PINE BLUFF — Bret Bielema showed off his professional auctioneer skills during Monday’s Pine Bluff Razorback Club dinner, trying to sell a frame of Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton.
He also did a little stand-up comedy, joking that a blonde lady could sell the frame faster than the man showing it off.
“I don’t own a Harley,” he said, drawing applause. “I am married to a beautiful, blonde lady. If you see her riding on a motorcycle, call me.”
The dining room in the Pine Bluff Country Club almost filled to capacity Bielema’s appearance at the sold-out dinner. The first-year Arkansas football coach visited Pine Bluff two days after his team played its annual Spring Game in Fayetteville.
When asked about the most pleasant surprise to him during the spring, Bielema didn’t refer to anything on the field.
“I think it’s events like this, being all around the state of Arkansas and being around great people and realizing the Razorback love is everywhere in the state,” he said.
Bielema gave an update on his lone Southeast Arkansan on the roster, redshirt freshman tight end Jeremy Sprinkle of White Hall. Sprinkle caught a touchdown pass in Saturday’s Red-White Game, but he wasn’t listed on the post-spring two-deep depth chart that was released Monday. Bielema, however, thinks Sprinkle can contribute.
“Jeremy’s doing very, very well,” Bielema said before his speech. “He put on about 18 pounds. He’s had a really, really good spring. Very productive. Like his athleticism, like what he brings to the table. I think he can definitely get on the field for us in certain situations.”
Bielema told the crowd he “thinks” sophomore Brandon Allen will be the starting quarterback unless a freshman emerges in the fall. Allen is listed as the first-string quarterback after being locked in a battle during with senior Brandon Mitchell during spring drills.
“Brandon Mitchell’s done a really nice job, but Brandon (Allen) really put himself in that position to be that guy right now. I like the way he handled not just the quarterback situation but all the other stuff, making decisions, making the plays, calling the plays in the huddle, being clean. It’s all good.”
Bielema said he’ll have a conversation later this week with Mitchell about where he can play on the field. Mitchell spent time as a wide receiver last season.
“The one thing I know is that he’s a good player who needs to be on the field,” Bielema said.
As for a Razorback with a similar last name, Bielema tested himself on a Pine Bluff connection in his program when he mentioned junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel. His father, Eric, played at Pine Bluff High School and at Oklahoma in the 1980s.
“Was (Eric) from Pine Bluff?” Bielema said, drawing affirmative nods. “I’m doing good.”