Bret Bielema's rule for all ball-carriers

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday September 25, 2013


In recent weeks, there have been a number of players who had dropped the ball short of the goal line when going in for a touchdown.

Bret Bielema doesn’t have to worry about that with his Razorbacks, as he has a rule that any player with the ball must hand it to the official.

Bielema joined College Football Daily for his weekly segment on ESPNU, when it was pointed out that freshman running back Alex Collins has handed the ball to the official after every touch.

“It’s a learned behavior,” Bielema said. “We didn’t start that way, but it’s something we talk about every time. For instance, there’s a lot of debate after the Arizona State-Wisconsin game. One of the officials made the point to me that, if you are down, if they would have just handed the ball to official, the clock would have been able to function in a proper way.

“One of the things we’ve always talked to our players about is, no matter who is touching the ball, running back, defensive player after an interception, make sure you hand the ball to the official so you put the ball in the right hands of the people that are going to make the game work. Alex obviously is a work in progress. A great young man that has better day in front of him. The more he can butter up the officials, the better the game will go.”

It was probably coincidental that Bielema referenced the finish to Wisconsin-Arizona State game, but given Jen Bielema upset Badger fans with a “#karma” tweet after the game, that must have been a little awkward, though Bielema did call the finish a “heartbreak” earlier in the interview.

Wisconsin's Gary Andersen has already defended his quarterback, who kneeled and placed the ball on the ground, rather than handing it to the officials. 

Speaking of the Badgers, Bielema's former team, they face Ohio State this weekend, and perhaps no coach has riled up Buckeye fans recently more than Bielema. Earlier this week, Urban Meyer was asked if he missed Bielema at all. The two had exchanged in some off-hand remarks about recruiting in the past. Meyer responded that he’s good with Andersen (a former colleague), and told reporters to have a great day.

Bielema’s response?

“I heard about it. The feeling’s mutual.”

Chris Vannini is in his third year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for The Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris lives in the Metro Detroit area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.