Hey Bret, this is a trophy.
Hey Bret, this is a trophy.

According to Hootens.com, an Arkansas fan site, University of Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema told the Saline County Razorback Club in Benton, Arkansas that he came to Arkansas not to play Alabama, but to “beat Alabama.”

Tough talk for a man coming into a program that hasn’t seen victory over the Tide since 2006. The czar of a team that last year looked more like a club team during Alabama’s 52-0 squashing of the hogs than an actual college football program.

But the rub came when he compared his tenure at Wisconsin (68-24 in seven years) to Saban’s five-year stint at Michigan State (34-24-1).

“You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and he can’t compare,” Bielema said.

Lots of things happen when coaches take the microphone in front of the home crowd. There’s a lot of “yeah, yeah-ing” that takes place. Lots of politicking, lots of campaigning. And under the influence of fandom inebriation, facing a crowd wearing plastic pigs on their heads, ole Bret was probably feeling 10 feet tall and six feet thick.

You can bet Bret Enema’s words didn’t faze Saban at all; Bret’s just the latest coach to try and ride Saban’s coat tails, reaching for credibility with a fanbase by pledging relief from Crimson dominance, though saying it and doing it are two very different things.

Two more trophies Bret has yet to win.
Two more trophies Bret will never win.

But ole Bret learned a lesson the hard way on his honeymoon in piggieville. We’ll call it the Mike Price rule:

This is the SEC. Everything you do and say will be noticed/heard, amplified and held against you in the crazed court of fandom opinion.

While Bielema’s antics are a far cry from “waking up with Destiny,” perhaps they were a wake up call for the coach, and tugging on Superman’s cape when you’ll be going into his house in a few months isn’t advised.

In January of this year Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin also suffered a little from diarhea of the mouth syndrome when he referred to Saban at “Nicky Satan” while speaking at a sports banquet in Macon, GA. He later offered an apology, saying he was referring to Saban’s work ethic, and that Vandy was going to outwork he and Alabama. Riiiight.

Little Bret did a little crawfishing of his own, tweeting:

Bielema tweet

But all the coach has done…a coach who’s yet to prove he can win a game in the SEC…was prove one thing: Alabama is on his mind…and in his head.

Which is exactly what Nick Saban set out to do on January 4, 2007. It’s why he owns college football at the moment. The real game takes place in meeting rooms and on practice fields before a team ever takes the field against Alabama.

Comments like Bielema’s, Franklin’s, and others who have popped off while safely out of arm’s reach simply prove Saban’s prophetic words from his opening day presser have rung true time and again:

“What I would like for every football team to do that we play is to sit there and say, ‘I hate playing against these guys. I hate playing them. Their effort, their toughness, relentless resiliency, go out every play and focus, play the next day, compete for 60 minutes in the game, I can’t handle that.’”

Alabama has long been that team…results, not talk, in Tuscaloosa have built massive college football equity. Which is why Nick Saban’s mouth doesn’t have to write checks he later won’t be able to cash.

(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

13 thoughts on “Bret Bielema the latest to try to ride Nick Saban’s coat tails”

  1. I loved Coach Saban’s answer to Burt Enema’s antics. ” I really don’t have a response to that.” Let’s give Burt 2-3 years in the SEC and compare those records. Burt was known as a crybaby in the Big10.

  2. Actually, what Bielema said was undeniably true. His winning percentage in the Big 10 was much better than Saban’s. If you refute this, grab a calculator and see for yourself.

    If you prefer “results” to “talk,” then wait until results are posted before you talk. Don’t “controversialize” an issue that isn’t controversial at all, but in fact, mathematically provable.

    If this article is more of an Ode to CoachSpeak (the non-controversial rubric all coaches are pressured to observe for fear of upsetting fanbases and potentially losing their jobs) then that’s fine. Just respect the fact that CoachSpeak is remarkably boring. I much prefer where this article grants some license to the effectiveness of HomerTalk.

    1. It’s not that he pointed out a winning percentage or Big 10 win/loss record of when Saban coached in that pitiful, do nothing league close to 15 years ago.

