Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to the pride and passion he holds for the University of Texas. As a former player, Bedford believes the performances he has seen in losses this season are unacceptable, and he takes it personal.
“I’m always angry. I wake up every morning angry. I thank the Lord every day that I get another day to go yell at these players. I just love this stuff! I don’t hide anything,” Bedford said.
“When things are going well, I’m a high-five guy. When things aren’t going well, like my daddy always told me, I put my foot where the sun don’t shine.
“All of those guys understand that. They understand the pride that I have in this university. And because I played here, it’s not acceptable to be where we are.”
The coach continued.
“Quit walking around saying I have this uniform on and be content just to put that uniform on. I’m very passionate and I get upset about that.
“Go put your stamp on what it means to be a Longhorn. That means every day at practice and every ball game you’re fired up to represent all of the great players, great teams and the coaches that have come before you.
“What they did, you have nothing to do with that. Put your stamp on it.
“I’m very passionate about that. I coach that way. Everything I do, I act that way. I have always done that. The kids know.
“Like I told them, everything rolls down hill, good or bad. We’re all going to be in it together and we’re going to get out of it together through hard work.”
It’s obvious Bedford is passionate about what it means to play football at Texas. While there are some guys on the team who have a similar passion for it and lead the team with pride, many young players have yet to truly understand simply because they’re still new to the college game.
“We need more Pete’s and Duke’s on this football team to bring the guys with them to have that same passion, that fire, that desire, that want to be special. We don’t have enough of those guys on the team right now. That’s just me being truthful.
“Last week against Iowa State, we had four true freshmen that started in that ballgame on defense. That isn’t even talking about offense. They have no idea what that means right now. They’re only out of high school by a few months.”
The coach had some harsh words for his defense Tuesday when he discussed the effort he expects each and every week. Even though the Longhorns will face 0-8 Kansas this Saturday, Bedford believes his unit will be prepared and not overlook the Jayhawks.
“If you were in my meeting on Tuesday you wouldn’t even be asking me that question," Bedford said in response to the team's approach in playing a struggling Kansas team.
"I can’t even tell you the things I said to those guys. When I got through preaching my song, they all looked real sad and unhappy. I don’t care who walks into this game Saturday night, these guys are going to be ready to roll.
“I flat out got after these guys this week about attitude and who they think they are.
“We have a bunch of young guys who are learning how to play. Quit thinking that you’re DJ and VY, you’re not those guys. That’s not who we are at this time. We don’t have a big Malcom Brown at three technique right now, who starts for the New England Patriots. I let those guys know that.
“This is who we are so let’s get off of that and let’s find a way to get to where we need to go to win a ball game.”
Growing pains will follow any team that has a significant amount of youth on the two-deep. While the effort is present, Bedford believes the growing pains will continue until the Longhorns understand why they do what they do.
“We have guys giving effort but sometimes it’s like a hamster in a cage that’s going around and around. It’s giving you activity but it’s not getting anything done. Sometimes we have guys giving us activity but not understanding why they’re doing things.
“When you talk about the top teams in the country on offense, defense and special teams, they understand the why.
“That’s why Duke has done a good job this year. He understands why we’re doing certain things on defense. Peter Jinkens over the last four ballgames has started to understand the why we call what we call, that’s why he’s playing well.
“We have some young guys that don’t understand that as of yet. They’ve gotten better each ballgame but that’s the growing pains you go through, and it showed up on Saturday night.”
Thomas and Jinkens have received significant praise for their leadership qualities this season, but the same was not said of them last year because they appeared to be under the impression that only seniors could be vocal leaders in the locker room.
Charlie Strong and his staff are attempting to squash this notion.
“I think everyone has a certain amount of leadership qualities in them. Last year Duke was a hard working guy but wasn’t very vocal. You probably wouldn’t have said he was a leader last year because they’ve been playing over here for the past number of years where you have to wait your turn.
“This staff doesn’t believe in waiting your turn. If you’re a freshman and you have leadership qualities, let’s go.
“We don’t want to wait until you’re a senior. If you have leadership qualities as a freshman, we want to enhance what you have to bring it out. We don’t want to squash it. Let’s go.
“Pete was a guy who last year, you never could have said that Pete was a leader. Right now, I can say that because he’s another guy who felt like, ‘Coach I have to wait my time.’ Who said that?
“You don’t have to wait your time. Your time is today. Tomorrow’s not given so let’s get it done today. Tomorrow might be too late. You might not be blessed to get up tomorrow so let’s go work on being a leader today. Let’s be the best you can be today. Let’s work as hard as you can today. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about one thing: Today.”