FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he was beside himself Saturday night after the 45-21 loss at Auburn.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he was beside himself Saturday night after the 45-21 loss at Auburn.

Bielema admitted he probably wasn’t pleasant to be around Sunday morning, either, because of the sting from another frustrating game. It was his 10th straight loss with the Razorbacks.

But Arkansas’ second-year coach said his disappointment began to fade when he reviewed Saturday’s game on film.

"The more I watched film and the more I saw things that I know are going to have an effect on us winning games down the road, it makes you feel good," Bielema said.

The Razorbacks (0-1) hope that progress will be rewarded — finally — when they play their home opener against Nicholls State (0-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Arkansas will face the Colonels, a Football Championship Subdivision program playing a Southeastern Conference school for the first time. Nicholls State also carries a seven-game losing streak into the game. It means the Razorbacks are heavy favorite to end a 10-game losing skid that began Sept. 21, 2013.

But Bielema doesn’t care who the opponent is Saturday. He just wants the Razorbacks’ growth — which he recognizes on film — to lead to something the program can "feel good about" as Arkansas comes off the field after a game.

"I think one of the things that happens when you are in a situation like this is, just as when you are winning, it is very hard to stop that streak," he said. "It is important for our guys to realize they can’t accept defeat. They can’t accept a losing attitude."

Arkansas appeared to take a step in the right direction in the first half at Auburn.

The Razorbacks fell behind 21-7, but scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to tie the game at halftime. Then Arkansas collapsed in the second half. Auburn outscored the Razorbacks 24-0 to hand them their 13th straight SEC loss.

"We’ve got to be able to sustain it," Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Sunday. "We’re looking for consistency. I felt like we played with a lot of energy, a lot of passion, a lot of belief in the first half. I didn’t sense we had that confidence and that swagger about us in the second half."

Bielema said fatigue played a factor, which he plans to correct by getting more snaps for reserves. So did Auburn’s momentum with a home crowd in their favor.

Bielema wanted his team’s progress to be measured in a win, but believes "some people probably in that stadium and on that other sideline knew a little bit more about us" after Arkansas’ performance in the opener anyway.

"I’m sure all of us growing up in life, you probably took a beating or two," Bielema said. "As much as I disliked it, my brothers used to whoop me every day. I have a feeling I’m probably a stronger man today because of it. We took our beatings last year a couple of times. We took the worst two probably in the Alabama and South Carolina games. We took that as an opportunity to say it’s not going to happen again."

But to get wins — actual wins — Arkansas will have to fix some obvious flaws.

Much like last year, receivers dropped a handful of passes. There were a few mistakes up front that led to problems. Then there’s the defense.

The unit made its debut under new coordinator Robb Smith, but the first impression didn’t look much different than last year’s disappointing group. Bielema said defensive backs were slow to react at times and there was a glaring number of missed tackles. Auburn gashed Arkansas’ secondary in the first half, then ran over the Razorbacks in the second half en route to a 595-yard effort.

"What I stress to the guys more than anything is how quick Auburn gets up and looks to the sideline for their play selection or their information," Bielema said. "They can’t fix their socks or pick themselves up or take a deep breath. They’ve got to snap their eyes and go. I think that was part of a learning experience for our defensive staff and our players. Especially first-year players."

Smith said Sunday the defense knows it has to get better and planned to take a "long, hard look in the mirror" after the struggles.

"It was a rough game for all of us," Smith said. "It is what it is — 45 points. That’s not how any of us envisioned this would go."

The process began Monday, when Arkansas began to put together its game plan for Nicholls State. Bielema and the Razorbacks are disappointed with the results from the season opener, but plan to make the most of their next game.

"We’re guaranteed 12 opportunities in this season, and we failed in the first one," Bielema said. "So although there were a lot of positives and a lot of really, really good things, we’re only guaranteed 11 more opportunities. And what we do with those 11 opportunities are going to determine the success or failure of this season."