Category Archives: Bert… uh… Bret Bielema

Bert goes big.

“Global opportunities”, eh?  On the surface that sounds like some Steve Patterson to Dubai-quality rebranding, but dig a little deeper“Primarily he is looking at Bahamas and perhaps locations in Europe.” –  and it’s more like he wants to work on his tan and get Mrs. Bert a shot at some quality shopping time.

If you’ve got a recruiting budget, flaunt it, baby.


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Six degrees of Bert

It turns out that the idea of aggressively pursuing satellite camping didn’t spring unbidden from the mind of Jim Harbaugh like some sort of college football Athena.  Nah, there was a lot of begettin’ before he got started.

No one voting on the ban apparently thought of the potential consequences for recruits if Group of Five coaches weren’t allowed to work Power 5 camps—something both groups want—so it would not be the least bit shocking if the ban gets tossed. The leagues that want a ban would then be asked to go back and write a more carefully worded rule.

If that happens, the coaches who were planning satellite camps will probably reinstate those plans. That includes Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who planned to have coaches work camps at Florida International, Rutgers and a few other schools. The Razorbacks also had preliminary plans to hold a camp at Cowboys Stadium. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an Arkansas alumnus. “I was shocked by [the ruling] the other day,” Bielema told Jack Arute and me Friday on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation. “We were ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I was kind of in favor of them.”

Bielema also provided a little backstory for how the satellite camp issue has evolved. If you’ve been reading this space, you already know the first Power 5 staff to think of teaming with a lower-level school in a recruit-rich state was Oklahoma State’s, which partnered with Division III power Mary Hardin-Baylor to work camps in Texas. It was Bielema who took brochures from those camps to the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., a few years ago to let conference coaches know about the practice. (Given Arkansas’s location, Bielema’s intent was likely to convince the SEC to change its rule so Razorbacks coaches could fan out.) At the time, James Franklin was the coach at Vanderbilt. The next year, he had moved to Penn State. Franklin’s Nittany Lions staff began working camps in Georgia and Florida. When Jim Harbaugh arrived at Michigan, he saw what the Penn State coaches were doing and decided to build on it.

And here we are.



Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

Don’t cry for me, Fayetteville.

Eh, forget about hauling his offensive linemen over to Sam Pittman’s house to try to convince Pittman not to leave for Athens.  Bert’s in a better place now.

… it’s well-known that coach Bret Bielema was not happy when offensive line coach Sam Pittman decided to bolt and join Kirby Smart at Georgia in December. Bielema was so upset that he took a number of his offensive lineman over to Pittman’s house in an effort to get him to stay.

But now Bielema is singing the praises of Kurt Anderson, his new offensive line coach, who has spent the past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In fact, Bielema told me that he expects even better things from his offensive line under Anderson.

Within the quote, you’ll see a little dig at Pittman.

“I really went hard after Kurt,” Bielema said. “I felt our offensive line underperformed in some big games. We need to take a step up when it comes to technique. You hire NFL guys who can help you take guys from their weaknesses to their strength.

“We want them to play well against all levels of competition.”

Mmmmmmm, those sour grapes are mighty tasty.


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The best laid plans of mice and Bert

Curses, foiled again!

Nah, that makes no sense to me, either.  But I give him credit for asking.


UPDATE:  The NCAA explains why it’s on the mother.

“There won’t be any coaches here,” said Chris Howard, NCAA director of enforcement for football development.

Whether Bielema and Dantonio were serious or not, their tweets Wednesday prompted Howard to contact and remind them this is a quiet period in recruiting, when coaches are not allowed to visit a prospect’s school. So no opposing coaches are allowed at IMG Academy, home to many FBS draft prospects and the site of Michigan’s weeklong spring practice session.

The NCAA allows practice at a high school facility as long as the school pays rent to use it. Elizabeth Heinrich, Michigan senior associate athletic director for compliance, said the school worked through the NCAA to provide the expenses for practice.

So as long as you pay the high school, it’s okay to be there – but if you’re there for free, it’s not.

If you think that sounds like it comes straight out of the “when is a bagel a snack and when is it a meal?” rulebook, you’re not alone.


Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Recruiting, The NCAA

Go, Bert, go.

He may be a dick, but in this case, that’s probably a plus.

Needless to say, you shouldn’t make promises you don’t intend to keep, but if he indeed shows up, that would be freaking awesome.


UPDATE:  Somebody wants to join the party.


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Meet the SEC’s Mr. Popularity.

Bert’s gonna Bert, people.

This year’s SEC Media Days are shaping up to be a real hoot.


UPDATE:  In the flesh…


UPDATE #2:  And now we enter “Bert, you’re fulla shit” territory.



Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Recruiting, SEC Football

Hell hath no fury like a Bert scorned.

Bert’s not taking rejection well.

Bielema addressed the media Saturday about Pittman’s departure.

“There’s news coming out of here. Sam Pittman’s going to leave us. Sam’s had a great three years with us. A lot of positive things,” Bielema said. “But when somebody’s got something in their mind they want to do, it doesn’t really matter what the situation is. It’s something they decide upon and we wish Sam the best in his new decision and everything moving forward.”

Bielema, who was addressing the media so his coordinators and coaches wouldn’t have to, said he first got word from Pittman on Friday that another coach may be calling.

“It’s something that Sam and I talked about yesterday. He notified me at noon that I might get a call from a coach. I got a call. The talks continued and obviously last night I had a conversation with him and he informed me he was gonna leave and that’s where it’s at,” Bielema said.

The Arkansas offensive line is the biggest in all of football — college or pro. The veteran line was featured on this year’s football media guide and paved the way for a running game that eclipsed the 200-yard rushing plateau in six of eight SEC games this season. Running back Alex Collins rushed for 1,000 yards this season — joining former Razorback Darren McFadden and Georgia great Herschel Walker as the only running backs in SEC mark to reach 1,000 in each of their first three seasons.

“The one thing I’ve created during my time at Wisconsin, and especially here, is the notoriety of the offensive line,” Bielema said. “This is a prestigious program to have an offensive line coach. I began to hear from people as early as 3 a.m. this morning and I’m pretty sure my phone’s blowing up right now.”

Bielema wouldn’t compare his transition from Wisconsin to Arkansas the same as Pittman moving from the SEC West to the SEC East.

“One of the things I wanted to learn in my transition, and I can’t sit here and throw stones and act like it hasn’t happened. I left the University of Wisconsin. I left a different conference, a different region to take on an opportunity I wanted to take on,” Bielema said. “This one took place within the conference and I just wanted Sam to address the linemen as to why this is happening. I felt like the last thing he needed to do. He didn’t want to do that so I just took them to him.”

Bielema said the meeting was emotional, but that’s not uncommon for young men in college football.

“When you deal with 19-, 20- and 21-year-old kids, they’re going to be emotional. Some were mad, some were sad, and then sad then mad. It’s a part of the job no one wants to talk about. And Sam, the way he recruits and the way that he handles people, this matter had been very personal,” Bielema said.

“He made a business decision, and he kept repeating to me that’s what it was, and obviously that’s his choice and his choice only.”

Ah, yes, the ol’ bidness decision.  How could Pittman bite the hand that fed him?  Bert made Sam Pittman, by Gawd.  No, really.

Bielema said Pittman is a much sharper offensive line coach because he spent time at Arkansas, making him a hotter commodity than when he first came to The Hill.

“Sam’s great, I’ve enjoyed my time with him, but you know I’ve helped his career quite a bit,” Bielema said. “He wasn’t really a resound offensive line guru until we got things rolling here.”

Really?  Okay, then.  Thanks, Bert.


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