Bielema Puts Wannstedt To Work

 Razorback fans with sharp eyes might have noticed former Chicago Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt arriving with Bret Bielema for Saturday's second spring scrimmage. If so they probably were asking,  "What's up with that?"

"I've known Bret for a long time," Wannstedt told the Razorback Nation. "Robb Smith (Arkansas' defensive coordinator) and I worked together last year at Tampa. Randy Shannon (Arkansas' linebackers coach), I recruited him and coached him at Miami. I coached him at the Cowboys and he was on my staff at the Dolphins and then Jeff Long, obviously I knew him from Pittsburgh."

But there is more to Wannstedt's visit than old home week. Bielema has put him to work.

"We met early in that first day (Tuesday)," Bielema recalled. "I gave him about half a dozen things I'd really like to have some information and feedback on. Anything was welcomed. He gave me that and more. There were some very encouraging things but also some critical things you need to hear." 

In particular Wannstedt observed the work of Arkansas' new defensive coordinator. His verdict after a week of being around Robb Smith and his players?

"I think they're a little more aggressive right now," Wannstedt asserted. "I do see that. I like the secondary. I think what's going to determine most teams and this team is their front seven guys.  To play great defense you gotta have defensive linemen. That's where it all starts."

Bielema was impressed enough with Wannstedt's interaction with the coaches and players that he afforded him a rare privilege.

"He gave a great message to our guys this morning," Bielema revealed. "I don't allow a lot of people to come in and talk to our team because I want them to be able to understand the message. It was very clear to me after day two that he'd do a good job and he knocked it out of the ballpark so it's been awesome."

Dave Wannstedt has been just about everywhere in football, the Cowboys, the Dolphins, the Bills, the Bucs, plus Miami and Pitt. His view of off season football is simple:

"I've always thought that spring football is not about coaching plays.  Spring practice is about coaching players to play."


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