Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema is one of the more outspoken advocates against the integration of fast-paced, hurry-up offenses into the game of college football, that’s no secret. But that doesn’t mean he completely hates coaching against it. Actually, as he stated in the SEC teleconference on Wednesday morning, he “loves” it.
“I actually love playing against pace of play from the standpoint it’s such a dramatic difference in style from what we do,” Bielema said. “It’s been my experience in the past, when you get a team that’s able to execute what you ask them to do, it can be very, very frustrating for that kind of opponent to play against.”
We’ll get the opportunity this season to see just how much he loves it as he and his team will have that theory tested early on when they face the Auburn Tigers to open up the 2014 campaign.
In preparation of that match up, Bielema also pointed out that he used some good portions of his spring practices to get ready for the fast-paced onslaught they’ll see in late August.
“You try to simulate the speed,” he said. “We actually use two huddles to go against our defense and make sure they understand the pace of play that’s coming at them. Obviously, if we see any potential situations that could be harmful to our players, because we’re at practice, we can stop it. It’s really not the same in regards to game-like situations, but I think that gives us the biggest teaching tool we can have.”
The critics of Bielema’s stance on this particular style of offense are citing his not wanting to figure out a way to stop it, although he did go on to point out the success that he had against Rich Rodriguez when he was the coach at Michigan and Bielema was in charge of Wisconsin.
Although to be fair, Rodriguez never really had a full unit of the guys he needed at Michigan to make it all work, but it’s still somewhat of a valid point Bielema made about coaching against the philosophy in general.