Bedford Ball: Aggressive & Fun

Vance Bedford has played in the secondary for a pretty stout Texas Longhorns defense. He's played in the NFL with the Cardinals. He's coached at Michigan in front of 100,000 blue and maize faithful. And, he's coached in the black and blue division of the NFL with the Chicago Bears. That's all pretty heady stuff, but it will be a matchup with Montana State coordinating the Oklahoma State defense that has him more excited than just about any moment in his football playing and coaching career.

Bedford has made it no secret -- his personality and his desired way of playing defense will be evident from the first defense he calls on Saturday night.

"We want to be aggressive, first play of the game I want the front four to just tee off and whatever happens we're going to live with it," said an excited Bedford. "They might run it for 50 yards or throw it for 45 yards, but as long as the guys are playing hard and somebody is going to get hit then I'm all for it."

Cowboy fans are hoping for somebody to get hit and a ballcarrier knocked to the ground, or better yet a ball knocked loose or picked out the air, but Bedford isn't kidding. The tone will be set with the first bone-jarring hit. There have been a few of them this fall in practice. There has also been an urgency to get every defensive player to the ball. It's preached all the time and Bedford is good at sounding just like that fire and brimstone Baptist minister in the pulpit on Sunday.

"I told the guys the other day if we make a mistake and miss a tackle, as long as we have a third, fourth, fifth and sixth guy flying to the football we're going to have a chance to be successful," said Bedford followed by an imaginary hallelujah. "It's like if you throw a piece of meat in there with a bunch of paranhas -- that's what I want to see every single snap. If not, they are going to be on the sideline with me holding my water bottle, and don't worry about it because if they can't run to the football then they can't play."

The entire defensive unit has bought into Bedford's defensive sermons, including four senior linebackers that have done it another way the past three seasons. Middle linebacker Lawrence Pinson will call the defensive plays on the field, reading signals from Joe DeForest handed out by Bedford. It sounds like Pinson and Bedford have been cut from the same cloth.

"This is my last season and I just want to go out there and have fun," said Pinson. "In the past I've been worried about what people are thinking or worried about my ankle hurting and stuff. This is my last season and I'm just going to lay it on the line and have fun and hit people."

Back to that excitement, Bedford may be even more excited than new head coach Mike Gundy -- or at least just as excited. Like Pinson, fun is high on his list for Saturday night.

"I'm just trying to keep from having a heart attack myself," said the very well conditioned Bedford. "I'm going to be a little excited on the sidelines. Hopefully I can get the defense out but if not coach DeForest is standing right beside me holding my hand. The biggest thing I'm telling the guys right now is let's go have some fun. If we're having fun then we will be successful. Sometimes we make things so tough on the players that they don't enjoy themselves. It's still a game and they are young men and I want to have fun. If I'm having fun then they should have fun also."

Cowboys fans are looking forward to it and should join in the fun as well as they've been waiting to see an attacking defense back in Stillwater.

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