October 25, 2014

Winning Attributes

I made myself a list a while back of what I would be looking for and the type of football coach that I thought the Razorbacks needed for success.

After doing so, I immediately became depressed.  None of the candidates being floated around fit my criteria. The notion that a Bret Bielema of Wisconsin even existed, much less would come into play, never crossed my mind.

Here’s my list of the attributes I think the Razorbacks need for success:

  • Play hard-nosed football.  Play rough and dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
  • Big emphasis on the linebacker and safety position.  Build your defense around them.
  • Strong “smashmouth” running game.  Attack downhill, set up play action.  Be the toughest SOBs on the field in the fourth quarter.
  • Patient approach to the game.  Be willing to let your defense and special teams take care of business and let the game come to the offense.
  • Effective, versatile, opportunistic passing game.  With the quarterback as a player…not just a bus driver.  Be able to pass effectively both when you want to, and when you need to.
  • A coach that demands attention to detail and commitment to excellence in every play.  Don’t beat yourself with poor decisions and costly penalties.

No, I wasn’t looking for a throwback to the days of Houston Dale Nutt.  He refused to coach quarterbacks as anything other than “bus drivers.”  Even if he hadn’t refused, I’m not certain he knew how to coach them anyway.

I certainly wasn’t looking for someone that figured they would just outscore the other team.  That might get you to 9-3, but it will not get you consistently past Alabama or LSU.  Unless Bobby Petrino changed his ways, he was never going to beat both Alabama and LSU in the same year.

Think about it…the best teams in the nation this year all exhibit the attributes I’ve listed above: Alabama, Notre Dame, Stanford, LSU, even Ohio State.  Petersen, Patterson, Chip Kelly and Briles and such will have games of brilliance and outscore just about everyone they play.  But they struggle when they play teams with the attributes above.

Some fans say recruiting will be an issue.  I don’t think so.  Some say this will be “boring.”  I don’t think so.

Winning is never boring.  I think we got us a winner.

  • Carolina Hog

    Well written. Winning is not boring. Coming off the train wreck that has been the last 8 months, I don’t believe you could have done better. Only time will tell if BB can win at Ark. but for now it feels damn good to have a stabilizing force over the program. You can already feel the settling impact of this hire. I also think you have to give Long credit for setting up this hire by his conduct over the last year. In contrast to our past AD, he’s not a meddler and he treats employees with respect. He could have fired JLS after the Monroe game, but that would have sent a message to prospective coaches that the AD will throw your butt under the bus. Long didn’t do that. He made a decision to hire Smith and he owned it all the way, no matter how painful it was to watch. Thanks God the last year is over. Go Hogs!

    • Defense Wins Championships

      Yes. Go Hogs! Go!

  • Andrew

    Only problem, if you can call it that, is bielema doesn’t build a d around the lb and safety, for him both sides of the ball are built around the line of scrimmage. Something like “I see a football team kind of like a house. When you build a house, you don’t start at the second story, you start with the foundation, which has always been the offensive and defensive line on my teams.” Personally I think that’s a plus…

    • Hogblogger

      Note that first bullet was about the line of scrimmage.

  • hogfaninva2010

    He will be good i think. He may not have ties to the south but bunch of coaches in the sec right now didnt when they took over. All i worry about is this silly fan base not giving him to to build back up to his style. The cupboard is not bare but it will take a year or to.

