David Cloninger

Bielema saves a drab Media Days

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days Wednesday in Hoover, Ala.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days Wednesday in Hoover, Ala. AP

SEC Media Days needed that.

The first two days were dour and boring, a little excitement when Dan Mullen did his best impression of Fred Astaire on a question about his players and violence toward women but overall rather sterile. This is life post-Steve Spurrier in the SEC – many of the over 1,000 credentialed media knew they’d get two weeks’ worth of material by plugging a microphone in front of the Head Ball Coach and letting him pontificate.

With Spurrier retired, we were all sadly punching the keys to our laptops, waiting for something to happen. Then came the league’s heir apparent to The Visored One, swinging a beach-ball belly and saying the same things the other coaches said, just with the volume turned way up.

Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, known to all as “Bert,” shot from the hip and lip with the one-liners we used to track from Spurrier. He talked about getting done quickly because he had his dogs and swim trunks packed for a trip to South Beach. He talked about how he warned close pal and now rival coach Kevin Sumlin not to say anything after an excruciating Hog loss to A&M last year, because he might punch him.

He dropped three uses of “sexy” when describing his football team, including the classic, “At Arkansas we’re not built very sexy, we’re just kind of a work in progress. We need a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready and come out and look great.”

That’s what the SEC Network needs. While they try to promote the event as college football’s grandest stage, they know what we all know – it’s in the middle of July, hardly anything newsworthy happens and they need to fill that programming.

Having an entertainer as coach helps that, and Bielema has proven he can entertain with the best of them.

“If you don’t get invited to the Combine and you go early anyway, you’re a moron,” he said with the bluntness of a tack hammer to the brain when asked about his opinion on the NFL Draft. I lost some of the other follow-ups because I was feverishly scribbling.

He mused on his prep for Media Days, saying he watches some of the coaches that go first to prepare himself for what might be asked. It’s a solid idea.

I’m in favor of making the SEC’s other coaches watch and copy Bielema, to get some fun back in the event.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema speaks during the 2016 SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

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