Bret Bielema may not be a fan of the hurry-up-no-huddle offense, but he didn't waste a lot of time in offering an apology about recent comments he made, either.
"It was brought to my attention that remarks I made yesterday evening while discussing a proposed rule change were unintentionally hurtful," said Bielema in a statement. "I am very passionate, as we all are, about the serious nature of protecting the well-being of student-athletes, and earlier today I was interviewed by SI.com writer Andy Staples to explain my stance on the proposed rule. In my press conference last night, I referenced information about the tragic loss of a life of a student-athlete. My comments were intended to bring awareness to player safety and instead they have caused unintended hurt. As a head coach who works with young individuals every day, the passing of Ted Agu is a reminder to us all how short and precious life is. I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family."
Bielema found himself in some hot water after saying he had "death certificates" as proof that up-tempo offenses lead to more injuries, citing the recent death of Cal player Ted Agu. Bielema clarified his comments a bit by explaining he worries about the players on his team, and other teams, with the sickle cell trait. His clarification, however, wasn't enough to stop people from vocalizing their displeasure with the way Bielema would use the death of a player as a way to further his own agenda in regards to getting a rule passed.
Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was one such critic, as she addressed Bielema's comments on Twitter Friday evening.
Bret Bielema's comments about our Ted Agu are misinformed, ill-advised and beyond insensitive— Sandy Barbour (@gobearsAD) February 21, 2014
Using the tragic loss of one of our student athletes as a platform to further a personal agenda in a public setting is beyond inappropriate— Sandy Barbour (@gobearsAD) February 21, 2014
The proposed rule, which proposes that offenses can't snap the ball before the 29-second mark of the play clock to allow defensive substitutions, will be voted on March 6.