New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. (AP Photo)
Keeping boosters happy is not a convenient perk for college football coaches in today’s world: it’s a necessity. So many programs around the nation remain standing on the support of boosters alone, and feeding them what they want to hear to keep the money flowing is part of the job of a head coach.
But sometimes, what coaches say to these boosters for their money is not meant for public knowledge, but gets out anyway.
That has just happened to new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who said the following to the Saline County Razorback Club.
The reason the SEC is talked about all the time is one team, because of their dominance. But I didn’t come here to play Alabama. I came here to beat Alabama.
Bielema continued on to compare his résumé favorably to Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s.
You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and he can’t compare.
Bielema later took to Twitter to downplay his remarks.
Saban did the same in his Monday press conference, not paying the situation any attention.
“I really don’t have any reaction to it,” Saban said. “I’m really concerned about what we do here with our players and how we try to get the people in our organization to play at a high standard. I really don’t defend anything that I ever did any place that we’ve ever been. Everybody has different situations that they’re in, everybody inherits different situations that they’re in.
“You do the best you can to try to build a new program in those situations, and that’s certainly what we’ve always tried to do and will continue to do and focus on the process of doing what we need to do to continue to be successful here. We obviously have a lot of work to do with our team and that’s certainly what we’re focused on right now. That’s the only thing I’m really concerned about.”
Some of Saban’s players took the disregard for the challenge further and labeled it as the expectation, nothing out of the ordinary.
“That’s everybody’s goal. Everybody’s goal is to win,” offensive lineman Anthony Steen said. “But every time we go out and play, I expect that from everybody. Being the competitor I am and the guys on the team are, we’re expecting to win every game, too.”
Linebacker C.J. Mosley added, “That’s the first I’ve heard of it. He’s a grown man. I can’t listen to that. I just have to do what I can to help this team win.”