Students Respond to Hire Out of Left Field
Yesterday afternoon, UA students learned of the hire of Wisconsin head coach as the new Razorback head coach.
Students, though surprised, were pleased with the idea of Bret Bielema becoming the next coach at Arkansas.
“It’s as good of a hire as we could get,” sophomore Forest Holmes said.
Several students pointed to Bielema’s success in the Big Ten and believe that it will carry over to the Southeastern Conference.
After a season full of rumors, Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy seemingly emerged as frontrunners for the job, so Bielema’s hiring came as a surprise to students.
“We had Petersen, Gundy, and at one point Les Miles was a potential contender,” junior Samuel McLelland. “It was a surprise, but that’s Jeff Long’s style, to keep everything hushed up.”
With a new coach inevitably comes a new offensive system. Bielema had a run-oriented offense at Wisconsin, and UA students are torn as to how it will work at Arkansas. McLelland believes it will revive memories of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
“It’s our traditional run game that we’re looking for and that we’ve seen at Arkansas before,” McLelland said. “It will bring back a familiar style of Arkansas football.”
However, senior Joey Taylor is concerned.
“It’s kind of like what LSU and Alabama have been doing, but I think that’s a lot harder to do at Arkansas with the type of players we get here,” Taylor said.
Students are also excited about the fact that he taken Wisconsin to three consecutive Rose Bowls.
“(Fans) overthink it sometimes,” junior Daniel Sultemeier said. “The guy is a winner.”
McLelland is not convinced that the BCS appearances are a sure sign that success will follow at Arkansas, because each conference is limited to only two teams, sometimes meaning the best teams don’t get in the BCS games.
“A lot of people are throwing around the fact that he’s been to three Rose Bowls, and that’s something I just don’t know about,” McLelland said. “The SEC usually knocks each other out of potential BCS bowls.”
A history of coaches starting in the Big Ten before coming to SEC also excites Sultemeier.
“I see (Alabama’s Nick) Saban came from the Big Ten. Les Miles came from the Big Ten originally,” Sultemeir said. “People say we need a high-octane offensive guy; Bobby (Petrino) could do that, but we weren’t going to find a Bobby.”
Ultimately, fans are glad the search is over and that Arkansas hired a coach with a winning record.
“I think we got a winner,” Sultemeier said. “I think he’s going to be an awesome coach and he’s going to be here a long time.”