Bret Bielema, coordinators on Alabama, Auburn

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema talks to a referee during a 41-9 loss at Alabama Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema talks to a referee during a 41-9 loss at Alabama Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

— Follow along as Bret Bielema, Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads discuss the Alabama loss and the Auburn matchup.

Bret Bielema

— Austin Allen is continuing to improve. Took him Saturday because he could add some things. Already had him on the travel roster before they knew he for sure wouldn't play. Cole Kelley got all the first-team reps last week. "There is a chance by the end of the week" he could play. Jack Lindsey was the third-game quarterback.

— Johnny Gibson surprised people by being able to play, but wasn't 100 percent. Should be good this week. Jeremy Patton got his ankle rolled up during an inside drill and was in a boot Saturday. Limited today and tomorrow, but should be good by Saturday.

— Lot of opportunities they could do better on. Some positives: young WRs making plays, a QB not flinching. Have to do a better job supporting him. "I do think he's an infectious player." Defense put together good plays after the first run. Stayed pretty balanced until the end of the half.

— Liked how tempo worked on offense. Cole thrived in it. Big play by Jordan Jones. Would've been huge if they'd scored before half or after the interception.

— Guys have responded well, no one questions their fight. Were in this position a few years ago at 2-4 and responded well.

— Scoota Harris continues to play well. Kamren Curl has been "incredibly awesome." T.J. Smith and Briston Guidry played well. Sosa Agim has been impressive with a staple in his knee.

— Four of five WRs were first-year players. RBs were mostly first-year guys because Devwah Whaley was a back-up. Other freshmen and young guys. Will go with people who give them the best chance to win.

— Alabama can make anyone look silly with the right calls, but there were some positives with the line. Had success when Cole was able to step up in the pocket. Have to turn 3-4 yard runs into 8-yarders.

— Lot of guys on the roster who've been recruited by Auburn.

— Anytime there's a wholesale defensive change, you have to live through some things. Lot of guys have gotten better, but there are still some adjustments they're going through up front. Henre' Toliver and Dwayne Eugene are playing as good as they've played. Randy Ramsey had an ankle injury and was limited Saturday. Dre Greenlaw has been hot and cold. Good athletically but has to play within the system.

— Jarrett Stidham throws the ball well. Kerryon Johnson is explosive. Their DL is full of big, athletic cats. Lot of respect for their defensive coaches.

— If Allen could practice Thursday, there's merit to that. "Where we're at now, I'd say he's still probably a couple weeks away."

— Daniel Carlson is good in every facet. Seems like he's been there forever.

— Greenlaw overran the first play with the emotions. Any play that's a cutback behind the backside linebacker is a big play. Couple pass plays hurt.

— Brought a little pressure and liked the way the defense responded.

— So few seniors at the team meal. Overwhelming how many guys are juniors, sophomores and freshmen.

— Don't change expectations with Kelley.

— Everyone that's been in a position with injuries, you preach next-man in mentality. If someone goes down during a preseason scrimmage, make a point how the new person plays. Goes around the room and asks guys how they got their first opportunity and 9 times out of 10 it's because of injury. Tries to drive that home.

— Bob Stoops stopped by after last year.

— Lindsey was impressive in the spring and scrimmages. Transitioned well from Fayetteville to Springdale. Always knows where the ball is going. Incredibly heady player. Family has a long-storied tradition.

— Going back to the spring, they've had a tempo system in place for Allen they've practiced. Had it ready every game and were able to capitalize with Cole. Excited about how they handled it, but will still use a huddle system.

— Colton Jackson at left guard with Ragnow back at center is a lineup they like as well.

— Would've had 3 of first 4 at home if Texas A&M wasn't neutral. Auburn works well.

— Players never gave up. Not that they gave up at South Carolina, but the 21 points were hard. They know there were a lot of little things that could've made Bama a two-score game. Things can change fast like they did when they started 2-4 and could've won 8 or 9.

— Was afraid Cole was going to get a penalty on the final play of the half, so he ran over. Was much taller than the ref. Cole ran into Sosa in the two-minute drill and they were talking trash. Can't put a price tag on how competitive he is. It's contagious. Can rally behind him.

— Challenging for the 3 seconds was positive. Told refs before the game they wouldn't sub on offense some and Alabama was allowed to sub.

— Agim cut his leg 3-4 weeks ago. Did it during the course of a game. Was almost healed going into Bama. Got re-stapled in the locker room. Biggest concern is infection.

Dan Enos

— Cole handled the environment well, communicated well and made plays. When you play a defense of that caliber, there are going to be mistakes, but they can clean it up and he played well.

— Liked his poise and competitive nature. Stood in there and made some tight window throws. Made mostly good decisions.

— Thought the OL was overmatched. Didn't have anything to do with the changes, but Alabama's defensive front played more physical and clearly won the battle up front.

— Auburn is very, very comparable to Alabama. Not many people run effectively on them. Running depends on moving people and playing on their side of the line.

