NWADG College Football


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4 NWA Democrat-Gazette College Football Preview Sunday, August 27, 2017 How is new father Bret Bielema different? Assistant coaches see a special gleam, sparkle or just a new, more dainty walk. The Arkansas football coach was beaming from ear to ear when he waltzed into the media room early in pre- season camp to introduce his daughter, Briella, to the world one day after her 1-month birthday. I thought it a per- fect time to ask most of his assistant coaches about what changes they've seen with Bielema since his daughter's birth. "I saw the pride, the joy he feels for that daughter," said Kurt Anderson, offensive line coach. "He's got a gleam in his eye. You see it. "He's tried to be a father to 120, to all of his staffers, his coaches and administrators. That's just who he is. He tries to carry the weight of the pro- gram on his shoulders for all of us. I know that's pressure, but you know he's feeling a different pressure now. That daughter does that to you. There's nothing like it and I see that in him." Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads are veteran coaches with children. They've both been head coaches. Both flashed big grins when Bielema and his daughter were brought up. "First, what I can tell you is that I changed the way I coach when I became a dad," said Enos, the offensive co- ordinator and quarterbacks coach. "I'll also say that Coach B is always aware of his players and his coaches. He always cares deeply. It's not like some coaches, all they care about is whether you can help them win a football game. He's not like that. "I know becoming a dad changes your perspective. I think it makes you stronger as a coach. There are things you are aware of that only a parent gets. I do think what I've seen in both Bret and Jen as parents has been awe- some." Defensive coordinator Rhoads said it was great to see Bielema with his daugh- ter. "That's the first time we'd seen Briella," Rhoads said. "I thought it was fun to see him with her. I can tell you some- thing else: it's fun to see him head out of here just a few minutes early so he can see Jen and Briella. "Bret loves to work. He loves to keep everything or- ganized within the program. He's always studying the de- tails of every period of prac- tice, everything from meals to the details of travel. He's one of those coaches who leaves no stone unturned. He's still doing that, but there may be a night where he gets out of the office a few minutes early. I hope he is able to keep that up as we move through the season. It's important to do that." Vernon Hargreaves, the linebackers coach, laughed heartily when asked about Bielema and his daughter. "He's lit up, that's what I see," Hargreaves said. "When he came down the hallway with her yesterday, what I saw was this great big man who can act all tough, but his walk was a little more dainty with her in his arms. He can act pretty tough, but that melts you, that daughter. I loved it. "I can tell you that some think they know how to be a dad, but there are no dad classes. It's different than anything you think it's go- ing to be. You are changed instantly and he's changed. I see it. Until you do it, you don't understand. He knows he's different and we all know he's different. You feel differ- ent about how you are going to spend your time, what you are going to do and how you carry yourself. "Charles Barkley says he's not a role model. I don't think anyone says that when they become a dad. You are a role model for that child and you know it." Wide receiver coach Mi- chael Smith has three daugh- ters. He calls becoming a fa- ther "a blessed opportunity. That's what my grandmother called it." Smith was on the phone with his mother when Biele- ma popped into his office with Briella. "We were on FaceTime," Smith said. "So she got to see Briella. I saw the joy in Bret's face when my mom got to see her. You feel it and see it. "Bret has that sparkle in his eyes now. You only get that when you are a dad. It's pretty cool. "It's always been great to work with Bret because he wants our kids around. I re- member asking if I could take my kids to school for the first day of class. He said, 'Hell, yeah!' He preaches about family. It's tight around here. We work, but he understands family and it's pretty cool to see his family