A Conversation With Vance Bedford - Week 3

You have to understand that Cowboy defensive coordinator Vance Bedford doesn't mind the free lunch upstairs on Mondays and he seemed to like the lasagne served Monday, but it is what comes with it that isn't his favorite - talking to the media. He tries to savor the lunch and speed up the conversation.

You can pick a topic he likes, and Monday one topic was his defense and the effort they stepped up with in Saturday's 35-7 win over Arkansas State, especially after the Indians took a 7-0 lead by returning a Bobby Reid intercepted pass for a touchdown.

"Yes they did," Bedford said with gusto in confirming he thought his guys stepped up. "We had several guys take a leadership role like Ryan McBean, Larry Brown and Victor DeGrate. I pulled the guys over to the side after that touchdown and said, 'Men, it's time for us to step up. We need to get the ball back for our offense to score.' On defense our guys went out there and started playing. They didn't worry about making mistakes. They said, 'Coach, whatever we need to get done, let's go get it.'"

The first-team defense has yet to allow any points to be scored on them. The first game Missouri State scored on the backups and Arkansas State had only 188 yards on offense and the Indians lone touchdown was that defensive score. So that begs the question at what level could the Cowboys young defense meet their match?

"I can only go as far as Florida Atlantic," said Bedford. "I'm concerned about them right now and I'm not thinking about anyone in the future. I'm living in the present right now. We have to get our guys past this previous ballgame and get ready for Florida Atlantic here at home. After we get past this ballgame then maybe I can think about somebody else. I'm concerned about their quarterback, running backs and receivers right now."

We walked right into that one, and we dove into another when we asked how Bedford plans to make the 0-2 Owls sound like a challenge for his aggressive defenders.

"I just know one thing and that is that there are a lot of players from Florida on that football team," explained Bedford. "The state of Florida puts out a lot of good football players. That means they have speed on offense and that they can strike fast, so I am concerned about that and those are the things that as a defensive staff we are going to talk about to our players."

Of course, it is not just preparing for Florida Atlantic, but also preparing his defense to improve. Bedford said their tackling was better and they cleaned up the miscommunication on coverages that were there in the opener. The Cowboy defensive coordinator said he's all about getting better every week.

"Each week is that way and each week we work on the basic fundamentals and getting better," said Bedford. "Technique, those type of things. We go back to the basics every week. Last week we went back to tackling, stripping the football and you saw Donovan Woods get a great strip of the football last Saturday. We will go back to those things this week. Today as a matter of fact. We do that every single week and that won't change for the next 15 weeks or as long as we play this season."

He may not realize it, but Bedford is one of the best interviews on the team, whether he smiles a lot or not. That same infectious enthusiasm his players feed off attracts the media as well. He just doesn't want to admit it.

"They have to be kidding because they know that I am grouchy most of the time," said Bedford. "Sometimes I am short and to the point and that is not good for an interview."

Well, we'll be back next week just the same.

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