Something I noticed when I was reading Clay’s story, there are some similarities in the Ford and Bielema years.
Here are a few: Both players’ coaches; both tasked with reteaching the meaning of pride to players and fans upon their arrival; both having played for all-time great coaches themselves; similar negative connotations surrounding certain other parts of their personalities.
And then there are the results.
Arkansas football experienced disasters in 1992 (Kines) and 2012 (Smith).
Ford comes in in 1993 to clean it up. Here’s his next 5 years:
1995\tArkansas\t8–5\t6–3\t1st (Western)\tL Carquest\t
Overall at Arkansas:\t26–30–1\t16–24–1
Bielema comes in in 2013 to clean it up. His next 4 years:
2014\tArkansas\t7–6\t2–6\t7th (Western)\tW Texas\t
2015\tArkansas\t8–5\t5–3\tT–3rd (Western)\tW Liberty\t
2016\tArkansas\t7–6\t3–5\tT–5th (Western)\tL Belk\t
First four years:
Ford - 22-23-1
Bielema - 25-26
So both arrived after a dumpster fire, and both have taken similar paths. Start slow, take a big step forward, and then follow it with a step back.
But it took Danny 5 roller coaster years to build the highly competitive 1998 roster.
The point is, it might just take a while at a place like Arkansas - especially when you start in the ditch (get it?) - to build a competitive SEC roster. And the ride along the way can be rough to say the least. I believe the sophomores and RS freshmen will let us know early next year if that is indeed what is going on here with Bielema.
Of course, the bad news for BB - the process cost Ford his job.
What happens to Bielema in 2017 and/or 2018 might finally give Danny Ford an answer to that question about '98.