Bret Bielema is not used to losing. During his last three years as the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, his teams won three straight Big Ten titles and appeared in three consecutive Rose Bowl Games.
So to say that last year, his first as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, was a wake-up call for Bielema would be an understatement. To his credit, he took over a program that had hit rock bottom. The disastrous season under John L. Smith had left the program thin on talent and confidence. But Bielema still could not have seen a 3-9 season coming, especially after his team got off to a 3-0 start.
As Bielema addressed the SEC Media Days on Wednesday, it was clear that he was putting 2013 in the rear view mirror and moving on.
In what many will call a gimmick, Bielema introduced what he called Hoganese during spring practice. Hoganese is a language that’s spoken only by those associated with the program. It’s designed to help players and coaches in making quick decisions on the field without the opponent knowing what they are talking about.
Every team has its own verbiage and language, so Hoganese is nothing special, really. But Bielema is trying to get his players thinking about making plays and getting better. And, more importantly, getting better and winning more games.
Hoganese may or may not help the Hogs in 2014. The play of quarterback Brandon Allen and running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams will have a larger effect on the team.
But for a coach that’s desperate to get back to winning, even a gimmick is not out of the question.
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.