Tag Archives: Bret Bielema

SEC meetings in Destin get underway today

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — SEC coaches are in Destin, Fla., this week for the league’s annual spring meeting.

Coaches have already done plenty of meeting with SEC commissioner Mike Slive in recent months, so the agenda should be light this week.

One issue in particular has already been resolved. Let’s let Les Miles tell it:

Miles, of course, was among the coaches displeased by the SEC’s decision to maintain its current 8-game format. LSU is stuck with Florida as its permanent cross-divisional opponent each season.

So what is on the agenda this week, aside from plenty of time on the beach or the golf course? Seth Emerson has a good summary here.

The big buzzword right now is autonomy. The five football power conferences are flexing their muscles and the NCAA appears willing to relinquish some control to those programs (like the SEC) that are on a different revenue plane than their peers.

There could also be some continued chatter over rules. Remember the Bret Bielema-Gus Malzahn tiff? Let’s hope they save some fighting words for SEC Media Days in July.

Butch Jones on 10-second rule: ‘Obviously I’m not for that’

Butch Jones at practice in 2013 (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones said a push to slow down hurry-up offenses is rooted more in coaches’ “personal preference” than concern for player safety.

“I think it’s the equivalent of telling a basketball team you can’t full-court press,” Jones said. “If we want to talk about the overall health, then let’s start limiting blitzes. You talk about protecting players, you give the defense more time to disguise, disrupt the quarterback?”

Jones made the comments on a Friday morning appearance on Nashville radio station 104.5 The Zone.

Jones was in Nashville Thursday for a high school clinic and had to stay overnight after his flight was nixed by bad weather. He’ll be back there again on Saturday for the Nashville Sports Fest.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema who has seemingly led the public campaign against hurry-up, no-huddle offenses like those employed at Auburn and Oregon (and increasingly elsewhere) raised the stakes in the debate this week.

That’s unlikely to satisfy Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, or Jones, who also said he wanted to see real data on the subject. Although Tennessee’s offense is no-huddle, it hasn’t quite reached the warp-speed level of Auburn. But Jones likes to control the game’s tempo, so it’s likely the offense will speed up as the offense gets better.

“I really look forward to really seeing what type of evidence there is in terms of making the game safer. I’m all for (making the game safer). But I don’t think that’s the avenue to do that,” Jones said.

In 2013, Jones openly predicted the eventual demise of the kickoff, which is still a controversial subject with many coaches. So he’s willing to entertain even radical ideas for making the game safer. But he doesn’t think this proposed rule change would do so.

“I don’t think it comes down to our overall health of our game. I think it comes down to each coach’s personal preference,” he said. “Everything we do is to err on the side of player safety. We need to talk about the punt return and the kickoff return and the kickoff, not how fast we’re going on offense. So obviously I’m not for that (rule change).”

Pat Dye’s full comments on Auburn’s ‘cowards’ at quarterback in 2012

Pat Dye and Auburn mascot Aubie (Associated Press photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Former Auburn coach Pat Dye‘s inflammatory comments to the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday caused only a ripple of interest here.

But in Alabama,  Dye’s words were big news.

There wasn’t much context to Dye’s comments on Auburn’s quarterbacks in 2012. I’m told his talk was somewhat rambling. But we asked Gage Arnold, our intern who was covering the event, to transcribe the full passage from Dye’s comments.

“We had two last year — Mr. Footballs….Cut that thing off a minute… (laughter)…You got it off?”

(Dye is speaking to a TV reporter with a camera in the back of the room.)

“We had two last year and they both were cowards. Cowards. How can you win with a coward at quarterback? Now one of them might have been a coward mentally, and there’s a difference between being a coward mentally and a coward physically. If you’re a coward physically you’ve got no chance to overcome that, but you can grow up from being a coward mentally. But it didn’t happen so we had no chance.”

Dye, who turns 74 today, won four SEC titles at Auburn from 1981 to 1992. The field at Jordan-Hare Stadium is named in his honor.

AL.com columnist Kevin Scarbinsky wrote Dye had attached “one of the worst insults imaginable to young men who suited up for (his) school.”

