Sully Says: Let's hope for the return of 'Bielema ball' in 2017

Bret Bielema upset after a holding call (KATV Photo)

I like Bret Bielema.

I like that he makes his way onto the field to check on every injured Razorback.

I like that, after a game, he doesn't leave the field until all of his Hogs have made their way to the locker room.

Coach B seems to do his best to be fully engaged in just about everything he does: interviews, press conferences, Razorback club events. He's an easy guy to get behind.

Through four seasons, Coach has been consistent with his behavior. I can't say the same about his approach: "Bielema ball."

From day one, Coach has preached the importance of winning the line of scrimmage. He is a true lineman's coach. What other power five coaches have put their offensive lineman on the front of the press guide?

In 2014, Coach B's second season, the Hogs were fifth in the SEC in rushing offense and second in rushing defense. Last season, they were fourth in rushing offense and second in rushing defense. Only Alabama could say they were better on the line of scrimmage.

That was "Bielema ball."

This season, the Hogs dropped to 10th in the SEC in both rushing offense and defending the run. They were at their worst at the most critical times.

That's not "Bielema ball."

Look at the last two games. The Hog defense offered little to no resistance in the red zone. Missouri was 3-for-3 in the red zone, all touchdowns. Virginia Tech was 5-of-5 in the red zone, all touchdowns. One or two red zone stops in each game could have made a huge difference.

Do you remember what happened against the Aggies? The Hogs started two possessions at the Aggie two yard line and ended up with a total of only three points.

That's not "Bielema ball."

What happened this season? My best guess: offensively, players they were counting on to help this season haven't developed as they had hoped. Have you heard the old saying,, "a year older, doesn't always mean a year better?" I think that applies to the defense.

Will we see the return of "Bielema ball" in 2017?


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