As the head coach for a talent-rich program in Arkansas, Floyd knows that he
needs to maintain a relationship with new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema.
However, his loyalties elsewhere as he set numerous state passing records in
high school and was then mentored as a coach by first-year Auburn front
man Gus Malzahn.
As the tension between the two SEC coaches escalates over the national debate
over offensive tempo, Floyd finds himself in an awkward position. He tried to
stay out of it as best he could at the National Select 7-on-7 presented by Under
"I think people are going to say whatever they need to say to help their program
and their situations," Floyd said. "I don't think coaches in the state took what
(Bielema) said as a negative or anything but I do think that it is only natural
for any person to try to help themselves.
"It didn't make me mad, but what he believes isn't what I believe. When he talks
about player safety and the spread versus old fashioned football or real
football or whatever he called it I just don't think that there is anything to
back his claims."
At the recently completed SEC Media Days, Bielema -- who said that he wanted to
play "normal American football" -- continued with his position that spread
football was unsafe.
"All I know is this: There are times when an offensive player and a defensive
player are on the field for an extended amount of time without a break. You
cannot tell me that a player after play five is the same player that he is after
play 15," Bielema said. "If that exposes him to a risk of injury, then that's my
fault. I can't do anything about it because the rules do not allow me to
substitute a player in whether I'm on offense or defense.
"The problem that people have is you look at it just from an offensive or
defensive point of view. I'm looking at it from a head coach's point of view,
that the personal well-being and safety of my players is paramount."
Floyd said that the point of the spread is to tire the opposition -- not to
injure them -- and that creates an advantage late in the game.
He also said that playing a physical brand of football is intended to do the
"Is it any safer to be getting run over play after play against Alabama? I know
those defensive guys are tired in the fourth quarter by design," Floyd said. "If
(Bielema) is going to try to play the smash mouth brand of football that they
did at Wisconsin is there anything to suggest that running guys over is safer,
or that all the battles in the trenches are safer? I don't think so.
"I know that we are going to run the system that has been engrained into my
brain -- and what I have engrained into our players mind -- and I don't think
that it is going to change at any program in this state (that run the spread)
because they have had a lot of success."
Malzahn was equally defiant, saying that there is nothing about the system that
he helped to create which increases injury.
"When I first heard that, to be honest with you, I thought it was a joke," he
said. "As far as health or safety issues, that's like saying the defense
shouldn't blitz after a first down because they're a little fatigued and there's
liable to be a big collision in the backfield."
This conflict in coaching style could spill over into a recruiting issue.
Locking in the best in-state players is a staple for college football programs
around the country. Unfortunately for Beilema, there are few high school
programs playing power football in the state of Arkansas.
Floyd said that probably means the Razorbacks will have to be active in other
"There are talented kids in Arkansas and whether a wide receiver is in a spread
or a power offense you can see what he can do so I don't think there will be an
issue with skill players but on the line it will be different and really at
quarterback it is very different," Floyd said. "I think (Bielema) knows that he
won't be able to get 10 or 15 guys on his roster from this state to play on the
line and that means he will have to go to other states.
"If you are going to be successful at Arkansas you have to recruit Texas anyways
and so he will probably have to find more of his type of players there."
Bielema was forthcoming with his recruiting plan and acknowledged that Floyd was
on the mark with his targeted region.
"Obviously the state again is the first priority, but we want to make a huge
push in Texas," Bielema said. "Obviously the only SEC school in Texas is Texas A&M; there's a lot of good players. If certain schools in the state aren't doing
that great, it opens up a certain avenue for us to get into.
"We have a certain alumni that built a stadium in the middle of Dallas that is
very big. He won a national championship when he was a player at Arkansas. Jerry
Jones has made the commitment he wants to make everything he can about Arkansas
"We've moved into Texas, east Texas," Bielema said. "We've had six, sometimes
seven, eight coaches in Texas at any given time. If we can help make the
transition from Texas to Arkansas a little bit smoother, we'll do that."
He also maintained that no matter how many of the top programs in the state are
loyal to the Malzahn offense he was not going to deviate from a formula that he
"I'm not a guy that starts in the back end and works forward," Bielema said.
"I'm going to start with the offensive line and defensive line, two staples I
believe are important for winning games that I want our team to play.
"Doesn't matter if we're in the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, whatever it is. It's
something I emphasize from day one."
Floyd said that winning on the field will be all that the kids care about and so
long as Bielema continues with the improved relationships he has built that
Arkansas shouldn't have problems attracting local talent.
"Coach Bielema has been very open to all of us (high school coaches)," Floyd
said. "I have gone and watched practice twice and each time he has come over and
taken time to talk with me and it was not like that the last few years. Not at
"I think that he has won over a lot of the high school coaches here and whether
his system is smash mouth or real football you won't see us or Fayetteville or
Rogers making a move to it. He is obviously a smart enough coach to get the
players in there that he wants and I am sure he will be able to use our spread
guys in his offense."
Bielema said that he isn't implying that programs need to change to appease him
but that his focus will remain on safety.
"If you want to play hurry-up offense, play it. I'll play you, I don't care," he
said. "But it doesn't mean that I cannot try to protect my players offensively
and defensively. I have just as many offensive players as I have defensive
players. That's the facts."