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July 17, 2013

Bielema ready to surprise

HOOVER | First-year University of Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema quickly let the world know he's not a comedian.

In response to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn saying that the notion no-huddle hurry-up offenses cause more injuries is a joke, Bielema cracked wise, "I'm not a comedian."

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Bielema, who prefers a physical running game, then went into why he thinks the no-huddle hurry-up offense could lead to more injuries.

"When I go into a recruit's home I tell the parents that I will take care of their child," Bielema said. "Whether it's game day, conditioning, practice, if I don't do everything I can to protect a player in all those environments then I've lied to the parents.

"All I know is that that offense both on offense and on defense, you're on the field for an extended amount of time without a break. You're not the same player in play five as you were play one. It's not a joke to me. As players become more tired they become more vulnerable to injury. Look, if teams want to play hurry-up, no-huddle, I'll play it. But that doesn't mean I won't try to protect my players. And by the way, I do think I'm funny at times."

One of the first things Bielema wanted to establish with the Razorbacks is ball security, something he was known for at Wisconsin.

"If a guy puts the ball on the ground for us he doesn't even have to look. He knows to take off running," Bielema said. "If you can't protect the ball you won't play in our offense."

He said he appreciates that not much is expected from Arkansas this season.

"The lower, the better," Bielema said. "Our kids are carrying around a tremendous chip on their shoulders. We've got some players you haven't even heard of coming at you. I went through the same thing at Wisconsin in terms of expectations. All I know is that I excel when very little is expected of us."

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.


Deal ends 08.31.13


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