"I didn't look at film from the past," the head coach said at his Monday press conference. "I didn't want to know what I would or would not see. I formed an opinion of what I saw every day after I got here. That's why I was so upset (after the South Carolina game). That was something I'd never seen before."
"It's blown me away that there's such a blowup of a bad situation," Bielema continued. "This is the same team that has done some pretty positive things. The going gets a little bit tough and our guys revert."
Bielema revealed that some of the support staff he retained from last year's team commented that the South Carolina game had a 2012 look to it. "I (also) heard certain players talking about it," Bielema admitted. "I addressed it. There's only one guy that threw the pick. There's only one guy that the receiver (defensive back) jumped in front of. How it affects the other nine guys so negatively is beyond me. When adversity strikes you don't try to fight it alone. You fight it together."
"It's something you have to get out of your system," Bielema continued. "That woe is me, feeling sorry for yourself, it's nowhere in a championship level team. It's nowhere to be found in anybody that's had success. Everybody has to step up and that starts with me and my assistants."
Technical mistakes continue to be an issue, especially at linebacker where once again the lineup got shuffled because of injuries.
"J. Lake, Braylon Mitchell, Austin Jones, Martrell Spaight (injured and unavailable for South Carolina), we've just been trying to find the best fit," Bielema explained. "Unfortunately they haven't been able to get a lot of consistency in practice with the reps of where they're at and lining up to carry over to the game and that's the part that probably came to a head more than anything on Saturday. There were a handful of plays that we didn't get the proper run fits and those ended up with glaring holes."
Senior defensive tackle Robert Thomas' college career is over after it was learned on Monday that there will be a three to four month recovery period for a broken left leg he suffered in the game.
"I visited with him after his surgery," defensive line coach Charlie partridge recalled. "He was incredible. He said, 'Coach this is part of the game.' Obviously I'm disappointed. We'll miss his leadership and his plays but his spirits were great."
Redshirt freshman Darius Philon will move into a starting role with Thomas' injury.
"The world works in mysterious ways," Bielema noted. "Obviously somebody had a bigger plan to take Robert out of our lineup and deliver us Darius. The kid's learning is off the charts. He's always behind me in my ear. Has played his best football for sure over the last three or four weeks here."
"Robert's a great leader for us as well as a great player so yeah, it's a big hit for us," defensive coordinator Chris Ash noted, "but the other guys that have been in there are playing well."
"He was on the verge of earning a starting job anyway," Ash said of Philon.
Asked if injuries and the blowout nature of the South Carolina game had him down as a coach Ash said, "I hate losing. It's not fun but whether we win, whether we lose I'm going to be the same coach. I'm going to be here the same amount of hours, doing the same amount of work. We'll be successful in time."
The game came on a big recruiting weekend for Bielema and his staff. How did the coaches address the loss with those recruits?
"Coach Bielema's got a great plan in place on how we're going to run things here. How we're going to operate and how we're going to deal with each other. We're selling that vision," Ash said.
Bielema addressed speculation that there might be a quarterback change in light of Allen's struggles while trying to recover from a shoulder injury. He said true freshmen quarterbacks Austin Allen and Damon Mitchell scrimmaged with other nonstarters on Sunday. "Both of them have shown that they've grown quite a bit since fall camp but the details of lining up and executing an offense the way we need to on Saturdays, they're just not quite there yet," Bielema concluded.
Allen's injury is becoming less of an issue after each game as he continues to recover.
"He had a pretty significant injury as he battles back," Bielema observed. "Wednesday he does the whole practice. Thursday we're limited. Friday we let him rest. He doesn't throw as many balls to the wide receivers. He doesn't get the timing of it. It's not just him. Our execution of the passing game involves protections, reads, routes, delivery and catch so all those things factor into it."
"If I thought there was a guy behind him that gives us a better chance I'd play him," Bielema stressed.
How does Bielema keep the memories of last year's 52-0 loss to Alabama out of his players heads as they prepare to face the top ranked Crimson Tide this weekend?
"Just because history's happened in the past doesn't mean it has to repeat itself," Bielema answered.