FOXBORO — Last season, his first in New England, Bret Bielema did a bunch of different things.
The former Arkansas head coach coordinated a bunch of different projects and worked with a number of different players, bouncing all around to different positional groups during meetings and practices. Now, he has his own group as he will serve as the Patriots’ defensive line coach this coming season.
As for how the new role came about following serving as a consultant of sorts last year, Bielema wasn’t totally surprised by the promotion.
“The timeline has probably been a work in progress, but also I kind of had an idea and a direction after the Super Bowl — this is where we’re going, this what what we’re doing,” he said at Gillette Stadium on Friday. “For me, almost a year and a half ago when my transition happened at Arkansas, I still have different things personally and professionally I wanted to accomplish, but I just really bought into what Coach [Bill Belichick] preaches all the time — just come in and do your work daily. That is all I try to do and with that comes with more responsibility and I think that’s awesome.”
Following the loss of Trey Flowers via free agency, as well as Malcom Brown and likely Danny Shelton, the unit will need to make up their production, which will be easier said than done.
Bielema is looking forward to the challenge, especially knowing how much Belichick values the defensive line position.
“Especially with Coach Belichick, I think [defensive line]’s always been an emphasis; of how that group plays and the foundation of establishing things up front," he said. "And I think the guys come here knowing that. The guys that have been here, the guys that are coming in now understand that. So it’s kind of easy to let them know where we stand and what we expect.”
The 49-year-old has a solid group of players to work with including newcomers Mike Pennel and Michael Bennett.