It's rare at the University of Texas for the focal points of an offseason not to rest squarely on its players. The stability that comes with having the same head coach for 16 seasons will do that to a program.
This spring appears to be one of those exceptions, though, as the Longhorns prepare to embark on their first spring practice under new head coach Charlie Strong and his staff, which consists of only one holdover from the Mack Brown era (Bruce Chambers).
Because of this, LonghornDigest is going to take a closer look at each member of the staff leading up to the first day of spring practice on March 18.
On Friday we took a look at defensive line coach Chris Rumph.
Today we'll take a look at a former Longhorns team captain who returns to his alma mater with hopes of resurrecting a defense that's been subpar in recent seasons.
Experience: assistant at Forest Brook High School, 1985; assistant at Navarro JC, 1986; defensive backs coach at Colorado State, 1987-92; defensive backs coach at Oklahoma State, 1993-94; defensive backs coach at Michigan, 1995-98; defensive backs coach for Chicago Bears, 1999-2004; defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, 2005-06; defensive backs coach at Michigan, 2007; cornerbacks coach at Florida, 2008-09; defensive coordinator at Louisville, 2010-13.
The Bedford Digest:
He's been the architect of one of the more dominant defenses in the country over the past few seasons, and now gets a chance to build something similar at his alma mater. A four-year letterman at Texas (1977-79, 81), Bedford started at cornerback and set a then-UT season record for pass breakups with 22 in 1981. He's accomplished nearly everything a coach can in his 32 years in the profession, including two national championships, with Florida in 2008 and Michigan in 1997. He was also the position coach for 1997 Heisman Trophy winning defensive back Charles Woodson at Michigan. In his final season with Louisville, the Cards led the nation in total defense (251.5 yards per game), rushing defense (80.7 ypg), sacks (3.31 pg), fewest first downs allowed (183), and third-down conversion defense (26.7 percent). They also ranked second in scoring defense (12.2 points per game), while placing in the top 10 in passing efficiency defense (fourth), passing yards allowed (fifth), tackles for loss (sixth) and red-zone defense (fifth).
How he differs from Robinson:
The similarities between the two are apparent. Both have over 30-plus years in the coaching profession. Both have NFL coaching experience, have both been defensive coordinators prior to their stints at Texas, are both graced with plenty of youthful exuberance. They even have similar aggressive defensive philosophies. One main difference is their specialty position. Robinson has largely been a defensive line or linebackers coach while Bedford has been strictly a defensive backs coach. You could see a reflection of that in Texas' defense this fall.
Player he will most improve:
Redshirt freshman CB Antwuan Davis
Depth at cornerback is an issue for the Longhorns, especially this spring with Sheroid Evans out due to injury. That means that Davis, one of the most coveted DBs in the country out of high school, will have his chance to shine and put himself in position for that No. 3 CB roll. Bedford will love his athleticism – some think he could potentially move to safety because of his size and speed – and do what he can to assure that he is put in a position to make plays on the field this fall.
Recruits will love:
His selling points. He can sale the NFL experience having spent 1999-2004 as the Bears defensive backs coach will be a huge plus. He can sale the fact that he was the position coach for 1997 Heisman Trophy winning defensive back Charles Woodson, the only primary defensive player to win the award. He can sale the fact that he's a former Longhorn himself and would love nothing more than to return his alma mater to national prominence. Bedford is also a guy who isn't afraid to show his players he's still got game [YouTube "Louisville DB Coach Vance Bedford shows he's still got it"]. He's also active on Twitter and isn't afraid to speak his mind. He raised some eyebrows when he tweeted out "who wants to see the (Longhorns) and the (Aggies) play again?" Then tweeted several hours later, saying "UT and the (Aggies) should set up a schedule to play again in the future. What a great game for the state of Texas." Recruits will eat that up.
Predicting coaching future:
At some point in every coach's career they have aspirations of becoming the man. But after 32 years in the coaching ranks, maybe Bedford just doesn't want to be? He's proven himself to be one of the more reliable defensive minds in the country for over three decades but has yet to take the reigns as a head coach. Perhaps getting the opportunity to coach at his alma mater is the end-all-be all for him. We'll say it will be.