Bielema Preparing for 23rd Game Against Ranked Opponent in Arkansas Tenure
Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema (Photo: USATSI)
The longest week of the season, the bye-week, is now behind us and the 21st ranked Auburn Tigers will return to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday to face the 17th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas is coming off of a win at home against Ole Miss this past Saturday, 34-30. The score was close for a majority of the game. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly rushed 17 yards with 9:00 remaining in the final quarter to give the Rebels the 30-27 lead. However, Arkansas scored the decisive touchdown with 2:20 remaining, when wide receiver Jared Cornelius capped off 10 play, 56-yard drive when he scored from 6 yards out. On Monday, Head Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Bret Bielema, spoke to the media about the Ole Miss win, as well a previewed the Auburn game. It is no secret that Bielema is not a fan of the “hurry up, no huddle” offense that teams like Auburn possess, stating that it is a player safety issue. In 2013, he proposed a “15-second substitution period” following every play that resulted in a first down. Coaches such as Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn have been targets of Bielema’s rants on no-huddle offenses in the past, so the no-huddle offense will be a point of emphasis this week. In Saturday’s win over Ole Miss, Bielema stated that he felt that his defense had issues all night with lining up opposite the Rebels hurry-up style of play. Bielema was complimentary of Auburn on Monday in other aspects, by saying that Auburn will be a “tremendous task”, especially with their defense. Even though the Razorbacks just picked up a key conference win last Saturday night, this will be the 23rd time in 46 games as Head Coach that Bielema will face a ranked opponent. He wants to make sure that his players are focused on the task ahead. “If we worry about anyone else other than Auburn, we’re going to be in trouble.” Fall break is this week at the University of Arkansas, so Coach Bielema and his players will take advantage of the opportunity, by practicing an extra day. “We get an extra day out on the field with them. That’s a really good thing because they (Auburn) are a very talented football team.” Bielema said of his Auburn prep. “Their defense is playing at a high level right now. They are taking advantage of some really good players and putting them in good positions, and their offense is starting to hum over the last few games. We have a tremendous task ahead of us.” Offensively, one player that stands out to Bielema, is a player that he recruited, quarterback Sean White. “He is a key to the change,” Bielema said of White. “He is very even keeled. He has a great demeanor. I think he leads the SEC in completion percentage, and that does not happen by chance. They (Auburn) puts him in good positions, and he makes accurate throws.” Bielema credits Auburn’s receivers for staying on the same page as White, and that Auburn’s run game compliments the offense very well. All-in-all, Bielema is aware of how much of a challenge that Auburn’s offense brings to the table. In other news, Arkansas defensive back De’Andre Coley will not start against Auburn, due to a targeting call that he received during last week’s win over Ole Miss. He will sit out the first half.