(Eds: Updates.) By KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer Bret Bielema wasted little time in playing to the eager crowd.
The new Arkansas football coach picked up the microphone at halftime of the Razorbacks' basketball game against Tennessee, said some kind words about his first few months in Fayetteville and then laid down the gauntlet - for himself and his coaching staff - to a state hanging on his every word.
''We came to Arkansas for all the same reason,'' Bielema said. ''We didn't come here to play in the (Southeastern Conference); we came here to win the SEC. And that's what we're going to do.''
The roar of approval was deafening inside Bud Walton Arena. It was exactly the kind of moment, and bravado, that a program still smarting from a season gone south was craving. So far, it appears the masses couldn't be happier with a coach who prides himself on directness, one who feels like he has plenty left to prove even after leading the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowl appearances.