A Conversation With Vance Bedford - Week 6

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora did not make it to the regular Monday media conference because of an extended offensive staff meeting, but defensive coordinator Vance Bedford did speak with the press. Some Cowboy fans have expressed the view that Bedford's meetings with the media should be muted, but Bedford was there speaking his mind and not ducking any questions thrown his way.

Bedford said what happened at the end of the Kansas State game with 4:25 left and the Cowboys trying to protect a 10-point lead didn't escape him. The defense did come unraveled in enough spots to allow Kansas State the opportunity to make plays they had not made the previous 56 minutes of the contest.

"Like I tell the kids when they get a little bit rattled just look at me," explained Bedford. "I don't have time to be down and I don't have time to be stressed out. I'm going to be calm on game day and if we make a mistake I'm going to sit them down and talk to them and tell them this is what happened, this is what is correct, and if it happens again we have to make this play from now on. That is what it is all about.

"I told them I have to put them in a defense where all those guys have a chance to be successful. The leadership comes from the coaches and that is the attitude we must have. I'm going to have that attitude no matter what."

Did the players think they had the game won before Kansas State went on their late run? Were they scoreboard watching?

"Of course, who wouldn't," Bedford said answering the question directly. "That's human nature, to sit back here and say that is not true I'd be lying. Everybody does that -- if you are behind or ahead. I called the defense up and said 'Men, I told you we're going to get right to this point. I said, front four I'm going to turn you cats loose.' The quarterback just made some plays. He came out there running several times and didn't look like a freshman, but more like a junior or senior. They have more youth than we have and their quarterback played like a senior against our guys up front who are seniors. It goes back to us as coaches putting our players in the right position to have success."

So how to do you keep it from happening again? Bedford said his plan of moving on to the next game doesn't change and it was put in motion on Monday afternoon as the players, who had spent the morning lifting, came in to meet with the coaching staff for the first time since the game on Saturday.

"The first thing you have to do is finish the Kansas State game," said Bedford. "We talk about our goals -- win, lose or draw. We talk about the positives, (and) the negatives. Get that video first, get that out as far as for mistakes, things we could have done, calls we could have made to put them in better position to make a play. Then after you move past that you get ready for Kansas."

In a more precise discussion of the defensive problems, Bedford said he has to get the players to follow a simple concept. Take care of your job first. There was evidence in the game of players looking to jump into a teammate's space before securing their own. The OSU defense is all about securing your area. Up front it is gap control, every gap has a player to cover it. On the back end the base coverage is two or a version of Tampa two. Zones have to be followed, one defender out of place is a chance for the offense to expose the open area.

"We have to do a better job of getting players to take care of their job," said Bedford. "Don't worry about what somebody else is or is not doing, just take care of your responsibility. I tell them this story here. I say if you have a home and your house is on fire (and) your neighbor has a home and his house is on fire. Who's house are you going to go save? My house, and my neighbor is out of luck. We have some kids and they want to go save the neighbor's house and their house burns down and there's a big play. Our focus is one thing and that's to get them to take care of their job first and once we do that we're going to be fine."

Finally moving on to Kansas, the plan appears to be simple. The KU offense is keyed off their MVP Jon Cornish.

"Stop the run, we have to stop the run," Bedford said with his voice rising about stopping the Kansas run featuring Cornish. "We have to put everybody in the box. I think I'm going to put my uniform on and walk out there like Houdini and hopefully I can trip somebody up. We have to stop the run no matter what it takes. We have to blitz every down, play zero coverage. We will load up the line of scrimmage and make it happen. We are going to make them throw over the top. We will do everything we can to limit the run game."

Always colorful, most often outspoken, Vance Bedford isn't getting shy. He seems to be determined to stay out in front and give the media and fans a target other than his defensive players. When this defense puts together a great effort against a Big 12 opponent don't be shocked if that is when we discover Bedford the wallflower. I do think that is how he works. To see we'll have to get that sterling defensive effort.

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