grow." Tight ends coach Barry Lunney said it's not really a major change for the head coach to play the role of fa- ther. "I know him pretty well and know his heart," Lunney said. "So I knew he'd take to (being a father) immediately. It would be natural. His ap- proach is that he's a parent to all of us, players and coaches. The part that he had to learn was the diapers and the bot- tles. But he's gotten it pretty quickly. "It's been fun to see both Bret and Jen in this role, but I don't think it was that big of a change for him. He's been a dad to all of us." Anderson said he's provid- ed dad advice. "He's got one," Anderson said. "I've got five and a set of twins. I've told him about what it's like with twins. We laugh about that. I do know I wasn't worried about him being a dad. I see how he is with kids. He loves my five kids and he's always going to interact with them. It's just his way. He's always been that guy with kids. I do know that there are times you are already tired when you get to work because of a late-night with a sick kid. He under- stands that. The baby is up. "It's still pretty cool when you see it happen. You know he's exactly like the rest of us. When that little girl is asleep, you go in the room and lean into their face. You want to feel that breath on your face to know they are still OK, still breathing. I did that. I know he's doing that." Clay Henry can be reached at chenry@nwadg.com. Bielema becomes 'Daddy B' WHOLE HOG SPORTS Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema brought his 1-month-old daughter, Briella, to a news conference in August to introduce her to the media. Arkansas coaches say new dad Bielema is walking on Cloud 9. Coaches poll m The preseason USA Today coaches top 25 football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final 2016 records, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, and last season's final ranking: 2016 REC. PTS PVS 1. Alabama (49) 14-1 1603 2 2. Ohio State (5) 11-2 1512 6 3. Florida State (4) 10-3 1434 8 4. Southern Cal 10-3 1415 5 5. Clemson (7) 14-1 1367 1 6. Penn State 11-3 1257 7 7. Washington 12-2 1245 4 8. Oklahoma 11-2 1237 3 9. Michigan 10-3 959 10 10. Wisconsin 11-3 936 9 11. Oklahoma State 10-3 912 11 12. LSU 8-4 834 14 13. Auburn 8-5 819 22 14. Stanford 10-3 732 12 15. Georgia 8-5 701 NR 16. Florida 9-4 681 13 17. Louisville 9-4 676 20 18. Miami 9-4 472 23 19. Kansas State 9-4 339 NR 20. West Virginia 10-3 319 17 21. South Florida 11-2 247 19 22. Virginia Tech 10-4 235 16 23. Texas 5-7 193 NR 24. Tennessee 9-4 155 24 25. Utah 9-4 109 21 OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES Washington State 99, Colorado 72, TCU 58, Boise State 49, Notre Dame 49, Texas A&M 46, Pittsburgh 45, N.C. State 39, Or- egon 37, Northwestern 25, Nebraska 23, Memphis 22, Arkansas 22, Mississippi State 19, San Diego State 18, Appalachian State 11, BYU 10, Georgia Tech 10, Tulsa 10, Wyoming 9, Western Michigan 8, Temple 8, North Carolina 8, Houston 7, Troy 6, Minnesota 6, Iowa 5, Louisiana Tech 4, Syracuse 3, Arizona 2, Army 1, Colorado State 1, Michigan State 1, Maryland 1, Toledo 1, UCLA 1. Preseason polls CLAY HENRY COMMENTARY AP poll m The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2016 records, total points based on 25 points for a first- place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and 2016 final ranking: Record Pts Pv 1. Alabama (52) 14-1 1513 2 2. Ohio St. (3) 11-2 1414 6 3. Florida St. (4) 10-3 1396 8 4. Southern Cal (2) 10-3 1325 3 5. Clemson 14-1 1201 1 6. Penn St. 11-3 1196 7 7. Oklahoma 11-2 1170 5 8. Washington 12-2 1150 4 9. Wisconsin 11-3 926 9 10. Oklahoma St. 10-3 889 11 11. Michigan 10-3 881 10 12. Auburn 8-5 880 24 13. LSU 8-4 784 13 14. Stanford 10-3 695 12 15. Georgia 8-5 690 NR 16. Louisville 9-4 629 21 17. Florida 9-4 624 14 18. Miami 9-4 492 20 19. South Florida 11-2 327 19 20. Kansas St. 9-4 317 NR 21. Virginia Tech 10-4 240 16 22. West Virginia 10-3 207 18 23. Texas 5-7 173 NR 24. Washington St. 8-5 133 NR 25. Tennessee 9-4 114 22 OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: TCU 98, Utah 85, Notre Dame 65, Boise St. 37, NC State 26, Northwestern 25, Pittsburgh 23, Oregon 21, Houston 19, Colorado 18, UCLA 9, San Diego St. 9, BYU 5, Appalachian St. 4, Nebraska 4, Tulsa 4, Kentucky 3, Texas A&M 3, Michigan St. 1.

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