— Communication with Cole on the sideline during the game showed his poise. Was communicating clearly what he was seeing. Was making good decisions. That defense will make you have bad plays. They're fast, physical and complicated. Cole responded and handled those things as well as any freshman in his first start would. Made some tremendous plays. Had the ball inside their 5 on 3 drives and a lot of that was him. There's a lot to build on.

— When you're recruited a QB, they have to check the boxes physically. The intangibles and mental side, competitiveness is the No. 1 thing he looks for in a recruit. Cole competed to win the game every play.

— Lot of teaching moments for Kelley. There was no one there on the interception. The intentional grounding. Take what they give you on a few first downs. You don't get any of those experiences from a meeting room or practice.

— Thinks up-tempo is good for Cole. Had that in the system since he's been there. Pick-and-choose when to use it. Bielema has a lot to do with when and if they use it. It'll be week to week, game to game. Some weeks the flow is good and you don't need it. Can help if they need to pick it up. Allowed Kelley to just play the next play. He likes to have the ball in his hands anyway. Responded well to that.

— Brandon Martin played well. He got himself involved by a good week of practice, earned trust that he was going to run the right route. Having catches builds trust. Can create mismatches with his size. Has good ball skills.

— Auburn's defensive front is similar to Bama. They play 3-4 but get into 4-down looks and have a complex blitz package. Mix up coverages. Ton of respect for coach Steele.

— They all signed up for playing tough lines each week. South Carolina's DL was better than he thought it was going in. Never goes into an SEC game thinking it's a week off. It's a physical league.

— Everything starts with going 1-0. Can't win 6 of 7 (like a few years ago) without going 1-0. Preparation has to take care of it. One day at a time.

— Alabama did a good job on Nance. Dropped a ball early but he didn't create a lot of separation for himself at times. Other guys did.

— Kelley going to the ref after the last play goes back to what they look for in recruits. Thought the guy got grabbed and held, wanted to voice his opinion. You love the feistiness and competitiveness. Rather have it that way than the other.

— Senses the team has confidence in Kelley. Felt that in fall camp and the spring, too. Real likeable guy, good personality. Guys respect his work ethic and ability. Has relationships with guys on both sides of the ball. Will laugh at himself and joke around.

— Austin was great on the sideline. Great input and suggestions. Was a calming presence for Cole.

Paul Rhoads

— Horrible start. Nobody scripts that one. One of the keys was to maintain poise and they did that after the start. Answered the punt and forced a FG. Gave up another TD and then played well until the final drive of the half. Same thing was true in the second half at times. When the outcome was already in hand, they let off the gas and you never want to do that. Too many points and yards. Gave it up against an outstanding football team.

— First-down efficiency was key in the good stretches. Allowed them to execute their third-down gameplan.

— Brought more pressure in this game, especially on third down. Was positive. Brought some 4 and 5-man stunts on first and second down that were productive.

— Faced Auburn for 2 years and have been thoroughly impressed with their offense. Very unique. The motions and shifts are extremely high, so you have to be able to adjust. They force 11 kids to think and respond, which Arkansas tries to minimize with the 3-4. It's about the number of guys who's eyes remain the same.

— Have to have a specific plan for Kerryon Johnson in the Wildcat. Alabama and Auburn force you to add to preparation time.

— Always had confidence in pressures they've brought. Quarterback run game hurt them.

— Johnson is big, fast, elusive and hard to tackle. Just faced as good a group of them as they'll face but he could step in and play Alabama.

— Loved his time in Auburn. Great people who are football crazy.

— Completely different offense for Stidham at Baylor and Auburn. See a higher level of execution as the season moves on. Gifted thrower who can execute in the run game. Executes their deceptiveness well. Tough competitor.

— Gave so much attention to poise as a key to victory and there was a great chance there'd be adversity. Didn't expect it to be the first play of the game, but had to react. Tried to show a high amount of enthusiasm after the three-and-out stop following the punt miscue. Even after the next drive, there were positives. There were some long faces, but kids did a better job of responding.

— Kids haven't flinched. Preparation has been exceptional. Effort on the field in mental and physical preparation has been the highest it's been the last 2 games. Lowest total of loafs ever the last two Tuesdays and Wednesdays. No doubts it'll be the same way this week.

— Reid Miller brings an attitude of hard work and determination. He and Ryder Lucas are playing the highest numbers of special teams snaps and they embrace that role. Prepares to play defensive snaps and has graded out well when he's been in, he's ready and in the plan, but he knows his role is on special teams.

— Studies more defensive innovation than offensive stuff.

— Kevin Richardson played his tail off. Was a productive player. Because he's not big and throws his body around... Thought he played his best game of the season. Very happy for him. Sore but ready to go. His interception was an un-pickable ball. He shouldn't have been at an angle to be able to intercept that. Ball was a little underthrown and he made a great effort. He plays with that kind of effort on the practice field.


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