For whatever reason, Bret Bielema and the Auburn football program simply can’t play nice together.
At the SEC media days over the summer, AU head coach Gus Malzahn labeled Bielema’s criticisms of up-tempo offenses as “a joke,” with the UA coach responding, “I’m not a comedian.” During summer camp, a former Tiger and current Razorback assistant coach tweeted well-wishes to an injured Hog; Bielema had yet to release the injury information, which did not sit well with the coach.
Monday, the kerfuffle between the coaches/programs bled into the regular season.
Unprompted, al.com said, Bielema brought up during a teleconference Monday an issue he had with the video sent over by Auburn, this Saturday’s opponent. Essentially, Bielema accused AU of short-sheeting the game film from its win over FAU this past weekend.
Bielema and his staff had watched a television broadcast of the Tigers-Owls game, then watched the game film sent by AU. It was at that point they noticed what they alleged was creative editing on Auburn’s part.
“There are just some clips that haven’t — shall we say, the TV copy doesn’t match the film copy,” Bielema said Monday. “And it’s something we have kind of been aware of now for the last week and half in getting our preparation. So we can use other film and stuff like that to make sure we are getting the full picture.”
The issue was sufficient enough that a complaint was filed with the SEC; a source told al.com that the conference had no major issue with the video Auburn sent. Interestingly, however, the paper noted that Bielema may have bent-to-the-point-of-breaking an SEC bylaw that prohibits coaches from discussing with the media any video issues such as the one the head coach raised yesterday.
Despite the formal complaint to the SEC, Bielema is certain (eye roll) that Gus Malzahn will have this glitch corrected moving forward.
“I’m sure it’s a glitch,” Bielema said. “I know Gus stands for everything that’s right and (has) great faith in doing things right. So, I’m sure it’s just a glitch that they’ll get to the bottom of.”
(Writer’s note: I’ll give you time to scrub the sarcasm off your screen… waiting… and we’re good.)
The mini-brouhaha is the latest off-field hiccup for Bielema in his first season at the school. The hiccups have been aplenty on the field as well, with Arkansas having lost five straight games heading into the matchup Saturday with an Auburn team ranked in the Top 10 in Malzahn’s first season as AU’s head coach.
While the Tigers are second in the SEC West behind Alabama, the Razorbacks have lost all four of their conference games — and have lost them by an average of over 32 points per game (44.7-12.5). Saturday’s game against Auburn will mark Arkansas’ fifth straight game against a ranked SEC team; that’s the first time since UA joined the conference in 1992 that has happened to any team in the league.