Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Bielema appearing on ESPN
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema (left) shares a laugh with ESPN anchor Chris Fowler on Tuesday at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
FAYETTEVILLE - Watch for Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema today on the national media front.
The first-year Razorbacks coach will be involved in second day of ESPN’s Car Wash at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with other SEC coaches, on the heels of last week’s SEC media days in Hoover, Ala.
Bielema is slated to do several taped interviews and is tentatively scheduled to be on Sports Center at 11:40 a.m. and on The Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio at 12:15 p.m.
Bielema, a member of the NCAA rules committee, inserted himself square in the middle of the discussion about the merits of the hurryup offense while in Hoover, and that topic is certain to be broached at ESPN.
He’s a man
Speaking of the hurryup conversation, Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy, another advocate of the up-tempo offense, pitched in strong comments about the debate Monday at Big 12 media days.
“It would be a huge mistake for somebody to be convinced that that would have in any form or fashion or reason to cause any injury,” Gundy said.
“We’re spread out. We’re throwing it around and catching it. There’s not as many collisions compared to people putting everybody together tight and ramming everybody up in there and being a pile. So I certainly don’t agree with that. I think it’s great for college football.”
Last week at SEC media days, Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema brought up the notion that studies should be conducted to see if the risk for injury is greater when teams run at faster paces, increasing the number of plays per game.
Gundy said up-tempo and spread offenses have helped create parity in college football and assisted in finding ways for players who aren’t as fast or strong as average players at their positions to contribute.
“I think it’s tremendous for college football,” Gundy said of up-tempo offenses.
Arkansas players will report Aug. 4 and their first practice is scheduled for the following day. Viewing policies for fans or members of the media have not been established yet, said Zack Higbee, Arkansas assistant athletic director for media relations.
Arkansas opens the season at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Arkansas football coaches moved into their offices in the $35 million Fred Smith Football Center on Monday.
First-year Coach Bret Bielema, who will be appearing on ESPN in Bristol, Conn., much of today, should be able to enjoy his first full day in his new office, room 245, on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks players toured the new facility last Friday and, judging from their responses on social media, they were impressed.
“This new facility is unreal!!!” center Travis Swanson posted on Twitter.
Freshman offensive lineman Reeve Koehler wrote on Twitter, “Biggest lockers in football,” and Bielema followed with a picture of Koehler sitting in his locker with the remark, “If he [Koehler] fits in a locker … It is a big one!”
Bret Bielema’s appearance at SEC media days came the day after a fire in his hometown of Prophetstown, Ill., destroyed 8 buildings, wiping out 5 businesses and damaging several homes.
“When you’ve only got 2,000 people, there’s not a lot of buildings,” Bielema said.
“It wiped out quite a few.
I appreciate all the people reaching out to me over the last couple of days. It means a lot to me. I can’t wait to help support my hometown in any way possible.”
A 16-year-old boy and his 12-year-old half-brother were charged as juveniles with felony arson and criminal damage to property for the fire.
Nobody was injured.
In this world
First-year cornerback Carroll Washington said this summer that fullback Kiero Small did a clever impersonation of a phrase often used by Coach Bret Bielema, but Small claimed at SEC media days that he didn’t really do an imitation.
“I don’t have any imitations, but I know he’s always saying, ‘In the world of college football,’ ” Small said, grinning. “He might have said it in here a few times. But he says, ‘In the world of college football,’ and that’s his world. It’s like you saying, ‘In the world of media,’ it’s what you focus on. That’s what he focuses on.”
For the record, Bielema did drop at least a couple of “In the world of college football” references during his media days stint.
Who would have thought 24 years ago that Bret Bielema and Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops would become first-year SEC coaches together this year?
Bielema and Stoops were teammates for the University of Iowa team in 1989, which was Stoops’ final year as a Hawkeyes defensive back and Bielema’s first season as a walk-on defensive lineman.
Arkansas’ Fan Day is set for Aug. 18, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Walton Arena in Fayetteville. The meet and greet session with the football team will be followed by the volleyball team’s open intrasquad scrimmage at Barnhill Coliseum.
Sports, Pages 17 on 07/23/2013