Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema doesn’t want to do things like everyone else. That applies to his coaching hires, too.
First, Bielema made the surprise move to poach a sitting head coach from the MAC by hiring Dan Enos as the team’s new offensive coordinator.
He rounded out his coaching staff Wednesday with the hire of Jemal Singleton as the team’s new running backs coach.
Neither of these hires went through a traditional hiring process, though.
“To get to where we are today was kind of a unique process,” Bielema said, via CoachingSearch.com.. “I had a list of names. I was talking to [Air Force head coach] Troy Calhoun at the rules committee meeting, and Coach Calhoun would come watch us when we were at Wisconsin. I’d asked him about another coach that had previously worked for him, and he looked at me and said, ‘You need a running backs coach?’ ‘Yeah, I do, I’m losing my guy to the Saints.’ He goes, ‘I’ve got the guy for you.’ He mentioned Jemal.
“I was impressed the first time I read his bio. He hurdled past everybody else. I had a list of probably 23 coaches at one point. To finally get a chance to sit down with him Monday and visit was an easy decision.
“Whether that’s a normal process or not, I met with him, Coach Enos met with him, he had individual meeting time with every one of our offensive coaches. It’s just how I do it. I also have my secretaries sit down with him. I have my DFO sit down and have breakfast with him. I’ll have my recruiting staff take him to lunch. It’s a team atmosphere. You cultivate that in the way you recruit people.”
It can’t be too difficult to recruit a position coach when Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins form the best running back duo in college football. Singleton will simply be the beneficiary of the talent on the roster after impressing everyone around the Razorbacks program.
After four years of being the head coach of the Central Michigan Chippewas, Dan Enos had enough.
Enos surprised many when he decided to step down as a head coach and accept the offensive coordinator position with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The constant spotlight as a head coach was apparently too much for Enos.
“At one point in my career, I wanted to be a head coach, and that was the whole thing I dreamed about and talked about,” Enos told SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly, via CoachingSearch.com. “I’ve been a head coach. The one thing I’ll say about a head coach: It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I had a coach tell me one that, one time, a very successful NFL head coach told him that. ‘Remember, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.’ That hit home with me.
“To be honest with you, my family and I left for this opportunity. I really haven’t thought too much beyond. I just would like to be here and be at Arkansas and be the coordinator for many years. Beyond that, I don’t have any other further aspirations, other than to help this program get better and do my part to help our team win a championship.”
Prior to his arrival in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Enos served as Mark Dantonio‘s quarterbacks and running backs coach with the Michigan State Spartans and Cincinnati Bearcats. He hasn’t held the title of offensive coordinator since his only season with the North Dakota State Bison in 2003.
Enos is now a coordinator in the SEC and gets paid handsomely as part of Bret Bielema‘s staff (nearly double his yearly salary at Central Michigan).
If another opportunity presents itself to be a head coach at a premier institution, it’s hard to imagine Enos not strongly considering the opportunity. But he has to prove himself first at Arkansas.
When Bret Bielema surprised college football with his decision to leave the Wisconsin Badgers to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, a primary reason behind his departure was Wisconsin’s inability (or unwillingness) to provide competitive wages for the team’s assistant coaches.
The University of Arkansas didn’t have the have the same problem. The school awarded six of its football assistants with contract extensions after the team’s 7-6 campaign.
The Arkansas News Bureau‘s Robbie Neiswanger provided the new contract details:
The extensions were warranted after the Razorbacks’ strong finish to the 2014 season.
Bielema’s squad won three of its last four games. During that stretch, the Razorbacks became the first unranked program to shut out two ranked programs in consecutive weeks. The Hogs then dominated the Texas Longhorns 31-7 in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.
Don’t look now, but the Arkansas Razorbacks are one of the hottest teams in the country.
After a 4-5 start to the season, Bret Bielema‘s squad has won two in a row against a pair of ranked SEC West opponents. Arkansas latest victory came courtesy of a 30-0 stomping of the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels.
Bielema told ESPN after the contest he believes his team can play with anyone. And that’s clearly the case at the moment.
Saturday’s effort was Arkansas’ second straight shutout victory. The Razorbacks officially beat LSU and Ole Miss by a combined score of 47-0.
The win also makes Arkansas bowl eligible at 6-5 overall. Every team in the SEC West is now eligible to go to a bowl game.
Ole Miss was dominated at every level, and the Rebels are no longer in position to possibly claim an SEC West crown or play in a New Year’s bowl. After starting the season 7-0, including a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ole Miss lost three of their last four games.
Arkansas’s formula against Ole Miss was simple. The Razorbacks ran the ball 50 times for 159 yards and held an advantage in time of possession by eight minutes. Arkansas’ defense also forced six turnovers, including a 100-yard pick-6 by Rohan Gaines.
The Razorbacks will have opportunity to ruin another season next weekend when they face the No. 20 Missouri Tigers. Another impressive effort by Arkansas could knock Missouri out of the SEC championship game as the representative from the SEC East.
The way Bielema’s squad is currently playing, Missouri better be prepared or the Tigers will find themselves watching the SEC Championship game instead of playing in it.
Mississippi’s landshark defense has lost some of its bite in recent weeks.
The Arkansas Razorbacks lead the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels 17-0 at halftime. The Razorbacks game plan has been simple. They’ve ran the football effectively and overwhelmed Ole Miss at the point of attack.
Despite the rankings, Arkansas’ lead shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The Razorbacks beat LSU by the same score last week. And Bret Bielema‘s squad is a stronger opponent than its 5-5 record indicates.
Arkansas’ running attack has proven to be too much for Ole Miss’ talented defense. The Razorbacks ran for 103 rushing yards compared to Ole Miss’ 12 yards. And Arkansas has held the ball nine minutes longer than the Rebels.
The Rebels defense also struggled to cover Arkansas’ talented tight ends. Drew Morgan and Hunter Henry combined to catch five passes for 81 yards.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss had to deal with an injury to quarterback Bo Wallace. Wallace’s ability to play and do so effectively in the second half could have a drastic effect on Ole Miss’ chances to make a comeback. Wallace left the game due to a leg injury before he returned. But a lack of mobility will severely hamper his game if he comes out of the half and continues to lead the Rebels’ offense.
With Wallace hampered and a struggling defense, Arkansas will continue to pound the ball during the second half. Another loss by Ole Miss will take them completely out of the conversation to make a New Year’s bowl game.