Evin Demirel: Bret Bielema Admits to Cheating


But only when it comes to sausage  

Visit Evin's Author PageBret Bielema says it like it is: When the wife’s away, he’s straight up gonna cheat.

He recently confessed this on  The Jim Rome Show, a national sports show out of Los Angeles. Mind you, right after saying “When the wife’s not around I tend to cheat a little bit,” Bielema immediately added “Just on food, just on food.”

The Razorback head football coach means this literally, and in no way kinkily.

When wife Jen Bielema’s at home, Bielema tends toward the healthy side of the gustatory breakfast spectrum with sun-dried tomato bagels with a kiss of garlic cream cheese, But when she’s gone? Oh, it’s on — sausage and egg biscuit burrito-style.

This is the kind of food fueling Bielema’s wide-ranging conversations with Rome about the state of the Hogs midway through spring football practice. They touched on differences between the Allen brothers, how major college football players should and shouldn’t resemble Stepford wives and Bielema’s most beloved form of dietary decadence.

Below are lighted edited excerpts from portions of the interview:

Rome: You did a mini reality show called being Bret Bielema which I thought was really interesting. One of the things you said in that is that you’re coaching one-hundred-twenty kids who come from all different backgrounds, all different rules growing up and the biggest challenge is to get them to all think alike. What do you mean by that and how do you go out doing something like that?

Bielema : It’s something I really believed even going back to my days as a player. The teams that I was involved in, the success that we had was a lot when the guys all kind of thought the same way.

I want independent thinkers, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to brainwash anybody, but for us to have success here at Arkansas in the SEC West in particular we’re never going to have the most talented roster. We’re not going to have the most five stars or four stars. We’re going to have a roster that enjoys the game.

They’ve got to play physical. They got to be smart. We don’t want any pre-snap or post-snap whistles or flags. We got to play the game in a way that we can recruit a certain type of kid to believe in it, and sometimes if a kid doesn’t believe in being on time, it takes a long time for them to get that habit broke. If a kid doesn’t have a family nucleus that he can rely on and love and be a part of it’s hard for him to accept that type of philosophy. So we recruit a certain way to get them to all kind of buy into it when they get here is no easy task especially into today’s world with social media and independence and being able to kind of have their own thoughts individually. It’s a very unique task.

Rome: If they don’t think the way you need them to think by the time they get on campus is it already too late to deprogram them?

Bielema: I think, Rome, in certain areas one of the things I’ve literally left a kid sitting in his living room if they don’t respect. Everybody talks about respecting your elders, but I think even in today’s world it gets down to the person that’s raised you… I tell coaches look out for social issues with women. Like if he disrespects women at that time in his life wait till he’s on his own on campus. It’s just a ticking time bomb. So maybe if a kid curses his mother or says something that you shouldn’t say in front of your mom, that’s a red flag for us. Hey let’s get out of this thing before it’s too late.

One of the things that I said on that show too is as coaches sometimes we lose a little bit of reality. You go after this player you see on film or what you read about or what you believe in your own mind, and you forget to really look at what kind of person you’re bringing…

… We have the five edges of Arkansas, and one of them is to play clean and live clean. It’s just something we really preach here. It’s paid off. We actually led the SEC this year in all SEC academic football players with forty. The next best was in our league with Alabama with thirty-two. When I got here it was below twenty. So we’re really doing things I think on and off the field that make you feel good.

Rome: Brandon Allen finished up his run as a three year starter quarterback. So you’ve got an opening there. You’re no stranger to that from your time at Wisconsin, but it will be the first time you’ve had to deal with it at Arkansas. How’s that going and how do you see that shaking out?

Bielema : We got four guys in a little battle royale. We have actually a freshman that could come in and add the mix as well. We got Cole Kelley is an incoming freshman that’s 6’7″ 258 from Lafayette, Louisiana. I like him, but the two guys on campus kind of rising to the challenge so far have been Brandon Allen’s little brother Austin. Shouldn’t call him little brother. He’s bigger than his brother, but he’s really had a nice five practices so far and so has Rafe Peavey.

Rafe’s a redshirt sophomore who’s come in, throws a very accurate ball, has been good on the move. Then we’ve got two [redshirt] freshman Ty Storey and then a transfer from USC in Ricky Town who’s done a nice job as well. It’s a working process but it’s been a lot of fun to see them. They literally grow right in front of us every day.

Rome: Well, Austin’s got some pretty big shoes to fill. How does he compare to his brother?

Bielema : They are completely different personalities. BA  was kind of more of a laid back very respectful, very competitive, but Austin’s kind of a fiery guy. He’s the youngest son. He probably got picked on way to much. Got a lot of built up anger,  in the most appropriate way, but a real fiery kid. I think the teammates, if he ends up being the guy, they’ll rally around him in a heartbeat.

Rome: You’re also a big eggnog latte guy, and in fact you want to see that available all year round. Make that case for me. Why should that be available twelve months out of the year instead of just a couple of months?

Bielema: I don’t know if there’s an eggnog police we’re not aware of or what, but it just kills me. Around Thanksgiving… they bless us with eggnog, but then middle of January early February they take it away. I don’t know if it’s stored somewhere by the government or what, but there’s something out there. We’ve got to discover it. I personally would do an eggnog store 24/7, 365. I think we’d have a little business.

Rome: I think you’re right though. It’s a slippery slope because if you do then that Pumpkin Spice Nation’s coming for you. It makes me think, Bret, a lot of big time coaches seem to really not want to let their personality out. Not let people in. You’re comfortable with yourself and with doing that. Why do you think you do and others won’t?

Bielema  I just know how to be me. We challenge our players every day, just be the good you. I don’t need you to be somebody you’re not. The only person you need to be is yourself, and I kind of hold that true to myself, the way I carry myself. Not afraid that if you got an opinion that’s nothing wrong with voicing it. I think you get people that rubbed the wrong way at times, but I’d much rather go through life knowing that I expressed myself, and if I feel strongly about something I’m really going to express it.

I don’t want to speak for others. Everybody has their own way of doing it, but I have enjoyed my time with that show. I think our university wanted to let other people know what kind of person I was and especially when you don’t win many games you’ve got to have some avenue to build a little bit of media hype around it — but we won seven, won eight the last two years and I think we’re getting closer to having success here. Hopefully it will come a little bit quicker than later.

Rome: You beat Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. You won seven of your last nine last year. Head football coach at Arkansas, Bret Bielema, leader of the Hog Nation and the Nog nation. Bret, Go Hogs.

Bielema : Appreciate it. Woo pig.

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Read more about Razorback football, including a long-forgotten, pre-Broylesian time when it took a backseat to Hog basketball, by visiting BestOfArkansassports.com.



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