Bielema Will Take Hogs to Mountain Top, Eventually - The Arkansas Traveler: Sports

Bielema Will Take Hogs to Mountain Top, Eventually

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Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 8:00 am

Head football coach Bret Bielema has said since day one in Fayetteville that he came to the Southeastern Conference to win big.

But after a lackluster start to his tenure last season, which saw the first winless conference season in program history, the popular opinion on Bielema is that bringing Arkansas back to national prominence is too much of an uphill battle.

The doubters are stacking up on the former three-time Big 10 champion and his staff by the day, and success is the only way to bring the hate to a halt, and he knows it.

As season two begins, Bielema has done little but rave about the improvement of his team compared to his first fall camp — so much so that he somewhat guaranteed he would take the Razorbacks “to the top of the mountain,” whether it be sooner or later.

Bielema said he didn’t know when he would take the Hogs to the top, but he certainly said he would.

While Razorback fans may appreciate the man in charge being so confident in the direction of his program, the task of taking Arkansas to the top of the toughest and best conference in college football is stiff at best.

Given the dominance displayed in the SEC West alone, if the Razorbacks can make it out of their own division, you would be hard pressed to deny that they deserve to be on the mountain top.

Bielema is building the Arkansas program the right way, starting on the inside by assembling a great set of assistant coaches and eliminating nearly all off-the-field issues.

Bielema has brought in new defensive coordinator Robb Smith to replace Chris Ash, who left for a similar job on the Ohio State defensive coaching staff, and Clay Jennings to replace Taver Johnson as the Razorbacks defensive backs coach.

And as far as the low number of off-the-field issues, only one player has been arrested on his watch, and it happened more than 500 days ago.

This is a refreshing change considering the troubles Arkansas experienced in the final two years Bobby Petrino roamed the sidelines in Fayetteville (12 arrests or citations in 26 months).

Although it may be difficult to see, things are looking up for the Razorback football program. Director of Athletics Jeff Long has instilled his trust in Bielema to get things done his way.

Given time, Arkansas could turn in to a Wisconsin-style program, one that was, and still is, a perennial winner, large in part to Bielema.

No one said the journey to the top of the mountain would be a smooth one, but once the Razorbacks make it, the struggles of the program will make success even sweeter.

Arkansas will get there, eventually.


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