By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
Every so often the New England Patriots will dip into the college football coaching well and pull another prospect from the pool in hopes of bolstering an already stacked coaching staff.
This time around it’s former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema who’s getting the call up to the big boy league by Bill Belichick.
Over the course of the off-season Bielema jumped aboard with the Patriots during the NFL Combine and was with the team during the pre-draft process, helping with scouting and activities leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
He was even spotted at the combine with the Patriots’ contingent, and was also seen wearing New England gear at USC’s Pro Day.
His knowledge of the college game can’t go unnoticed, especially his run in the SEC, where he’s had three players drafted by the Patriots over the course of the last four years – running back James White (Wisconsin, 2014), defensive end Trey Flowers(Arkansas, 2015) and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. (Arkansas, 2017).
Following the draft, Bielema reportedly worked in more of a coaching role during rookie minicamp and now he’s been involved with the teams through their first run of OTAs.
Former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has continued to work for the Patriots after the draft. Look for him to be involved with coaching duties as the team begins its rookie minicamp tomorrow.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 10, 2018
And those coaching duties have continued through minicamp and into OTAs.
Observations from practice, Part III:— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 22, 2018
* Julian Edelman still not a full participant but cutting and taking punt return reps. Missed one, and put himself back in drill to atone.
* Bret Bielema on field helping as coach.
* Feels good to watch “football” and tweet about it again.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, he observed Bielema spending a majority of his time working with New England’s defensive linemen, specifically working on pass rushing technique and field-goal protection.
“At one point I watched him simulate snaps for them as they worked on pass-rushing technique and field-goal protection,” said Reiss during one of his quick-hits.
When Belichick was asked about Bielema’s role on the team, he pulled the usual Bill move and commended his coaching staff as a whole.
“We have a good staff,” said Belichick. “We have a lot of great people. I’m very fortunate to be working with a lot of talented people and they all help me a lot. They all do a great job – our support people, our coaching staff, scouting staff, all the other people in video, training, equipment and so forth, operations. We have a real good support staff and they all do a critical job as part of our success. Glad we have them.”
According to Michael David Smith of ProFootball Talk, “he is likely to have some role on the defensive side of the ball, where the Patriots have not announced a replacement for the departed defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Brian Flores is expected to call the defensive plays for the Patriots.”
Bielema was head coach at Arkansas for five years before being fired this past November. And he held the same role at Wisconsin for seven years. Prior to that he was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State and linebackers coach at Iowa.
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.