(photo:Julie Bennett, al.com)
For some strange reason, Arkansas coach, Bret Bielema seems to have a problem with Auburn or is it with Gus Malzahn? Shortly after coming to Fayetteville, he fired off a verbal attack on the Hurry- Up-No-Huddle Offense in the SEC’s spring meeting.
He followed up that barrage in June by submitting a proposal to the NCAA to change the rules to give the defense 15-second substitution periods after each first down – even if the offense didn’t substitute.
When the press asked Malzahn for his reaction to the proposal the next month at SEC Media Days, Gus said, “To tell you the truth, when I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke.” Later, Bielema fired back in his usual pugnacious way, “I’m not a comedian.” Of course the press fanned the sparks of that “comedian” comment into a fire that engulfed the national media.
During the week before the 2013 Auburn -Arkansas game, Bret made more charges against Auburn when he implied to the press that Auburn was trying to be unethical when he received game tapes that left off a special goal line play of a two point conversion alignment.
His ostensible complaint really was of no significance since the play in question had been used in every Auburn game during the season. It was just another Bielema brouhaha. In fact it was Bielema who actually was guilty of breaking SEC rules in going public with his charges. The league rules say that if coaches question the validity of game film provided by opponents, they must report their issues to the SEC and “must not” share them with the public. But it appears the man who had been on the NCAA rules committee had no problem breaking rules.
Then the biggest controversy was created last month when he and Nick Saban took it upon themselves to get on a plane and fly to Indianapolis to address the NCAA Rules Committee in a clandestine and polemic move to get the NCAA to pass a rule slowing down the HUNH offense.
Now comes this week, when Bret told the media that his team is using the Razorback’s spring practice (again) to prepare for their game next fall with Auburn. Of course as the Hog’s head man, he has every right to use spring practice any way he chooses. But it just goes to further underscore his obsession with Auburn and Gus Malzahn.
While controversy seems to follow him (including publically leveling charges against Ohio State when he was in the Big 10), his obsession with defeating Gus has been taken to another level.
It appears that Bieliema is so intimidated by Malzahn, that defeating Gus is his number one obsession. Webster defines obsession as, “The pursuit of a favorite project or idea relentlessly and unceasingly; to be obsessed with a single person, notion, or scheme.”
Yes Bielema is obsessed, he has made it abundantly clear that handicapping Malzahn’s offense with a rule change or defeating Auburn has been a top priority since he joined the SEC. He has chosen to measure himself by slowing down or defeating Malzahn, as his yardstick for success.
Some coaches measure themselves a different way. Some want to have a winning record, some want to go to a bowl game, some want to compete for championships and then there are some, like Bielema, who want to outdo one coach. That folks, is an obsession.
Tags: arkansas football, Arkansas spring practice, AubTigerman, Auburn blogs, Auburn Football, bret bielema, Gus Malzahn, saban rule, sec blogs, slowing down the HUNH, Track 'em Tigers