A Conversation With Vance Bedford - Week 4

I don't know about you but I am fired up for this week. We all knew that Houston would be the first team to pose a serious challenge for this football team. This is the kind of challenge that makes football fun. I know the players are looking forward to it, and I know the fans are too. But what about the defensive coordinator? Is Vance Bedford having fun yet?

"That's what fans say, coaches don't say that because at the present time I'm having a hard time sleeping," Bedford said in a grumpy mood. "I haven't slept well yet. We won a game the other day and there I am thinking about the University of Houston and all the formations -- how to get align to it, how to slow them down. It's not fun for me to be honest."

That happens when you think about stopping a one-of-a-kind offensive system. Seriously, nobody runs an offense exactly like it. They have six or seven personnel groups and more than 100 formations, including four receivers all on the same side. They go with a lot of unbalanced in the line of scrimmage. They spread, got two-tight, and even throw in some option. There is a lot to look at, but you know they will only bring out so much on Saturday.

"We've watched four or five games from last season and the first three games from this season and no one has stopped Houston but Houston," explained Bedford. "They had a problem with turnovers last season and this season they aren't having those problems and they are going up and down the field on everyone.

"We are going to condense our defensive package. Actually, we've been pretty simple in the first three ballgames. We've had no more than six or seven calls in those first three games because we are so young in the back seven. We try to keep it simple so the guys can play fast. We may have two calls in this game so we can get lined up with all the formations."

A good guess on the primary coverage for the Cowboys would be cover two, although you have to disguise a little and change up a little. The worst thing would be to have a quarterback as talented as Kevin Kolb sitting on your coverage every play. The way Bedford talks Kolb might have trouble seeing the safeties as far back as he would like to play them.

"I'm from the old school the deepest the deepest and we're going to have them back as far as we can because Kolb has receivers running 10.3 (in the) 100 meters and 10.5 (in the) 100 meters, and we don't match up with that kind of speed," said Bedford. "We are going to try to keep it inside and in front and then try to punish those receivers and see if they can hold onto the ball because we have two safeties over 200 pounds. That is going to be our game plan, to keep it inside in front and hit those guys as often as we can and hopefully in the fourth quarter they may not catch the ball."

The security blanket is the defensive line. The Cowboys lead the nation in tackles for loss and they aren't far behind in sacks with 11, good for second in the Big 12. There may not be much help in the form of blitzes, but right now Bedford has a lot of confidence in his front four.

"Our defensive line has done a great job in every ballgame," Bedford said with enthusiasm. "They have been in the backfield from game one to the third ballgame. Those are the things we talked about dating back to spring practice to preseason camp. I've told those guys that I'm going to ride them like Secretariat when he won the Triple Crown, all the way until they get tired and they can't get tired. They've taken that challenge and they are ready to go."

Now it might appear that Bedford just gave away the defensive game plan on a web site that any Houston coach could read. The question is, what part of this conversation did Bedford mean and what part of it is his version of gamesmanship. That is for you, me and Houston Coach Art Briles to try and figure out by Saturday at 8 p.m.

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