A Conversation With Vance Bedford - Week 8

STILLWATER - Vance Bedford is scratching his head a little after Saturday as the Cowboys used similar defensive schemes on back to back plays, first on a third-and-four and then again on a fourth-and-13. Both plays used cover one with a three-man rush.

On the third-down play defensive ends Nathan Peterson and Victor DeGrate, who played a tremendous game, met at the Aggies quarterback Stephen McGee and drove him into the turf for a nine-yard sack. On the fourth-down play, McGee had more time and had to hit his check down receiver, tailback Javorskie Lane, who made a one-handed catch and ran for seven more yards and a first down. Lane should have been accounted for but two linebackers drifted the wrong direction in short coverage and left him open.

Accountability was our first subject with Bedford. In the privacy of the defensive meeting room everyone is held accountable.

"There is no doubt," said Bedford, who took the blame Saturday night for that play and any others late in the game that helped A&M to its 34-33 overtime win. "It is one thing to be out in public but this is like when you are at home. What is said in house, stays in house and you don't let things out.

"Every coach and every player is accountable for what they do and don't do once that game starts. We point those things out - both good and bad - and that's what is key to us getting better. Guys need to understand that we all have a responsibility to execute and do the things we're asked to do. Right now we are heading in the right direction," the Cowboy defensive coordinator said.

"It's disappointing for everybody involved right now. The players are more disappointed than anybody else out there because of all the work they have put into it. We're heading in the right direction, 4-3 is better than 3-4. We wish we were 7-0, but we're not. We're where we are."

Where that is on defense is solid at times, and pretty leaky at others. Bedford and the defensive staff are preaching consistency. The errors have gone from mental and physical to predominantly mental. This week Bedford says they will continue working and getting better for an offense in Nebraska that he believes will bring it physically on Saturday.

"Nebraska is by far the most physical team that we have seen this season," Bedford said of the Huskers offense. "Oklahoma is probably the second most physical team in the league. They (Nebraska) are going to line up with an offensive line like they had several years ago and they are going to run the ball down your throat.

"They got after Texas' defense pretty good. I looked at the USC game versus Nebraska and for a half it was a pretty good ball game. They are physical. They give you a lot of different formations. They play with sometimes three tight ends in the ball game. They try to knock you off the ball. It's going to be a physical contest."

About the time you get bunched up and bow up for that challenge then they can hurt you with the smarts of senior quarterback Zac Taylor.

"He's been in the offense now for two or three years so he understands everything," Bedford said of Taylor. "He knows where guys are and how to get the ball to them. He knows how to get them out of a bad play when he sees a defense that is stacked against them. We're playing probably the best quarterback we've seen as far as intelligence and knowing what to do with the ball."

This week Bedford agrees that mentally the Cowboys had better find the top of their game. The physical is a given.

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