Bret Bielema: 'That's the No. 1 thing plaguing our program right now'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday October 15, 2013
Bret Bielema has never quite had to deal with this as a head coach.
At Wisconsin, he took over a program with a culture of winning and positivity. At Arkansas, he took over a program on its third coach in three years and coming off a 4-8 season.
When things go wrong, they're spiraling out of control. Arkansas has lost four in a row after starting 3-0. One bad plays turns into bad series, and Bielema is trying to figure out how to break out of the cycle.
“One of the things we have to escape, just overall, it’s kind of blowing me away that there’s a blowup of a situation,” he said. “It’s the same team that has done pretty positive things. The going’s getting a little bit tough, and our guys revert back to that. It’s something you have to get out of your system. Unfortunately, it’s nothing you can do in practice, that woe is me, that feeling sorry for yourself when things go bad.
“It’s nowhere in a championship team. It’s nowhere to be found in anybody that has had success. We had an interception. The next four trips are three-and-outs. There’s only one guy that threw the pick. There’s only one guy that the (defender) jumped in front of. How it affects the other nine guys so negatively is beyond me. It’s something we talk about.
“Last week, that was our No. 1 emphasis, adversity. When adversity strikes, you don’t try to fight it alone. You fight it together. That’s the part we’ve got to rally around. Everybody’s got to step up a little bit better, starting with me as a head coach and all of our assistants. That’s the No. 1 thing plaguing our program right now.”
The negativity isn’t just from the players. Bielema shared a story of some fans in the offseason that expected bad things to come, out of Bielema’s control, and the coach didn’t like that.
“The one thing I shared with the guys on Sunday that was apparent to me: Everywhere I went, from January to the time we arrived, I went around to different events. Everybody was very positive, but then there would be four or five guys at every event, women or men, that would say, ‘Coach, we know what you’re getting into. We feel sorry for you,’” Bielema said. “And I’m pissed. That’s nothing I’ve seen. I didn’t look at film from the past. I didn’t want to know what I saw or didn’t see. I formed an opinion off what I saw every day.
"That’s what I got upset with and shared with the guys on Sunday. That was something I’d never seen before. I don’t know why or how it came about. But it did, and it can’t be repeated. You have to take it as a personal mission to do that. I was a young assistant with Coach (Kirk) Ferentz when he came into Iowa. We were 1-10 the first year and 3-8 the next year. Then things began to turn. I, by no means, want to subscribe to that thinking, but we’ve definitely got to get out of it, especially at certain positions.”
Arkansas plays at No. 1 Alabama this Saturday, so the Razorbacks will likely face some more adversity.