    • Defense Wins Championships

      We do have a small cadre of vocal nuts that have no idea how to play the game (if they can even see through their red eyes) and the media looking for any controversy apparently feeds into it. Drunk thinking is nuts. They appear to get their wisdom per-packaged in a bottle.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    Very good article. I agree with most of your post. What you said we needed is absolutely correct. Teams as you outlined are able to have success in the red zone. It helps little if you can whip your opponent between just the 20 yard lines if you want to win championships. I believe that Bielema will succeed as no other coach has succeeded in recruiting the talent needed at UofA. It is in his DNA. His honest approach is refreshing. His obvious empathy for his players will pay dividends. He just needs time to put it into place. As someone said if a coach can convince players from South Florida to come into the freeze zone he can expand that greatly where he is now located. I like a coach who cares whether his players do well in the class room. To not care, as our former b-coach said he did not care, is an uncaring wrong attitude and those coaches have no place in a responsible university. To have a dominating defense is the key to putting all of the pieces of the puzzle back together again. A team who can defense, and run the ball will do well inside the red zone. Opening holes for great backs such as Tenpenny is very exciting. I see this coach taking his team to uncommon places in the SEC. To have Cam Newton or Manziel is rare and that is indeed what AU coach needs. When our coach pulls off a great run in he SEC in putting a solid, dependable team on the field, his next stop may be to “right” the Cowboy coaching ship. One never knows where they will be noticed and end up. Good people make things happen and it all starts with a person who knows who they themselves are. Attitudes will soar and that will make them shine! Attitude can sink you or make you soar! I see good attitude players as coming on he scene.

  • NewYorkHogFan

    I agree with the article. Bielema is more than I could have hoped for. If you look at the winners in the SEC, Miles and Saban, they are Big 10 coaches playing a Big 10 style of play with SEC talent. Muschamp at Florida knew he couldn’t beat the big boys consistently with a finnesse so this year Florida played a physical style and almost ran the table. The Spread is not used in the NFL for a reason. It doesn’t work if you have good athletes on the defensive side of the ball. Bielema had a good situation where he was. He is coming here because he wants to do more than win a conference championship.

  • razorsharp

    A proven coach that has a top tier winning percentage in a strong BCS conference. Three back-to-back conf championships. Bravo Razorback Nation. A a very solid hire. Stability—Develop—-Win.

  • Jm Dogg

    If Bieleman goes true to form, he will have obtaining an experienced QB at the top of his list. Either a JC or another team’s QB will be the ticket. Going into an SEC scheduale without an experienced QB is a recipe for disaster for the upcoming season. I suspect that Bielema has been mulling this over for some time and has been looking. Bielema also has the characteristic of seeing who will fit the best, even if it’s not his own choice like O’brien. Otherwise I’m thinking that Mitchell might have a leg up due to experience. Allen and maybe his brother are right to stay since a transfer will have only 1 or 2 years of eligibility and where else can they go? UCA already has a QB (wonder if Bielema has looked at him?). All this this talk about lineman, linebackers , defense etc. is for future recruiting but is meaningless without a QB to keep the defense off of the field. Arkansas has good talent at rb and recievers but it needs a driver. I noticed that the Jackson State QB, who was quite good, was a transfer from Akron. With Bo Wallace, Russel Wilson and, heck, Cam Newton as JV success stories I would be surprised if Bieleman didn’t go that route (I forgot Mallete was also a transfer). I wouldn’t be surprised that if he didn’t change QBs during the season if it wasn’t working out opening the door for B. Allen. (Why is no one commenting here or in the media on hte QB situation?).

    • Hawgfan100

      Because its a bit premature to assume Coach B won’t find an acceptable QB from amongst the several we already have on campus (or on the way)?

      • Jim Dogg

        You think that Bielema didn’t have QBs in the “que” when he went after Wilson and O’Brien? Or Petrino when he got Mallet? My supposition is based on Bielema’s previous moves. Right now I think that he feels he needs some experience and none of the “que” have much. If Bielama does not get another QB (and not a new recruit) I would interpret this as not much being available and he’ll live with what he has. I would agree that the system is important, especially getting TDs in the red zone, but Tyler still put up big numbers this year. Three things: The best system may not make a QB better if the supporting cast can’t hold up it’s end. And a system may not neccessarily fit the best abilities of the QB. Lastly, the QBs on board may not fit into Bielema’s system. I am thinking that Bielma might like a QB who can scramble given the performance of the Hogs offensive line this year and working in the future to get the kind of OL he likes for his running game. The one in the “Que” that best fits that right now is Mitchell.

