HOOVER, Ala. — This was the second straight day that they saved the best for last at the SEC Football Media Days.
During a long program that included six coaches, four of them new — one being Kentucky’s Mark Stoops — Arkansas’ Bret Bielema was the most entertaining to the eyes and ears.
The former Wisconsin head coach was funny, sarcastic and full of energy.
“He’s outspoken,” said Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith. “He means what he says.”
He joked that SEC Media Days were like nothing he had experienced because of the “engaging” media, then called out a media member who was sleeping on the front row.
He got fired up when a media member told him that new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn remarked that he thought coaches, such as Bielema and Nick Saban, who have said up-tempo offenses cause injuries were “joking.”
“I’m not a comedian,” Bielema said.
His complaint with such offenses is the lack of substitutions on both sides of the ball. Of course, Bielema doesn’t run an uptempo offense. His Wisconsin attacks were more of the meat-and-potatoes variety that feature punishing running backs.
When informed that the pre-season magazines were picking Arkansas at or near the bottom of the SEC West and that the media here was likely to follow suit, Bielema cracked, “The lower the better.”
Also, besides not being a comedian, Bielema said, “I’m not an actor” and “I’m not a scientist.”
I don’t know if Bielema will be successful in Fayetteville, but he should make the league more fun.
(Trivia note: Bielema played at Iowa for Hayden Fry from 1989-92. Stoops played at Iowa for Hayden Fry from 1986-88.)