Doing more with less talent is something Arkansas fans were used to with Bobby Petrino for the last five years. With Bret Bielema, none of that will change. It could actually get better. In the last two years no coach has put more talent in the NFL than Bret Bielema. Alabama and Oklahoma were the next two schools behind Wisconsin.
You hear it all the time. Some coaches have an eye for talent and can make kids who weren’t that great in high school into All-Americans. But Bret Bielema has proven it at Wisconsin the last seven years. He has coached 16 All-Americans.
“There are so many five star players that never make the field and so many no star players that end up being All-Americans,” said Bielema. “It's about the people you recruit and the emphasis you put on making a great evaluation and putting the kids in the right position at the right time.”
It’s also about building a strong, physical football team that can dominate the line of scrimmage like Alabama and LSU do.
“We put a priority on the people who are going to play up front,” said Bielema. “I refer to building a program similar to building a house. You don't start building at the second floor. You start at the foundation and that foundation is always going to be the offensive and defensive line play.”
One recruit who’s not a lineman Bielema has contacted is North Little Rock’s Altee Tenpenny, the best player in the state according to rankings. He’s committed to Alabama.
Then there are the kids already committed to Arkansas. Austin Allen, Brooks Ellis and Alex Brignoni all will sign with the Hogs out of Fayetteville High School. They are eager to talk to the new coach and are hoping his staff will think as highly of them as the last staff did.
“It would just be nice if he believes in me,” said the safety Brignoni. “He has seen my tape and if he tells me he believes in me and thinks I'm a good player that would definitely help my confidence and trust in him that he can make me a great player.”
“Just reassuring me my scholarship is good,” said the linebacker Ellis. “I think he reviewed my tape and letting me know that he likes me and likes me as a linebacker and that early on I'll have a chance to play.”
“Just getting to know him, the basic building blocks of forming a relationship,” said the quarterback Allen. “Just knowing he’s here to win a National Championship and developing his players and getting them all the tool sets to become a great citizen in life. Getting to know him is what I'm looking forward to.”
The recruits will get that chance this Saturday. Allen, Ellis and Brignoni all visit with Bielema Saturday on campus.