      It’s that he had the gall to compare himself, even in jest, to a four-time National Champion head coach who currently owns the landscape of college football…doing so before so much as getting a first down in the SEC.

      Look, Mark H. this is the off-season, and anything stupid like this will be blown to proportions that Bret Enema has never imagined. He needs to learn that, and possibly needs to learn how to stop the run and protect his quarterback by October 19th.

      1. No, ITK, he didn’t compare himself to a four-time National Champion. You’re wrong about that. He compared himself to another coach in a “do nothing league.” That’s the point. You’re ignoring the context of his statement and making this into a controversial issue… unnecessarily.

        But on the bright side, Nick Saban is a fine coach, and I applaud your passion and Homerism.

        1. Apples and oranges Mark. Burt took over a Wisconson team that was 19-6 the previous two years under Alvarez. His best year was his 1st with the strength left by him.It was all downhill from there. Saban took over a MSU team that was only 11-12 the previous two years under Perles. His best year there was his last. Burt was only 4-7 vs OSU and Michigan. Saban was 4-4. Really a lame comparison from ol’ Burt..

        2. I guess you’ll be ready to applaud the efforts of the coach that follows Saban at Alabama. What bamabino said is completely true. Bret Enema took over a program in great shape, unlike Saban at Michigan State.

          But then, that clouds the little point you were trying to make, and that’s not as fun. Dang the truth is so inconvenient sometimes, eh Mark?

  3. I love this stuff. I love it. It’s all talk, but it’s not boring, either. If we’re lucky, Bielema will be the Steve Spurrier of the SEC West.

    Arkansas. I remember actually starting to fear them. I liked the way they played football under Petrino, especially in the few seasons leading up to before he was fired. They were a very good SEC football team with strong fundamentals, big-hitting linemen, and some daring quarterbacks.

    It never panned out, I guess, and Alabama always seems to get in their way early in the season, but my whole thing is can Bielema do better than Petrino? Petrino was crazy. He was a blast to watch. I can’t remember him ever saying anything like this, though. It seems like the people who say things like this are the ones who earn a C+ or a B- in the SEC—–good teams but not great teams. Kiffin called out Urban Meyer, and actually beat him, but then called him out again while getting on his plane to So. Cal. Bielema is calling out a win against Alabama.

    Hopefully that means they’re watching Alabama game tape (there’s a lot of it, especially in hi-def slow-motion replays of the last two BCS National Championship games), which means at least they’ll be trying to prepare to play real, hard, fundamental football, kinda like Petrino was doing most of the time. I’m looking forward to Bielema at Arkansas. I just hope he doesn’t shut up just because people listen.

    I hope he runs his mouth some more. It always seems to fuel some fire in the players, and especially when it gets to Scott Cochran in the weight room.

    A-Day, here we come. What channel is Arkansas’ spring practice game on this year? Roll Tide.

    1. Junior, Lane Kiffin never beat Urban Meyer. You must be mistaking Meyer for Spurrier. Kiffin actually beat the Old Ball Coach.

  4. The only question is who will be processed next, Bielema, Jones, or Gusbus? Record is not good for coaches whose mouth writes check their butt can’t cash.

    1. I guess this public display of disrespect will cost an extra 14 point gut shot before the clock elimination game plan kicks in(probably sometime late 3rd to early 4th quarter)

  5. Like was stated, Alabama and Nick Saban do their talking on the playing field and the scoreboard
    Nick never makes any statements about what Alabama is _going to do, unlike other coaches in the SEC and FBS overall.
    You should beat Alabama first before you run your mouth and even then you have to worry about your next meeting.
    An aside: Only Fox Sports reported that ‘Alabama beats Texas A&M, _barely’. Alabama would have beaten A&M if the score had to be 100 to 99.
    I never have liked Fox Sports and these new channels offer nothing I’m interested in. I’ll stick with ESPN and the internet for my sports information.
    There’s something inherently wrong with Fox from the ownership down to their broadcasters in any venue (not just sports).

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