GAINESVILLE -- Arkansas coach Bret Bielema mades waves Wednesday when he called Florida “the new Ole Miss,” adding, “They’re doing some things in recruiting that kind of shocks you a little bit.”
Bret Bielema shading #Gators: “Florida kind of the new Ole Miss. They’re doing some things recruiting that kind of shocks you a little bit.”— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) February 3, 2016
Not so, according to Bielema, who quickly backpedaled and explained that he was actually complimenting Ole Miss, currently under an NCAA investigation for recruiting violations, and Florida.
Gators coach Jim McElwain wasn’t buying it, though.
“You got to get a kick out of it a little bit because obviously this guy doesn't know who the heck I am,” McElwain said.
“I sure as heck don't know who he is. I'm not sure we really ran into him on the recruiting trail, but you know I know what I'm all about. I know what the University of Florida is all about and I think if you were to poll anybody in college football I think that they'd know that Mac does it right. I have no idea what this guy was talking about to be honest.”
During Wednesday’s National Signing Day, JUCO three-star cornerback Joseph Putu flipped from Arkansas to UF, while the Gators also beat out the Razorbacks (among others) for talented four-star receiver Tyrie Cleveland.
Bielema told reporters he called McElwain to apologize, and it was “received well.”
“I said something earlier that came across in the wrong way, I guess. I was paying a compliment to Florida. We’ve seen them kind of pop up everywhere. Before my last couple years here, really had only competed against Florida in Georgia and Florida itself a lot, because I love to recruit Florida. Well, this last week we were competing against them on a wide receiver in Texas, a running back, a player in Louisiana and a player in North Dakota. And I’ve never seen that before; that’s all I was making reference to.
“It’s kind of like last week, we stumbled across an offensive lineman in Illinois and I really liked him and started to proceed with him and found out he _ before I got anything going _ had had committed to Ole Miss. And I told my staff, ‘Ole Miss, they’re everywhere.’ That’s kind of the comment we make. It wasn’t in reference to anything other than that. I mean that wholeheartedly and honestly, and when I said that earlier, I was paying a compliment to Florida.”
Interestingly enough, Florida travels to Arkansas for the first time since 2003 on Nov. 5.
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