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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema’s job may be in jeopardy, but he said in his weekly news conference Monday he has no remorse or regrets about his five-year tenure with the Razorbacks. - Photo by Benjamin Krain

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema reflected for a moment at his weekly news conference Monday when asked whether he's given any thought to the idea Friday's game against Missouri could be his last at Arkansas.

"There's just little moments, you know, that you realize those things," Bielema said. "I know that none of it is regret, none of it is remorse, none of it is second-guessing.

"It's just I have so much faith in what we've built and what could be here. There's already going to be so much transition in our league, which I think is a positive to stay constant."

Bielema's five-year tenure at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is in jeopardy. The team's 4-7 record, including a 1-6 mark in SEC games, has dropped his overall record at Arkansas to 29-33 and 11-28 in the SEC. The dismissal of Athletic Director Jeff Long on Wednesday by UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz after a closed-door meeting with the board of trustees six days earlier is not a positive signal for the typically upbeat Bielema.

Bret Bielema Monday press conference

(By Blake Sutton)
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"I know we want more wins," he said. "I want more wins. The wins will come."

Bielema referenced bounce backs by various teams and coaches, such as his close friend Mark Dantonio at Michigan State and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, who recovered from last year's 6-7 record to improve to 8-3 and No. 16 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. He also pointed to Notre Dame's rebound this year.

"All these teams had a dip-down year," Bielema said. "Now, I didn't have the prior success, I get it. But what we took over, what we've built and what's coming back is a very exciting time."

Arkansas coordinators Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads were also asked about the growing speculation regarding the future of Bielema and the staff.

Dan Enos Monday press conference

(By Blake Sutton)
[View Full-Size]

"It's not fun. It's not good," said Enos, the offensive coordinator. "It's harder on families than us. We get isolated and we're in here coaching and doing our deal. I think it's really, really difficult on the kids and the wives because they're out in the community, kids hear things at school and things like that.

"It's really a tough part of the business. It really is. I know people say, 'Well you decided to be a coach, you knew what you were getting in to.' And yeah, that's true, but my wife and kids don't deserve that and neither do all the other coaches. That's what is hard."

Rhoads, asked the same question, had a moment of levity.

Paul Rhoads Monday press conference

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"People are talking about that?" Rhoads asked.

Then he turned thoughtful.

"You know, 29 years of being in it and I've been hired, been fired," he said. "Been that way as a head coach, been that way as a coordinator, and been that way as a complete staff.

"You do the best you can. You do it every day. You don't back off that. You don't change course."

Rhoads lauded his wife, Vickie, and talked about his sons Jake and Wyatt, as well as his dismissal as Iowa State head coach in 2015 after a seven-year run.

"I'm very fortunate to have a tremendous coach's wife who's been through it as well," Rhoads said. "She gets it. She understands it. She's able to block it out just as well as I am.

"I have two grown sons who lived it playing for me, when their old man got fired. So we come by it honestly and appreciate the fact it goes along with the profession, and you can't change who you are or what you're doing."

Enos gave a lengthy, passionate response when asked about the speculation, saying he wished his wife Jane and their children Lia and Alex didn't have to hear the chatter.

"We can take it. We can handle it," he said. "Obviously when you're 4-7, we know people aren't going to be running around trying to have a parade for us or build statues of us in front of the stadium. We get all that.

"But it's tough to watch your family go through stuff. I just continually use it as learning moments for my children, as life's not always easy, life's not always fair. There's going to be adversity in life and you have to fight through it and you have to ... as my dad used to always say, 'You have to keep your hands up, keep your chin down and just keep punching.' "

Bielema said quarterback Austin Allen's remarks about wanting to win the game for him Saturday got back to him.

"I love my guys," Bielema said, starting to choke up. "They're awesome. So it is what it is."

Later Bielema was asked about the emotional nature of the season.

"When I first got here, I always used to talk to our players about 'You've got to care enough to cry,' " he said. "A lot of times people want to jab me when things aren't going right -- 'Bielema's going to cry, right?' I like people. I like our players. I want them to have success. There's nothing wrong with that."

Bielema said his staff has put together some information which shows a large portion -- perhaps as much as 80 percent of the team's offensive production in yardage and scoring -- has come from first- and second-year players.

"Our roster is just filled with sophomores and freshmen, juniors that will be back for their senior year," he said. "Have a good plan for us in defensive recruiting as we move forward."

Bielema said he has given that material to interim Athletic Director Julie Cromer Peoples, who has been the sport administrator in football the past two years.

