Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema on the Jim Rome Show said today his time in the SEC so far had been “awesome and a little bit of whirlwind, but the people have been fantastic – most importantly our kids [players].”
He said the scars the players earned last year were things that could be used to propel the team through tougher times in the future and “make those good times come that much faster.”
Rome asked about the transition for himself and his players.
Bielema said he told the players, “The greatest thing we have going forward now is – it’s just us. We don’t have to worry about what other people say or do. Just concentrate on us.”
He called it good news that others doubt the team’s ability to succeed.
“We know where we’re going and no one else thinks we’re going to get there, except for the people in our room,” Bielema said. “And our kids are very, very excited.”
Bielema told Rome his team features almost 20 seniors.
“Twenty seniors that are ready to leave a legacy of greatness,” Bielema said. “They don’t want to leave behind what they left behind a year ago. And that, for me, is really exciting.”
Rome asked if those players were slow to trust after what happened last year.
“I think the exact opposite,” Bielema replied. “I kind of thought the same thing coming in, but these kids, what they had been subject to, you know, for no reason they brought upon themselves. You know, they were just going through a normal spring and then obviously the whole [Bobby] Petrino situation came about, and then with John L. [Smith] and the bumps in the road they hit. It wasn’t anything on their doing. Obviously they played the games. They were just looking for hope.”
The audio of Bret Bielema on the Jim Rome Show is below.