FAYETTEVILLE — Have you ever wondered where college football coaches ranked in Twitter followers?
The Tulsa World did and it resulted in this comprehensive list.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was fifth with 57,958 followers when the list was compiled Wednesday. His list was up to 58,247 this afternoon. The only coaches he trails are LSU's Les Miles, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Tennessee's Butch Jones and Georgia's Mark Richt. Miles is the only coach - for now - who has topped 100,000 followers.
Bielema's big following is no surprise considering the coach has embraced social media.
He told the Arkansas News Bureau earlier this year recruiting is the "only driving force" behind his Twitter activity because of the ability to communicate with prospects by sending them direct messages. Bielema said: "That is a way you can coorelate with prospective student athletes on a daily basis, on an hourly basis."
But we know Bielema hasn't been shy about interacting with Arkansas fans on twitter, either.
Or responding to hecklers.
A couple of recent examples:
Twitter heckle: @airbeseler: @BretBielema Hey Bart we'll never forget you in Wisconsin!!”
Bielema's response: Hard to forget me, when you keep following me. #moronalert #WPS
Twitter heckle: @johnRgordon: @BretBielema so you talk trash on twitter and it's entertaining. At least you're not a complete bust.
Bielema's response: You aren't either.
Twitter heckle: “@DoyleSean: @BretBielema Fat guy in a Cowboy hat. Sweet.”
Bielema's response: Feel better? At least I can take the hat off, seems you are stuck as you. #1-0
Twitter heckle: @EricBarrow: @BretBielema Like the fire. Could have used some of this on defense the last few years. #onwis
Bielema's response: Check your stats & B1G titles
Twitter heckle: “@notthefakejared: @BretBielema you should have been aware of that! #bonehead #gladyourgone”
Bielema's response: Thanks for your time and stupidity. #unfollow
Bielema was asked about his some of the aggressive responses he has tweeted and said it's simply part of his makeup. In his words: "I haven’t seen many passive people win a football game." But Bielema also added one of the other reasons he'll react is to set the record straight about anything inaccurate.
“The only thing I have there is if I want to draw attention to someone or something that’s completely opposite of reality," Bielema said. "The one thing we have in this world is when you pick up a newspaper or any type of periodical that you read, or on the internet, once you read it you think it’s true. I can go out there and print the most boldfaced lie there is and write something and people are going to believe it to be true because I said it. Just as it is with any other person.
"That’s the main thing when I usually step in is to point out a blatantly incorrect statement or something that is completely untrue.”
We know this: Bielema's willingness (and eagerness) to do so is a big reason he has a top five ranking - in Twitter followers - before coaching his first game at Arkansas.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau