On Day 1 of SEC Media Days, Arkansas led us off with coach Bret Bielema taking to the stage. Bielema is typically one of the biggest draws, as far as coaches whom you can actually rely on to say something interesting.
He did not disappoint, and he may have most notably taken a subtle poke at Ole Miss.
“That's why those guys get a lot of money at the next level,” Bielema said when asked about the SEC’s many returning star quarterbacks. “At our level, they get more attention.
“Mine aren't getting any money. I don't know about anybody else's.“
We can’t be certain, but if you read between the lines, we don’t blame you. There is the small matter of the large albatross of NCAA sanctions surrounding SEC West rival Ole Miss, which is accused of allowing multiple players to receive impermissible benefits.
Bielema has never been above digging at a foe.
At Media Days last year, he tweaked a handful of division rivals who were in the midst of a controversy surrounding player suspensions.
"You don't have to ask me if we're going to suspend anybody for the first game," Bielema said. "That doesn't come up in this program."
He also sent a shot across the bow at basketball reffing, after the Hogs lost a big basketball game.
Bielema had some more fun at Media Days, though.
Bielema also talked about a way to spice up the Mizzou-Arkansas game, played the day after Thanksgiving. It’s each team’s cross-divisional rivalry game, and it makes sense regionally.
Bielema wrapped up at the podium. The Missouri/Arkansas HS all-star game was the most interesting thing brought up.— Arkansas Fight (@ArkansasFight) July 10, 2017
Bielema was also asked to expand on what is probably his most memorable Media Days quote. The time he called a win over Texas “borderline erotic.” It would appear that Bielema’s been made an honest man in fatherhood, however.
Bret Bielema on his famous "borderline erotic" line from 2015: "That was in the small-group session, and that was before I had a child."— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) July 10, 2017
Bielema also gave us an insight into an interaction we wish we were flies on the wall for:
Bielema on his younger self meeting Miami DL coach Ed Orgeron: "I didn't know who the hell he was. And I couldn't understand him."— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 10, 2017
But on Monday’s session, it was commissioner Greg Sankey who may have had the interesting anecdote, as far as it pertains to Bielema. Bielema recently had his first child some 48 hours before Media Days kicked off ...
... and while playing the role of the dutiful husband to his wife, Jen, Bielema accidentally hit Sankey up.
“I arrived home Saturday,” Sankey said. “I had texted congratulations to Bret. All of a sudden my phone said he was FaceTiming me. That's never happened. I never FaceTimed with a head football coach in the SEC. The decision should you answer or not; I decided to answer the phone.
“He said, ‘Why are you calling me?’ I said, ‘Why are you calling me? I thought he was going to share this moment with his wife and his daughter with the conference commissioner. He said, ‘I was just leaving Chipotle. I didn't mean to call you. It was a mistake.’”
And so ends another year of Bret Bielema at Media Days. As far as talkin’ season openers, Bielema’s was pretty good.