No, Vance Bedford does not believe that he deserves a demotion.
Bedford met with the media on Wednesday, and was quickly given a chance to defend his status as Texas’ defensive coordinator; the Longhorns have allowed 104 points in the first three games. The first question Bedford got on Wednesday? Was he surprised that he wasn’t demoted after the 50-43 loss to Cal on Sept. 17.
“I’m not surprised about (not being) demoted,” Bedford said. “We haven’t started conference play yet. We’re sitting here 2-1. We’ve got an opportunity to go out to Stillwater and play a lot better.”
Since he doesn’t meet with the media after games or during bye weeks, it was Bedford’s first public comments since Sept. 14, the Wednesday of the Cal game. Bedford defended his policy of not appearing at post-game press conferences, and pointed out that only one reporter had contacted him in the 11 days since the Cal game.
Bedford spoke for nearly 22 minutes. By comparison, head coach Charlie Strong’s press conference on Monday lasted for 25 minutes and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s was only nine minutes long Tuesday night. Bedford talked about the need to force more turnovers and took the blame for the defensive performance against Cal.
Are he and Strong on the same page? Bedford said yes. “We know we’ve just got to get some things cleaned up. We’ve got to play smarter. Again, we’ve got to go back to just communicating. If we get those things done, we’ll be just fine,” he said.
Is Bedford on the same page as Strong?
“Charlie’s involved in every aspect from offense, defense and special teams. He spends time in all three phases. He’s involved in the defense, offense and special teams, so yeah, we’re on the same page. We know we’ve just got to get some things cleaned up. We’ve got to play smarter. Again, we’ve got to go back to just communicating. If we get those things done, we’ll be just fine.”
Will Texas add more youth to its defensive lineup?
“We’ve been playing a lot of young guys already, so we’ll continue to do those things. We’re going to mix and match and see who continue to give us the best chance at winning. We’ve been playing a lot of guys already. We played freshmen earlier this year, and they will continue to play.”
What does Bedford need to get better at?
“As we put a game plan together, it’s just keep going back to see what those kids can do well. It’s never about what you know as a coach, it’s about what the players know. If they know what they’re doing, and they play hard and fast and they communicate, they make plays and you’ll have success.”
What are Bedford’s impressions of Oklahoma State’s offense?
“The (James) Washington kid, I’ll go back to a year ago. After our game last year, he lit up this league. Somehow, he got hot and guess what, he’s still hot. He’s a running back playing wide receiver. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s strong … We’re going to be aware of where he is, that’s number one.
“But at the end of the day, when you look at (Oklahoma State’s 35-24 loss to Baylor on Sept. 24), Oklahoma State rushed for over 200 yards. They went into that game and tried to physically pound Baylor. They had 110 plays to 66. I think Baylor had three big plays. If you take away the three big plays they had on offense and the four takeaways that Oklahoma State gave to Baylor, that game comes out differently.”
Has Texas LB Malik Jefferson gotten the most out of his ability?
“He’s grown like a lot of the guys have. People forget that he’s only a sophomore. Sometimes people think, well, he’s been here four years and he’s Derrick Johnson and all those guys. Malik is a sophomore. He’s had 15 games, and they want him to be Superman. Malik is one of those most instinctive players I’ve been around. He has great awareness, and now he’s continued to progress in the direction we need him to go in to be a leader on this football team and to be a playmaker on this defense.”
Texas will be tested on the road against an Oklahoma State team that ranks 37th in the nation in scoring offense (39.3 ppg), 41st in total offense (466.8 ypg) and 11th in passing offense (340.0 ypg). Saturday will give fans and media members another opportunity to grade Bedford, but Texas players have expressed support for their defensive coordinator over the past two weeks.
“They’re out there coaching and we’re out there listening,” Texas defensive back Sheroid Evans said on Tuesday. “Regardless of who’s doing it, we’re all dialed in and trying to do it right.”