Things did not go well for Bret Bielema during his first year as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. The season started with three straight wins, but nine straight losses followed, including all eight Southeastern Conference games.
To say that Bielema and his team need to bounce back is an understatement. But the offseason has not been good to the Hogs so far.
On National Signing Day, Arkansas signed a class that was ranked 29th in the nation by Rivals.com. That seems like a pretty high ranking, until one considers that the class ranked 11th out of 14 SEC teams, and sixth out of the seven SEC West teams (the Mississippi State Bulldogs were ranked lower).
Bielema did sign some players that figure to help the Hogs at some point. Included in that group were three recruits who earned a four-star ranking – quarterback Rafe Peavey, defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson and offensive lineman Brian Wallace.
However, there simply weren’t enough difference makers in the class, especially at skill positions.
Speaking of players at skill positions, there was another story of bad news for the Arkansas program earlier this week. Bielema announced that Alex Collins, who led the Hogs in rushing last season, had been suspended from football-related activities. Bielema said that Collins’ status would be reviewed in a week to determine where he stands.
Collins and fellow running back Jonathan Williams were really the only offensive weapons that Arkansas had last season. If it turns out that Collins’ suspension lasts into the 2014 campaign, that could be another blow to a program that is reeling right now.
This is certainly not how Bielema envisioned things going in Fayetteville. And if something doesn’t turn around soon, it could be another long year for the Hogs.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.