. Finebaum, disappointed that the media didn't ask a single question about Robinson's arrest, asked the coach about it and Saban passionately defended his player, and things allegedly got heated during commercial break between the two.
In actual football news, Saban talked a little bit about the challenges of running a more up-tempo offense despite not having a coach on the staff with a background in that scheme: "... even though we may not philosophically agree that this is the way football was meant to be played or should be played, if it creates issues for the other team and for the defense... then we need to use those things, too, or we're creating a disadvantage for ourselves."
The coach didn't dish out any new information regarding the quarterback position, and there likely won't be new info until fall camp arrives.
The teams of the SEC West weren't the only ones making waves on Wednesday as it was announced that Mizzou AD Mack Rhodes took the same position at Baylor just moments before head coach Barry Odom took the podium. Deputy AD Wren Baker has been tabbed as they interim AD, in a bizarre situation that doesn't reflect very well on the athletic department.
Linebacker Michael Scherer expressed his thoughts on the situation on Wednesday:
Missouri LB Michael Scherer: "Do we have any sort of leadership (at top of Mizzou administration)? We have interim guys. Well, that's good."— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) July 13, 2016
With all this turmoil surrounding the program, it's easy to forget that the Tigers have recently won two SEC East titles before falling to 5-7 last season and time will tell whether the team can return to form under Odom.
Rounding out the day on a more lighthearted tone was Mark Stoops' Wildcats, as the coach and his players were very candid on where they are as a program, as well as other assorted topics. The idea that was echoed by all of them was the culture change that's taking place at UK, with Stoops saying that it's "easier to change a climate than a culture" and "anyone who thought a coach could come to Kentucky and have a steady climb in three years with no obstacles is delusional".
Stoops also talked a bit about how his staff is still working on bringing some decommitted recruits to Lexington for this season and said that junior college linebacker Jordan Bonner won't be on campus until August, which will hamper his development for the time being. As far as on-the-field news, Stoops was raving about his secondary, stating that they were "future superstars" and was excited about having stability at quarterback with Drew Barker at the helm.
But the best piece of wisdom came from offensive lineman Jon Toft on what Kentucky needs to do to win the SEC East:
When asked who Kentucky needs to beat to win the SEC East, Kentucky's Jon Toth said "all of them."— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 13, 2016
He's not wrong.