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Bielema: Angry Arkansas Ready For Turnaround
Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema told a sold-out Razorback Kickoff Luncheon crowd that his team was going to play angry this season.
After all, that's what happens when you go 3-9. lose the last nine games and have a chance to think about it every day.
“One thing we should be able to do is play, very, very angry about what happened a year ago,” Bielema said. “Our kids show it on a daily basis.”
Bielema stressed he knew that this season's Razorback would be better because they have improved as both individuals and as a team heading into the Aug. 30th opener at Auburn.
“The number one reason we will be better this year as a football team than we were a year ago is because of this room,” Bielema said. “Because the 105 guys you saw walk through the back of this room. Everyone of them is physically and mentally better than they were a year ago. Case-by-case. There is not one guy that has regressed.
“We have added a couple of freshmen – some of them have a tremendous amount of talent, but the thing that I love is those upperclassmen are showing them the way in so many areas. There is going to be their own unique self, they are going to represent themselves personally, but they have a way of carrying themselves that they have inherited around our guys and that probably gets us more excited than anything.”
He wasn't ready to throw out a number of games he expects to win.
“I have no idea the amount of wins and losses that will equate to, but I know at the end of the day that I can hold my chin high and they can, too, about the way they have conducted their business,” Bielema said. “We are building something and I hope to get to that plateau sooner than later. We will not disrespect the past, we will honor the future in every way possible, but the thing I appreciate the most is the support everywhere we go. This room is an example of it.
“You are sitting at a table with two players or more of guys who believe in their heart and soul,” Bielema said. “Believe me if someone doesn't believe in the things that we are preaching, if they don't follow the values that we are trying to get across, they won't be here.
“Because I know if you have one guy pulling in the opposite direction of all of the others, you will never get to where you need to be,” Bielema added. “With that being said, during the course of this fall, it has probably been one of the more enjoyable three weeks of camp that I have ever been associated with.”
Arkansas had a mock game Friday afternoon to end up camp.
Bielema touched on the differences he sees in his team on offense and defense.
“I think with the defense, you are going to see a defense that is a lot more aggressive,” Bielema said. “I don't mean aggressive by the number of blitzes that are called. I am talking the way they play. They are communicating very well before the snap, they understand their formations, they know what they are suppose to do and they are playing very, very angry.
“Offensively, just the improvement of what we are asking them to do,” Bielema added. “How to call a play, how to change things at the line of scrimmage. How to communicate to other teammates, how they execute once the ball is snapped. How to try and avoid anything before the snap that will cause us to have failure.”
Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Jeff Long thanked Bielema during the luncheon for making football fun again.”
"I am more convinced now than I was when I hired him that Bret Bielema is the man for the job," Long said. "He has made football fun again for our student-athletes, for my staff and for me and I thank him for that.”
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