We’re headed into the second season in 2014 of the battle that started prior to last season between Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema and Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn, and the subtle jabs are already beginning here in spring.
If you’ll remember, this little feud began last year at SEC Media Days when Bielema voiced his concern over the hurry-up no-huddle offense which Malzahn eventually used to get his team to the BCS National Championship Game last season after the team went just 3-9 in 2012 before he arrived.
But according to Bielema, that turnaround that Malzahn orchestrated shouldn’t be that much of a surprise seeing that it was more or less set up for him to succeed as early as he did.
“Obviously, this is my first transition as a head coach,” Bielema told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s something I wanted to do free willingly. I wanted to do it. I wanted to experience it. But I knew coming in, what I was going to ask our players was dramatically different from what they were used to.
“If you get a team with a new coach coming in that was very similar to what they’ve done in the past, you could have an Auburn situation. You know, Gus was part of three out of those five recruiting classes (at Auburn as an assistant and head coach), know what I mean? There were huge transitional benefits there.”
Bielema has a point in saying that Gus did have a hand in those recruiting classes prior to his departure as the offensive coordinator, however having enough benefits in place to take a team that went 3-9 to literally within seconds of the BCS title might be stretching it just a bit.
This is also the part where everyone should be reminded that these two will face off to begin the season this year in the opening weekend.