Bret Bielema has been a man under fire since performing an apparent flop to draw a personal foul penalty from Alabama Crimson Tide player Cam Robinson during Saturday’s 27-14 loss.
Many have been calling for an explanation — and some, his job — following the frat boy antic, but in a new press conference ahead of the Arkansas Razorbacks bye week, he is finally talking about the incident.
Responding to a question from reporters, an uncomfortable Bret Bielema insisted there was nothing sinister behind the action and that he was, in reality, trying to face one of his players to cut off a brewing confrontation before it got out of control.
“The situation was that there was some feistiness, guys were getting chippy, he [Arkansas player] kind of got flipped out of bounds. Just as a coach you feel these things coming, and one of the things I learned early on with Coach [Hayden] Fry, was to put your face to your players, so I jumped in front, and a lot of things were going on. I know I got pushed out, saw the flag, and knew something happened.”
When pressed on whether he premeditatedly drew the penalty, he laughed and said, “I’m not that quick.”
“I really just remember the play unfolding. I knew there was an interception, and I was standing on the offensive line of scrimmage. I knew they were getting close to the sideline, 74 and one of our players, and somebody flipped over another one. I knew something good wasn’t going to happen.”
As for the celebratory dance, Bielema insisted that he does that “probably 10 times a day when good things happen. I would do that same dance if we did the same thing tomorrow.”
NWAHomepage has the full 25-minute press conference if you’d like to examine the Bret Bielema comments yourself.
As for Alabama, they are pretty much backing up the embattled head coach’s story at this point. Alabama Coach Nick Saban indicated he was ready to put the matter to bed. He also said that he hadn’t watched the video yet and that Cam Robinson actually took responsibility for the penalty.
Saban says he still hasn’t seen Bielema video. Talked to Robinson, who took responsibility because he got frustrated and pushed a guy
— Christopher Walsh (@WritingWalsh) October 14, 2015
That being said, some in the college football community are not ready to give Bret Bielema a pass. Commenter Tiffany Wilson from the SEC Country website said that the Razorback coach “had absolutely no business putting his hands on Cam like that.”
“The refs obviously weren’t paying attention. He should have been in trouble the second he stepped on that field,” she added.
(Full disclosure: Wilson is an Alabama fan.)
Coincidentally, Arkansas talking head Bo Mattingly takes the opposite perspective.
And, of course, here is the footage that started it all.
— Anthony Jacks (@Coach_Jacks) October 12, 2015
To the latter video, Bret Bielema, at Wednesday’s press conference, expressed some concerns over the “heritage” of the sideline video, saying he was concerned with the possibility that the video could have been from a rival team trying to learn the Hogs’ signals.
The SEC is investigating the matter.
But what do you think, readers? Now that Nick Saban has weighed in, should Bret Bielema be exonerated from any wrongdoing in the incident with Cam Robinson? Sound off in the comments section!
[Image of Bret Bielema via press conference screen grab, linked above]