A Conversation With Vance Bedford - Week 9

It's homecoming week for Vance Bedford. Oklahoma State's colorful defensive coordinator jumps right out of the season's most successful defensive performance, that included defensive end Nathan Peterson being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week following the 41-29 win over Nebraska, into coaching against his alma mater and also the defending national champs in Texas.

Bedford, who can be emotional about a number of things, said he has not thought much about returning to the campus and stadium where he was once one of the Southwest Conference's top cornerbacks.

"To be honest at the present time, no," Bedford said of thinking about his return to the site of his college playing days. "Today is Monday and I haven't given it much thought. We've looked at a lot of video of Texas and all I can see is that offensive line and those running backs going up and down the field. Then the quarterback throwing it to those big wide receivers there. I'm not always an emotional person when it comes to those sentimental type things. I'm looking forward to seeing some of my former teammates. They've called me and told me they're going to be there, so I'll have a chance to sit down and talk to them a little bit. Other than that I haven't given it much thought."

It was obvious that he has given much more thought to the Longhorns offensive line.

"It's pretty good," Bedford said of the Horns offensive front. "They have four starters back from last season, and I played with a couple of those guys dads and they were real men. These guys look the same, Studdard and Sendlein, they get after it pretty good. They have a young tackle that is 6-8 and 300 pounds. He's a man. He was a tight end in high school and injured a knee once he got there, so now he is a big athletic guy playing tackle. Just think a 6-8 offensive tackle going against our defensive ends. You look at Nate Peterson, who is an undersized guy, and you look at them on the hoof. Who are you going to take? I'm going to take 6-8 any day of the week. Don't kid yourself."

The reason for the concern may be that through the course of the season, and especially in the stellar second half defensive performance against Nebraska, the Cowboys have had to rely on their defensive line. It is the most experienced and perhaps most talented area of the defense. It is the group that Bedford stacked the rest of the defense on their shoulders last Saturday afternoon against Nebraska.

"I feel better about the front four," laughed Bedford. "I told the front four that we have to play man (coverage) so you have to get home (to the quarterback). Guess what the front four did? They got home. That quarterback was running for his life most of the game. Any time you get pressure that way the guys in the back end they can cover. On the sidelines I told the guys up front that we have to play man, so we cover the run and you have to make it go happen for us. I said if we win the ballgame it's going to be because of what you do."

On the wish list for this week, along with stopping the Longhorns, is a sincere desire to help out the other side of the ball. The offense has done so much this season that Bedford would like to see his defenders progress to where they occasionally help Reid, Savage, Bowman, Woods and company out a little.

"For you to have a team that is going to win week in and week out you have to put the offense in a short field and that means takeaways," said Bedford. "We haven't done a good job of those type of things. I'm just so happy our offense is so explosive right now that they have overcome a lot of those things."

Just stops, just stops against Texas and the offense and everybody else will feel the defense did their job.

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