Bret Bielema’s first season at Arkansas didn’t finish the way he’d like. The Hogs went 3-9 and lost their last nine consecutive games and finished 0-8 in SEC play for the first time in program history.
Bielema sat down for an interview with the AP on Tuesday, and he opened up about his first season, and the death threats he and his wife endured.
Q: Professional criticism is one thing. When it turns and flips onto personal level, as it did this season with (wife) Jen, how tough is that to handle?
A: “The only thing I was concerned about her was just her safety. I mean, some people, when they claim they’re going to kill you and your dogs and, you know, hope you die in a car crash and make malicious comments, that’s … People are today a little off. I spend a lot of time away from home. One of the things that we did is talk to the people that we need to talk to to make sure that there wasn’t any potential threat to her safety and well-being. That’s my only priority, is the safety of my family, which right now is my wife and two little dogs that I do like.”
Q: Is the SEC West more or less daunting now that you’ve been through it? Any different take or perception now that you’ve seen it up close?
A: “I think the part that really jumps out to me is you’ve got a team that’s playing for a national championship (Auburn), and we’re a play or two away from being able to capitalize on that game. It shows kids how close you literally are. There isn’t anything more self-evident than to see two teams playing in the SEC championship game that had one win in the SEC total last year. The cards couldn’t line up any better for where we’re at and where we want to be.”
The death threats and malicious comments speak for themselves and are terrible, but unfortunately they are happening more and more on social media. People take things way too seriously.
As far as the SEC West, Bielema is right in a sense about being a few plays away from having a big season. Several teams played Auburn very tough throughout the season, and it shows the Arkansas program isn’t that far off. Sure, they have a ways to go, but knowing Missouri and Auburn combined for two SEC wins last year, anything can happen.
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