Q&A with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm •  Published: December 17, 2013
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bret Bielema recently completed his first season at Arkansas, finishing 3-9 and missing a bowl for the first time in his head-coaching career. He sat down with The Associated Press for an interview Tuesday. Excerpts are below:

Question: Arkansas went 3-9, what's the emotional toll of that?

Answer: "It is what it is. I don't have a reaction one way or the other. Obviously (I) didn't want to go 3-9, but it was the reality of what it was. For whatever reason, the good Lord decided us to be that way. There's a certain amount of teaching that can come from a win, but I do think you learn more from losses than you do from wins. Just the inventory that you press, if you're a true competitor, the way that you react. You'll get more out of a defeat ... Now, obviously, it's not great for recruiting, it's not great for anybody involved, fans, coaches, players, staff, whatever it is. But it is what it is."

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Q: Going back to last spring, you talked about fans coming up to you and saying, 'We're sorry for what you've gotten yourself into.' Were they right?

A: "I don't think a fan has any idea of what you have schematically, Xs and Os. ... (T)hey don't even have an understanding of what we're trying to necessarily do. I know that the part that as coaches we can't accept the 3-9. We can't just say, 'That's what it is, and that's what we're going to be.' We tried to win every game for what it was. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do it, but as a head coach, we learned a lot about we never want to go back to that point."

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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."

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