The first season at Arkansas was not what Bret Bielema has anticipated when he left Wisconsin after three straight Rose Bowl appearances as the Razorbacks went 3-9 and closed the season on a nine-game losing streak and winless in the SEC.
Bielema will speak at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday at SEC Media Days after Les Miles and LSU complete their portion of the afternoon session from Hoover, Ala. and will be pressed about the challenges he faced in his first year in Fayetteville and how he can turn the team around in Year 2.
The 2014 season may not be markedly better for the Hogs who will be hard-pressed to get to six wins and eligible for a bowl, but he established his culture and philosophy the first season and this season should see players blossom in that system, especially on the offensive line where Brey Cook leads a group that will pave the way for Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.
Cook, a 6-7, 328-pound offensive tackle, made the switch from guard to tackle four games into the season and will be one of three Arkansas players to meet the media on Wednesday. Cook was a key reason why Arkansas allowed a school-record eight sacks in 2014. He takes over the leadership duties from Travis Swanson who is now in the NFL after being one of the top centers in college last year.
Joining Cook at Media Days is defensive end and arguably the Hogs best player, Trey Flowers, who was named to the All-SEC second team last season as a junior. The 6-4, 267-pound edge-rusher had 44 tackles, including 13.5 for loss with 5.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception and two pass breakups a season ago.
Flowers has made 26 career starts and is the team’s best bet at having a first-team All-SEC performer and first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Alan Turner is the third Hog at Media Days and the senior safety will be one of the team’s leaders this fall after leading the team with 97 tackles from his safety position. The Junction City, Ark. native has appeared in 32 games and made 14 starts in his Arkansas career.