'He did a lot for us': Black had all-around special season
Anthony Black was overcome with emotion shortly after checking out of Arkansas’ …
University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema speaks with members of the media on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, inside the Fred W. Smith Center in Fayetteville on the results from National Signing Day.
Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema doesn't look anything like musician/actor Justin Timberlake, but he is doing his best to bring his version of sexy back.
At least that's his goal, and he is working hard to compete recruiting-wise against the flashy elite of college football.
He's up against programs such as Alabama and Oregon, which each have waterfalls in their locker rooms. Clemson has its slide and Texas has its high-tech lockers -- which include individual TVs -- that cost $10,500 each.
"I do know this, for certain kids, flash matters," Bielema said at last week's SEC Meetings in Destin, Fla. "I've said this in the past. We're not a real sexy program; sexiness is not our forte. But at Arkansas, we can be sexy. I think it's just a way of life now with today's kids where it does matter.
"We do it with video that is virtual reality, we do it with different things within our programs that we appeal to the flash factor."
Bielema described his team's sexiness last summer with this analogy at SEC Media Days: "We're just kind of a work in progress. We need a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready and come out and look great. But when we do, we'll stop time."
Bielema had a chance to see national champion Clemson's slide inside its football operations center last spring while meeting with Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
"I saw the slide first-hand when it was under construction," Bielema said. "I just started laughing and said, 'that's Dabo.' I think there is a little bit of that in everybody.
"It is more of a coaching personality than anything, and I know what he is doing with the flash factor and he is having fun with it."
New Texas coach Tom Herman put it plainly when he showed off the Longhorns' new lockers. He said, "from a facilities standpoint, there will be no reason for a recruit to want to go somewhere else."
Arkansas has been labeled "Running Back U" and "Tight End U" by different publications and recruits, but the real identity under Bielema has been "Offensive Line U."
The Razorbacks have already hosted one camp -- which resulted in three new commits -- and will have four more next week, including a June 18 camp specifically for offensive and defensive linemen.
"We are going to do a one-day camp called Trench Hogs where it will be just O-line and D-line, which has been huge for us," Bielema said. "Lots of people invite the pretty and skinny; we invite the big and heavy.
"I will be having several of my NFL players coming back to work the camp as guests, including Sebastian Tretola, Travis Swanson and Trey Flowers with his Super Bowl ring, and Robert Thomas as well. Those guys are big draws for us."
Bielema is making sure recruits not only know how many offensive linemen he has had drafted from Wisconsin and Arkansas, but how many of them actually play.
"I will show the number of offensive linemen that we have had drafted against their school and what they are doing in the NFL," Bielema said. "Are they playing in games, are they starting, are they out of the league in two years? Our guys go and play."
Bielema is proud of how his pro-style offense gets offensive linemen ready for the NFL better than spread offenses. He said the numbers are interesting from the last draft where "normally, there are 18 to 20 in the first three rounds," but this year, only seven offensive linemen were drafted.
"The de-emphasis on the run game and how linemen play the game offensively, it is really changing the pool that is going up to that next level," he said. "We are going to continue and market that because it helps us out down the road."
Sports on 06/08/2017
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.