'Swinging gate Gate' reopened: Bret Bielema, Gus Malzahn downplay Razorbacks' third quarter play call

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 2, 2013 

Auburn vs Arkansas

After a contentious year that saw the two disagree on numerous topics, it appears relations are warming between Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.

TODD J. VAN EMST — Auburn University

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema made headlines on Monday when he said the film Auburn provided didn't match the television copy. Gus Malzahn responded to the accusations the following day to come to the defense of his team.

The two protagonists met for a brief handshake at midfield prior to Saturday's kickoff, but the drama was far from over.

After the Tigers scored their first touchdown, they lined up in the disputed "Batman" formation — an unbalanced "swinging gate" look— before reverting into their normal extra-point configuration.

The Razorbacks raised the stakes on the final play of the third quarter, as they lined up in a "swinging gate formation" as well, picking up seven yards on a third down to set up a first-and-goal at the Tigers' 2-yard line.

In his postgame interview, Bielema dismissed that the play was done as a bit of gamesmanship, believing viewing in that light was simply people wanting to "read too much into that."

"I didn't even call it a gate," he said. "We didn't call it a Swinging Gate. It's called 'Field Goal Buehner' because (wide receiver (Brian) Buehner's in there. Buehner went in and Brey Cook comes out. We put it in on, practiced it one time Tuesday, one time Thursday and out there today."

Bielema said he drew the play up himself, wanting to take advantage of Buehner's athleticism.

"He had about three or four options there and made something happen and obviously kept our drive alive, but we've just got to kind of create," he said. "Where we're at, I think as a head coach, we have to create some first downs, which has been the fake punts and stuff like that. Good execution but not enough in the end."

Malzahn also refused to read too much into the call, simply deeming it a "good play."

"I almost called timeout and I was kind of kicking myself that I didn't call it before," he said. "It was a well-executed play."

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