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Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema Needs to Take High Road in Twitter War

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema
Arkansas head coach Bret BielemaWesley Hitt/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 23, 2013

Arkansas made a big splash during the coaching silly season, luring former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema away from Madison in favor of greener pastures in Fayetteville.

Since his hiring was announced on Dec. 4, the first-year Razorback head coach has made a splash of his own on social media, not holding back at responding to Wisconsin fans who are upset with his departure.

Here are a few samplings of Bielema's responses on Twitter to Badger fans since taking the Arkansas job.

“@rcorn: @bretbielema Go Badgers, you're a trader.”Hope as a father of 4 you begin to think before you tweet stupid things. #GoHogs #1-0

— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) January 2, 2013

Okay, not terribly harsh. But how 'bout this one?

“@jay_skebba: Really don't know why @bretbielema poke Badger reporters in the ribs. That makes you just as infantile. #MoveOn”We did. #1-0

— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) January 21, 2013

And last but not least...

“@brettgaydos: @bretbielema cant win big ten games but you think you can ompete in the SEC??? Yea right”Check stats, and go back to sleep.

— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) December 11, 2012

With the exception of South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, LSU's Les Miles and that one-year failed Lane Kiffin experiment at Tennessee, we get a lot of coach speak in the SEC. So on one hand, Bielema's candor and willingness to engage fans on Twitter is refreshing.

But in this particular case, it's probably not the best move in the world.

I'm sure Arkansas fans like to see their new coach getting their back. As a writer, it's certainly a nice distraction from your everyday offseason storylines like transfers, arrests and—gulp—fake girlfriends. Bielema is probably enjoying himself as well.

But for Wisconsin fans—at least some of them—it's probably a little more personal than your average college football conversation with a random fan online.

Maybe Bielema should take the high road when it comes to engaging Wisconsin fans who are clearly upset with his departure from Madison. That's not to say he shouldn't still have fun on Twitter. He absolutely should, but maybe in a less mean-spirited way.

Fair or not—and it's not—he's going to come off looking like the bad guy in this down the road. It's impossible to convey tone on the Internet, and even if he's joking around—which he clearly is—it might not be interpreted that way by the people he's talking to or, perhaps more importantly, potential recruits and their families.

Bielema has been a breath of fresh air, but he needs to tone it down a little in the ongoing battle with Wisconsin fans.

 

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