Arkansas starts spring camp on March 10 with a lot of excitement around Bret Bielema. 5NEWS sat down with coach one-on-one to talk about it and how the team is adjusting to him as a new coach.
"I think the mentality there is growing by a daily basis. The part that I have really enjoyed is they have been open eyes open ears open arms to coaching and what the things we've tried to preach to them. And to have 20 seniors coming in that are hungry, that speaks volumes about where this program can go. So hopefully a group of those guys are ready to take a big step."
Q: Transitions are hardly ever easy. You mentioned 20 plus seniors. What's going to be the hardest part of having success immediately?
"I think it's just trying to get all the sums of all the parts to work together. You can have five great players on offense, six that are average and if they don't work together you're not going to have a chance. So it's connecting all the dots. it's being able to cross the T's and dot the I's that gets you into a position to have success. If you try to force it or try to fake it and put it in a way that doesn't become natural it's really going to become an issue. Fortunately for us it's been great so far."
Q: If you haven't noticed yet this fan base loves this team. And sometimes they are going to be unrealistic initially. What would you say to the fan base that wants to be unrealistic initially?
"Hey go ahead. I want the same thing. I didn't come here to be great in three years. I expect to have success. What the success is is dependent upon what we can do from this point forward. I think high expectations are great expectations.
Q: The biggest question you've probably gotten is 'How were you able to win so much at Wisconsin when everyone argued Ohio State Michigan Penn State all had better talent than you?'
"Talent only gets you so far. It's how you use that talent. I think the thing that our kids believed in there was it's still 11 on 11. It didn't matter the scenario. It didn't matter who we were playing. We've set our sights on the best and we didn't come to finish in the last half. We didn't come here to finish second. We came here to finish first.
Q: You expect greatness. You've made that clear. But what would be the definition of a successful season regardless of number and stats and records this year?
"I think it people are as excited going into year two as they were year one we've had success. That goes for our players, our coaches, everybody. If you get better every day and become more consistent with who you are and are able to show up every day and be the good you, now you're making progress. Bottom line you are going to play better football in year four than year one.
Q: People see you as a run heavy offense. What they don't realize is the last two years Bobby Petrino was here your offenses in those years statistically were better. What's the misconception of your offense?
"People enjoy sexiness. Just like everybody else in this world they captivated by the good-looking. But what I think you have to do is be captivated by results. We believe our formula for success, if we can balance the run game and throwing game that you're going to move the chains and you're going to have more success over a longer period of time, more consistently that will allow you to have success as a team as a champion and as a fan base.