"My goal is to put our best performance on Friday, hopefully try to get ourselves a victory," Bielema said. "Saturday, regroup during the morning, hop on a plane and get recruiting on Saturday night and Sunday morning."


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    November 21, 2017 at 7:06 a.m.

    UA did the absolute right thing in getting rid of Long. Please don't get caught up in the hype. Keep our coach. He is a great leader of young men. If key injuries had not happened in the past two or three years things would be totally different.
    Don't give up on someone who is shaping the lives of our student athletes.

  • drs01
    November 21, 2017 at 8:16 a.m.

    Unfortunately Bret Bielema is coaching in the wrong generation. Today. it's all about winning at any price (and cheating to do so), kissing the ass of big donors, building bigger stadiums, and paying way too much money for a coach and staff. It's not about the student athlete, it's just about the athlete. Student is not that important. If you're 9-2 no one cares about your graduation rate.

    College administrators are put in the position of running a multi-million dollar business; and many of them are not qualified to do so. That's why they TEACH because they can't make it in the real world. This pretty well describes Arkansas Football.

    Joe Steinmetz didn't understand his job until the Board explain it to him. And that is part of the problem.

    Hog fans had better understand that a new AD and coaching staff won't fix the problem. Arkansas is in the SEC completing for talent with no real recruiting ground they can call theirs. We are lucky to get a few 4-5 star recruits. So, innovative coaching strategies is our only hope. BB is plain vanilla, and we need something more exotic.

  • DEE672
    November 21, 2017 at 11:27 a.m.

    I have no sympathy for this coach. He has been paid over 20 Million dollars plus extras to produce a winning team. Others have done it in AR so stop blaming it on how hard the job is. He said he didn't know when he took the job how hard it was to win in the SEC. well, HELLO. I knew from the moment he was hired he was the wrong pick for this part of the country. His team this year won 4 games, 3 of which were patsies we paid big money to come and get beaten. One conference win after 5 seasons. Slow learner? Poor recruiter? Clueless tactician? Maybe all of the above. Stop the sniveling.

  • KingCoyote
    November 21, 2017 at 11:42 a.m.

    I would not have any regrets either if I am laughing all the way to the bank with $3-4 mill per year for 5 years and a $5 mill buyout to be a loser. Boy did we get ripped with this one.

  • user92115
    November 21, 2017 at 2:46 p.m.

    Dee672 & King coyote & drs01--you all make me sick. You couldn't coach a down of football if someone held a gun to your head. Bret Bielema is a good and decent man that the players love. Coaches earn every penny they are paid for the pressure that is put on them and their families. You act like the man is not even human. How would you like to be talked about the way you are talking about him? I bet none of you have even paid to go to a Razorback game in years--I have been a season ticket holder for 30 shut your filthy mouths....if you can't say something good, don't say anything at all. Coach B. has more class in his little finger than you have in your whole body.

  • tppt2aolcom
    November 21, 2017 at 3:42 p.m.

    There is not much to say that hasn't been said. BUT, given the track record and behavior of Bielema's three predecessors, I'd rather give Bielema another chance than to take a chance on some first year wonder who took a mostly senior team from 2-10 to 8-3. Bielema has treated his players well, and is certainly no self promoter like Nutt or Petrino. We're not going to find anyone close to Bielme's quality.

  • MaxCady
    November 21, 2017 at 3:56 p.m.

    Honestly it's not Bulimia's fault (well maybe part of it is). Arkansas is just not a fertile enough recruiting ground of a state to consistently bring in top tier players to compete with the big dawgs of the SEC. Think about this, the hapless Hogs have had only five 5 star recruits since 2000. Sure, they'll get the occasional McFadden and Agim, but those caliber of players are too few and far between to be successful on a year in and year out basis.

  • Greenboat8
    November 22, 2017 at 12:26 a.m.

    Coaching is to blame, poor tackling, lack of speed. But so is lack of talent. Kudos to AA for taking a beating game after game. But, if he had a good O-Line, he wouldn't be eating grass every other play. A new coach will have a tough time winning with the players the Hogs have
    and with JC transfers. Face it, UAF will always be in the bottom or at best, middle of the pack. How many SEC championships have they won in a quarter century?

    November 22, 2017 at 8:26 a.m.

    How did H. Nutt do it Greenboat? I’ll tell ya, Motivation not coaching. Maybe we can get Tony Robbins.

  • MaxCady
    November 22, 2017 at 12:07 p.m.

    @fireark, Nutt had the best backfield in the country and still f'd it up!! He's not a motivator he's a used car salesman.