FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was the guest speaker at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club’s weekly meeting Wednesday.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was the guest speaker at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club’s weekly meeting Wednesday.


He covered a variety of topics during his speech and a brief Q&A with the crowd. But Long also spent roughly 14 minutes answering questions from the media after the event. A wide range of topics were covered in the Q&A, including questions about former coach Bobby Petrino’s conduct, USC coach Pat Haden’s sideline antics last weekend, the John L. Smith hire in 2012 and current coach Bret Bielema’s progress in rebuilding the program.


Below are the highlights from the Q&A:


(On Pat Haden/comments) "Well, you know, Bill Hancock from the College Football Playoff issued a statement. But my view is very similar. You know, we can all get passionate about our teams, and you know, I’m passionate about the Arkansas Razorbacks. Matter of fact, I was at the volleyball game last night, and I was excited about some calls. But, you know, the Pac-12 handled it as they should. I think that it doesn’t affect the way that Pat Haden’s going to evaluate teams, make tough decisions when we come down to making tough decisions in the selection process. So, you know, I don’t think his actions affect his ability to serve extremely well on the Playoff Committee."


(on Steve Spurrier’s zero-tolerance take on domestic violence) "Well, certainly, domestic violence is a problem in our society. It’s not new. We’ve been dealing with it as a society for a long time. It’s certainly become more poignant to us in this recent situation with Ray Rice. But we’ve identified that. As far as intercollegiate athletics, you know, that’s part of our education process as I was talking about today. We teach our young people about domestic violence, warn them about what it means and what it is. So, you know what, we’re dealing with it. Should it be? I don’t think I can make that broad statement. Coach Spurrier can make some broad statements like that, but I choose not to make those things. But, me personally, absolutely, It is a high-level concern and something we would deal with in the appropriate way."


(On importance of Saturday’s game at Texas Tech) "It is important because we want to win them all. This is a important game. But as I shared in my comments today, we are building a program. A win or loss Saturday doesn’t take our program back. We are building the program. And again, we all want to win now. I want to win now. I want to win that game on Saturday. So does every student-athlete on that team and every coach. But no, I don’t see it as a significant setback if we weren’t to come out victorious. We are building a program and one that will be strong and consistently strong year after year."


(On how Arkansas stacks up with other programs) "I think we saw some really good things against Auburn that first half. I think we stood toe to toe. We faded in the second half for a number of different reasons that the coach has addressed. You know what - we didn’t struggle to beat a lesser opponent and there have been times when Arkansas teams have done that in the past. But we didn’t struggle. I think that is a good sign and we are making progress. I do think this game will give us a better indication of where we stand against like teams."


(On how Bielema handled frustration of losing streak) "You could see it with Coach Bielema. He’s generally an optimistic, upbeat person and I think that carries through his staff and carries through his players. I think that’s something that Coach Bielema has a gift for. He does have an energy, an enthusiasm, a positiveness about him that I think his staff and his players feed off of. To be honest with you, the staff feeds off of it. I feed off of it. I made the comment at the kickoff luncheon that he’s made football fun again. Some people took that to mean that ‘Oh, Jeff Long likes the 3-9.’ They knew that’s not what I meant. I love the way Bret Bielema is a players coach but has discipline, accountability, high expectations for their student athletes and they’re buying in and you can see that throughout their conduct, through their academic performance, and you’re gonna see it in their athletic performance as we build the program.


(On what makes him confident success off the field lead to success on the field) "Because I think on the successful teams I’ve been around, those things have been in place. The performance off the field, the discipline, the conduct, knowing who they represented, how they represent. Taking care of business off the field translates to taking care of business on the field. So if you’ve got a student-athlete who is attentive to his tutor appointments, his academics, his weight lifting, all those things, that translates to success. It takes a little bit of time. And again it is changing the culture. But I’m very confident that Bret is doing it the right way and building a strong program. I really believe that.


(On hiring John L. Smith for 2012 season) "I assess that it didn’t work. I think at the time, with the information that I had that I thought the John L. hire would be a good fit. I thought that I had strong offensive and defensive coordinators who could lead their sides of the ball. It didn’t turn out that way. You know, I’m comfortable enough with who I am and the job I do to understand that was not a good decision — in hindsight. However, I have looked back and looked at the options. While I won’t share with you the other options, I think still at that time it was the best option. It didn’t turn out that way."


(On elevator incident at Auburn) "Certainly we’re disappointed that the situation occurred for our football coaches. … I don’t think it had an impact on the ultimate outcome of the game. I don’t believe that. Now, I think maybe we could have made some halftime adjustments. That’s my point of view. Ultimately I don’t think it affected the outcome of the game. Auburn’s aware. They have responded appropriately and I’m sure they won’t have a problem with that going forward."


(On if Petrino changed how he evaluated a coach’s conduct) "Well, I will say that we, as an athletic director and department, we’re aware of our coaches’ conduct. And we were aware at the time and we handled those situations appropriately. But with Coach Bielema, it’s certainly a different atmosphere. Different approach to the game. Different philosophy. Different way of engaging the student-athletes in the program. Again, you can see that in off-the-field conduct. You can see that in the academic performance. You can see that in their involvement in community service and community learning situations. So, yeah, there’s a difference in philosophy, certainly. And I knew that when I hired Bret that there would be."


(On if he’s saying there were actions taken against Petrino when he was here?) "All I’m saying is that I’m aware of some of the things that have been alleged. I’m not aware of other things that have been alleged."


(On how he handles a coach’s behavior when it comes to treating other people in a derogatory way) "Those are, I’m going to use the escape … Those are personnel issues that I really don’t want to get into. But certainly, you know, coach Petrino had a way that he conducted the program and Bret has the way that he conducted the program and the way he interacts with people and staff and student-athletes. And they’re different and I knew that when I hired Bret it would be different."