        Now that both Petrino’s have landed, the assistants presumably have some place to go if they can’t get better accomadations. Since I like to throw things in the punch bowl, if Bielema gets a Juco QB with two years remaining, will B. Allen reconsider his decision to stay and go to WKU (or ASU) especially if his dad goes with Bobby. Just “speculatin”

        • Hawgfan100

          “Right now I think that he feels he needs some experience and none of the “que” have much.”

          “If Bielama does not get another QB (and not a new recruit) I would interpret this as not much being available and he’ll live with what he has.”

          And these are based on what? A supposed predilection on Bielema’s part? One that has yielded mixed results at best? Given they can run Petrino’s offense, why wouldn’t Allen or Mitchell be able to run Coach B’s system?

          The main issue confronting the Hogs in running Coach B’s preferred offense is the o-line, not the QBs.

          • JIm Dogg

            “A supposed predilection…” ? What? No supposed about it. Bielema went and got Wilson and O’Brien. Insofar as the OL is concerned maybe Beilema can produce a coaching surprise (miracle?) by doing something with the present OL. They couldn’t protect Wilson, what makes you think that they could protect an inexperienced Allen whose toughness is yet to be shown? I rather suspect that coaching and strategy were the main problems for the OL this year who underperformed. I don’t think that the OL will be helped by JUCO transfers, but as it has been shown (no supposed here) a QB can make a difference. Two good things: Bielema has said good thngs about the present personell and the D-coordinator he hired is a defensive backs coach – which was the Hogs most serious weakness.** In case you haven’t noticed it getting a transfer QB has become quite the thing in the NCAA. Ole Miss got three in the last few years, two under Nutt and one under Freeze. I think that experienced JUCOs and unhappy QBs with big schools are a hot commodity right now. But only time will tell it Bielema’s “supposed prediclections” will continue. More unexpected surprises in store such as the new assistant.

            By the way Hogblogger, for what’s worth (and some here would immediately disagree), I think your platitudes are all in the right place, but for a new coach coming in, I think that flexibilty in using players to their best abilities rather than trying to square the round holes to fit your own system is the best approach until he gets the players he wants in the future.

            **It might be assumed that this means Haynes might be gone. I would hope that Bieleman could figure a way to keep him, at least for the forseeable future. I was very impressed with the performance of the DL this year, which is Hayne’s forte.

          • Hawgfan100

            “Bielema went and got Wilson and O’Brien.”

            Right. Two QBs in the last two years. Yet, just based on that apparently, you suppose he’ll continue to do so (which he may; I don’t see any indication he will though. Needless to say, I’m not convinced by the “He’s done it before.” argument). And this despite the fact he has an incoming QB he recruited, to go with the five returning players the Hogs have at the position.

            *regarding all the comments made in your post on the OL*

            See comment in my last post on the OL.

            Hopefully a new approach with our existing line will yield some positive results where the running game and QB protection are concerned.

            Coach B will do what he thinks best of course but, should everyone show, he’s going to have seven QBs on the roster so he shouldn’t have to go outside the program for such.

            Bielema has already mentioned he’d be more than willing to be flexible with the roster he currently has. Yet another encouraging factor with this hire.

          • Jim Dogg

            Hawgfan you’re making me laugh. First of all, Bielema is going to make decisions on what he thinks will be best. If he can get an outstanding Juco, I think, based on the past two years he’ll do it. At the moment he knows nothing about the 7 QBs except from sparse game films and from high school at that. He’s waiting for his new OC to get on board and get his input and then we’ll have “indications” to give us an idea where this might be headed. I have seen regime changes in academia and it holds for coaching too. First comes cleaning house and this has already started, Petrino to Idaho and Haynes, presumably, to join his KSU buddy at Purdue (I am disappointed but it was hard to see Haynes staying). The second is that the head guy brings in his own men. Third, in the case of the QBs (lower personell changes) the only secure one I see is Mitchell who can still hang at receiver. That Bielema is bringing his own recruit is not a good sign for the others. There is a loyalty factor involved and and head guys don’t take this lightly because it would harm their credibility with other recruits, coaches, etc.** Everybody has an equal chance, it’s just that others have more equal chances. Best thing for the other QBs is he redshirts. I would expect that if Bielema can pull it off that he would like to have the QBs stick around since it would not hurt his (OC) situation to have more bodies and candidates around to choose from. I think that Coach Allen is aware of all this and he is mulling his kid’s chances under the new regime. If Allen stays then I think the Allen boys have a good shot. If not, well then… This may sound Darwinian but it’s how life works in many spheres, especially in sports, academia and the corporate world. We’ll see how this unfolds. I probably shouldn’t have brought this up since it would disturb some. But to imply that what I had said before was “supposition”…..

