Film Issue Adds Fuel To Auburn Feud With Arkansas
Bret Bielema's war of words with Auburn is alive and well.
The Arkansas coach's latest issue with the Tigers' coaching staff came as a result of game video Auburn shared with the Razorbacks, footage Bielema said painted a less-than-complete picture of the Tigers' plays.
"There are just some clips that haven't, shall we say, the TV copy doesn't match the film copy," Bielema said.
Bielema's complaint, which he said he filed with the Southeastern Conference, is the most recent in a series of run-ins with Auburn for the first-year Arkansas coach -- dating back to back-and-forth banter between he and Tigers coach Gus Malzahn during the summer.
The video issue adds an additional layer of intrigue to Saturday's game between the struggling Razorbacks (3-5, 0-4 SEC) and No. 8 Auburn, a game in which Arkansas welcomes home its former offensive coordinator and native son, Malzahn.
The Tigers (7-1, 3-1) have experienced immediate success in their first season under the former Arkansas State coach who also served as the offensive coordinator at Auburn during its national championship season in 2010.
The latest bit of success for the Tigers was last week's 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic, a game Bielema watched a television copy of while Arkansas had its first bye week of the season.
It was while comparing the television copy of the game and the video Auburn sent that Bielema found a difference.
"On the TV copy, they have a swinging gate at the beginning of the play, which obviously happened," Bielema said. "It was on the TV copy. And when we got the video copy from them today, that exact same play doesn't show any of the gate.
"... So, if I hadn't watched the TV copy, or if our guys hadn't had the time to go back and review, we would have never known that to happen."
During SEC media days in July, Bielema had his first run-in with Malzahn after the Auburn coach said he thought Bielema's concerns for player safety in a no-huddle, hurry-up system were "a joke."
"I'm not a comedian," Bielema responded.
The Malzahn-Bielema exchange was followed by another bit of public banter between the Arkansas coach and another Auburn coach in August following an injury to Arkansas tight end Austin Tate.
Following Tate's injury, Tigers assistant coach Tim Horton -- previously an assistant at Arkansas -- tweeted his well-wishes to the tight end for a speedy recovery. His tweet, however, came a day before Bielema planned to release news of the injury -- leading to a phone conversation between the two.
"I go over in detail our players, our coaches, our media in-house and, of course, he we release information," Bielema said at the time. "I forgot to review this with the Auburn staff.
Bielema's complaint about the lacking video on Monday overshadowed what's been a difficult first season for the former Wisconsin coach with the Razorbacks. Arkansas enters the game against the Tigers having lost five straight games, the longest losing streak of Bielema's career as a head coach.
While the Razorbacks have struggled in their first year with a new coach, Auburn's fortunes have quickly turned under Malzahn following last season's 3-9 record.
Malzahn's quick success has led to increased scrutiny of Bielema at home because of Malzahn's ties to Arkansas as a former assistant coach and long-time high school coach there.
Monday's video complaint just adds another subplot to the relationship between the two head coaches, as well as Saturday's game.
"I'm sure it's a glitch," Bielema said. "I know Gus stands for everything that's right and (has) great faith in doing things right. So, I'm sure it's just a glitch that they'll get to the bottom of."