GREEN BAY – While there might be some mixed feelings among University of Wisconsin fans and alumni about coach Bret Bielema departing to take over at the University of Arkansas, the two ex-Razorbacks in the Green Bay Packers locker room – long-snapper Brett Goode and tight end D.J. Williams did everything but let out a Woo Pig Sooie! about the news.
Neither Williams nor Goode had ever crossed paths with Bielema during their time with the Packers and his time with the Badgers, but they liked what they’d been hearing from friends back in Fayetteville, Ark., and reading about him.
“(I’m) looking forward to meeting him, getting a feel for him. I’ve heard he’s a great guy, which is what Arkansas needs at the moment,” said Williams, referring to the scandal that ended the tenure of his head coach, Bobby Petrino, at the school. “I feel like what he’s going to bring to the table is a physical run game, obviously, and that’s what I guess LSU and Georgia and ‘Bama have put on the table and it’s been successful. Hopefully he can recruit some big boys like they’ve got (at Wisconsin) too. I think he’s going to change the way Arkansas has been the last few years, but change for the good.”
“It’s good to have a good coach and a system. From what we know, he’s a good character guy, a stand-up guy, and that’s exactly what the program needs. I think he’s going to find that the resources at Arkansas are unlimited, and I think he’s going to be very pleased with that. He’s going to be in a great area for recruiting, especially having ties up here, too, so Arkansas could be doing some dangerous things in the next couple years.”
Goode, who said his only experience with Bielema was seeing him when the Razorbacks played the Badgers in the 2006 Capital One Bowl, said the hiring may not make the Razorbacks instant contenders in the SEC West, but it will eventually.
“I like it. I think he’s a good fit – definitely defensive minded, and he starts the game up in the trenches, and I think that’s key right now with the way the SEC has kind of gone,” Goode said. “It’s going to be some rebuilding. I know that going into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in there and wins right away, but I think for him to have a good, solid program he’s going to have to get some of his kids in there the next three years, and the fans are going to have to be patient. If we really want to compete in the SEC West, because that really seems to be where it’s at right now, it’s going to have to take some time to build that up.
“They’ve made a lot of improvements, they’ve put a lot into the facilities there, a lot of money into academics as well. Fayetteville is a great spot, it’s a great place for family, and I think a lot of people want to be in the SEC.”
Williams said he hoped he could use the shared state of Wisconsin experience to get in good with Bielema, and in exchange he’d offer to teach the new coach how to wrestle cows – something Williams claimed in training camp was the secret to his offseason workout program.
“Oh, I’ll teach him,” Williams said. “I’ll take him down there. He’s going to have to learn a few things when ol’ Mr. Williams comes to town.”
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