            **I am not a football coach but I have learned somehting about human nature. I always felt that one of HDN failings was hiring yes men based on their fielty rather than ability (happens all the time in the real world). It’s characteristic of managers who have deep insecruity about themselves and their job. The treatment by the assistants of Malzhan was an example to me of parroting the boss. Hopefully, Bielema is not in this mold.

          • Hawgfan100

            “Hawgfan you’re making me laugh.”

            Well, I wish I made you write more concisely (or at least use paragraphs ;^).

            “…I think, based on the past two years he’ll do it.”

            And he might but I give that possibility much less chance than that he’ll use someone already on roster (or soon to be, meaning a current recruit, not someone he goes shopping for).

            ” At the moment he knows nothing about the 7 QBs except from sparse game films and from high school at that.”

            I’d hope he’d also be able to get more info from the current staff’s film and evals.

            “That Bielema is bringing his own recruit is not a good sign for the others.”

            The ‘incoming recruit’ I referred to was a player Coach B recruited but who signed with us.

            Bielema should keep the existing players at the position as he’s typically kept such numbers on his roster throughout his career. I hope both Allen boys stay (Brandon has said he would regardless) as I believe they will both be very competitive and have a legit shot.

            “I probably shouldn’t have brought this up since it would disturb some.”

            The only thing ‘disturbing’ me is that you’ve presented your theory as fact, when its based only on a short, recent trend.

            “But to imply that what I had said before was “supposition”…..”

            I didn’t ‘imply’, stated it straight out. ;^) There is a trend for Coach B to go with a JUCO QB in preference to others on the roster and it certainly can come to pass. I just put much less trust in that than you do.

          • Jim Dogg

            First knock off the personal comments. One thing I have liked about this blog is that the contributors have disagreed, for the most part, without being insulting. Second I never, never said that Bielema going after a Juco for the Hogs was a fact. Please don’t put words in my mouth. Again, history (and history is all we have to go on) says the Coach B. will go after an experienced QB if one is available. I didn’t say he definately would or imply it was a theory. I’m a scientist and know something about theories (which are not laws). Theories are based on accumulated facts and assesed by probability (100% is a law). Here’s a theory for you: If a good JUCO or big time QB is available, some college coach will go after him. The fact that it’s happening all the time proves it to be a good theory with high predictablity. So what I have said (now lissen up) Bielema is a college football coach and therefore might get a transfer. Based on his past actions, that is a probability of sorts. You don’t think he will, fine. And I’m saying he might, fine. Time will tell.

          • Hawgfan100

            “First knock off the personal comments.”

            You mean like “Hawgfan you’re making me laugh.”?

            If you’re referring to this:

            “Well, I wish I made you write more concisely (or at least use paragraphs ;^).”

            I’d note you apparently missed the ‘winky smiley’ at the end. It was put there to convey a bit of lightheartedness. And you do need to write more concisely. As a scientist, I’d think you’d be well aware of that need.

            You can’t hack stuff like that, get off the blogs.

            “You don’t think he will, fine. And I’m saying he might, fine. Time will tell.”

            I think we can agree this is a good place to end things.