Dye told AL.com that he had apologized privately to Kiehl Frazier, one of three quarterbacks on last year’s team.

Frazier’s dad accepted the apology.

That wasn’t the only interesting thing that Dye said on Monday.

On the 2012 team as a whole:

“I’ve been in football since 1952, started playing in eighth grade in 1952 and 2012 was the worst year in my football life at Auburn. I’ve never been sick of seeing kids quit.”

On Arkansas and Bret Bielema:

“You know, Bielema at Arkansas, you know, he needs to keep his mouth shut. I don’t know what it is. He wants to slow the game down, he wants to do this, he wants to do this, he wants to do that…. But anyway, they came out in the swinging gate on a field goal formation and ended up throwing for a first down at the 1-yard line. They didn’t score cause we held them four downs at the 1-yard line.”

Scarbinksy wrote that it’s Dye who needs to watch what he says — or say nothing at all.

“Increasingly, he comes across, not as a legendary former football coach, but as a retired crank who can’t let go of the spotlight. It’s past time for him to let it go, to be admired for what he did, not reviled for what he’s said.”

Were Dye’s quotes “off the record?” The short answer is no. A speaker in front of hundreds of people cannot unilaterally declare something off the record. In this case, Dye didn’t even attempt to do so. He merely asked someone to turn off a camera. The Knoxville Quarterback Club is a widely attended, widely publicized event held in a public place. Media are always present and report on the weekly speaker’s comments.

Here’s an interview conducted with Dye after his speech.

Butch Jones to take spin through ESPN ‘car wash’ on Tuesday

Butch Jones, 2013 SEC Media Days

Butch Jones speaks at SEC Media Days (AP photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones will be one of six SEC coaches to go through the ESPN “car wash” on Tuesday.

The car wash is a metaphor — we think — for the whirlwind of interviews that coaches go through for various shows while spending the day at the network’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters.

Jones will be joined by Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Florida’s Will Muschamp, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops.

ESPN said the coaches could appear on College Football Live, SportsCenter, First Take and Highly Questionable on television, and SVP & Russillo, The Herd, Coach and Company and SportsCenter Tonight on radio. The coaches may also do ESPN.com chats or podcasts.

ESPN had exclusive access to coaches during last week’s SEC Media Days, so it’s unclear what might be asked just a few days later.

One festering argument leftover from last week might be the mini-feud between Malzahn and Bielema over fast-paced offenses.

Bielema believes fast-paced offenses increase the risk of player injuries; Malzahn was dismissive of that idea.

Here’s Jones’ complete schedule, provided by UT. Some of the segments will air or be published later.

11 a.m. — ESPN.com Chat – LIVE

11:25 a.m. — College GameDay

12:40 p.m. —  High Questionable (airing at 4 p.m. on ESPN2)

1:15 p.m. — Recruiting Nation

1:30 p.m. — Podcast – ESPNU CFB with Ivan Maisel

2 p.m. — College Football Live (airing at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN)

2:25 p.m. — CFB Insider with Travis Haney

2:40 p.m. — SportsCenter – LIVE on ESPNews

3:40 p.m. — Digital Media

SEC Media Days in review: Coaches in word clouds and other observations

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After three days of talk — some enlightening, some mind-numbing, we took a day off to catch our breath and take stock of SEC Media Days 2013.

We decided one way — no, the only way — to fully understand the week was to put the coaches’ opening statements into artistic word clouds. Thus, the gallery above.

Other pertinent thoughts from the league’s kickoff event:

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SEC Media Days: Coaches tussle over safety of fast-paced offenses

HOOVER, Alabama — When Gus Malzahn first heard that some coaches believed his hurry-up, no-huddle offense was unsafe for players, he thought it was sarcasm.

“To be honest with you, I thought it was a joke,” he said.

When that comment was relayed to new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, things got interesting in a hurry.

Raising his voice and speaking forcefully, Bielema said he was convinced that forcing players to remain on the field for multiple snaps without rest increasing the risk of serious injury.

“The personal safety of my players is paramount,” Bielema said. “It’s not a joke to me.”

Auburn’s first-year coach has built his career upon the hurry-up offense, beginning as an innovative high school coach in Arkansas.

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