Sully Says: Taking a shot at Saban
I've learned over the years that the best sound bytes from a coach come from the podium. They are usually more honest, relaxed and animated than they are in a normal press conference setting.
The University of Arkansas has a "no TV cameras" rule when it comes to Razorback Club events. They don't want anything Coach Bielema says that may not be politically or SEC correct to show up on the 10 o'clock news.
There's a chance that Coach B, in an effort to fire up the troops, could cross the acceptable line. That happened last Wednesday at the Saline County Razorback Club event.
Coach B fired a salvo at King Saban. According to Hootens.com, Coach Bielema had this response when asked a question about the SEC's dominance:"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. You can take [Nick] 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."
Coach B has the numbers to back up the statement. He posted a 68-24 record at Wisconsin from 2006-12 and won three Big Ten championships, while Saban was 34-24-1 as head coach of Michigan State from 1995-99. Some will argue that it's not a fair comparison because Bielema inherited a much better situation.
Monday, Coach Bielema sent out a tweet urging fans to "chill' because he was just joking.
Most writers around the SEC say Coach Bielema is guilty of a pre-snap infraction. How can a guy who hasn't coached a game in the SEC call out the architect of the most dominant program in college sports? New SEC coaches aren't supposed to go there.
I have no problem with the statement. I like the fact that Coach Bielema hasn't been afraid to call out Alabama. I don't want to hear the comparisons to Lane Kiffin. Bielema has something Kiffin has yet to earn: championships. For those that fear that Saban will remember this comment come fall when the Hogs visit Tuscaloosa - last season, he beat a Hog coach he respected 52-0.
Bret Bielema has made it clear from day one at Arkansas that his goal is to do something that's never been done at Arkansas - win an SEC title. To accomplish that goal, Coach B's Hogs will have to take down King Nick.
When that takes place, remember what Coach told the Saline County Razorback Club. Until that happens, the U of A may want to think about putting a muzzle on all reporters at future Razorback Club events.