          • arkfaninmi

            It’s pretty difficult to find a good QB transfer (you won’t find very many cases where this normally works out very well) and we actually do have 2 qb’s with limited experience, so I would be surprised this happens. Not saying it won’t but not very likely and line issues on both sides (o-d) along with defense overall will be the areas of concentration. BTW, a player can transfer to a D 1 school if they wait a year and get 3-4 years of eligibility (depending if they’ve played a year already or not). They can also immediately transfer to a lower division school with their status intact. The 1-2 year transfer info stated above would only apply for jc players.

          • Hogblogger

            No argument on flexibility regarding existing players. I figure this is a 2-4 year deal before we really see his program in place in the trenches. Maybe quicker.

          • Hawgfan100

            Agreed. Hopefully Coaches B, C, P, and A can work some recruiting/developmental magic but I’m in for the haul, regardless.

    • Hogblogger

      I’m pretty sure we have enough quarterbacks in the queue to have one capable of playing decently next year. Coaching and system are the key. Which year was Tyler Wilson better? The one he played with no previous experience as a starter or the one after that when the coaching and system were compromised?

  • GolfHog

    I know a lot are happy with that analysis and, with our new coach. I am equally hopeful. You only get one chance to make a first impression and Bret has done that in a big way. Next we will see what a “staff second to none” looks like. And, then we will have signing day.

    As to your points, I would offer a bit of rebuttal. If you dominate the line of scrimmage and build around your linebackers and safeties, that pretty much sums it up. There is nothing left. Sure, we have played without much defense for 15 years now. I would love to see some too. Danny Ford was our last coach to recruit equally to that side of the ball.

    Once again, if you are dominating the line of scrimmage, I can’t see how you don’t run well. As far as patience and opportunistic passing, I would say that effective, versatile and opportunistic are the definition of good offense whether running or throwing. I don’t think that you have to control your opponent to have good offense. You have to keep him off balance by being creative and unexpected. I won’t even mention detail and excellence, that’s just good coaching.

    I think what we’ve seen for the last 15 years is and offensive approach to recruiting by both Dale and Bobby. Dale wanted to use attacking defense to offset the emphasis he placed on recruiting tailbacks and O-line men. Bobby’s slant was obvious. Personally, I would hope that rather than and “approach to the game” that BB would recruit equally to each position, and then put the best 22 players on the field in whatever scheme maximizes each of their talents. You start with a QB, the most important position on the field. And then, yes, linemen on each side. You move forward with character, speed, athleticism, and skill.

    Alabama, Texas, LSU, and other select, they don’t recruit. Arkansas must recruit and build a team. There is a difference.

    • Hogblogger

      Didn’t see a lot of rebuttal in this comment. Seemed like we were in agreement for the most part.

  • josh5679

    So anybody know if Knile is coming back???

    • Carolina Hog

      Pretty quiet on the Knile front. Hard to believe he’ll get encouraging feedback from NFL and I still believe he can get back to form, particularly in an offense the features him. I think he is a good kid. I hope he’s back.
      On another note, I sure am glad Petrino didn’t land in SEC. He will one day and I for one don’t want to have to deal with that. The man is a great coach!

    • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

      If I had to guess, I would say he’s gone. If you are going to learn a new offense and risk injury, you might as well get paid for it. Wish him the best.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    An inexperienced QB is a liability but we do not know what that would mean in a different offense and for a team with a great defense. It could be that one already there may blossom and as someone said there may be one out there that would want to come that could help immediately. Surely, under proper tutelage, an Allen or MItchell will blossom. I was disappointed that Mitchel did not blossom as he sure seemed to have the tools to learn and do well as a QB. Spring will be interesting. I feel sure that our coach has a good handle on what he needs…just having the time to build relationships is hard just commencing in almost the middle of December. That gives not even two months go get it going. I do not know if he has enough time between now and February signing date for 2013 but I am not concerned for the future. This man is going to surprise us when he gets rolling in recruiting. I am glad that most everyone is pleased with the hire. Oh yeah, there will always be some boo birds who do not have a clue when it comes to analysis.

  • Brian

    I agree wholeheartedly. Go Hawgs!