“I’m good to go, so let’s not let the Irish come in here and have fans in here. Let’s have burnt orange all over the place,” Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford stated in his Wednesday afternoon press conference.
With the game officially sold out and tickets going for hundreds of dollars for what will likely be the most attended game of Charlie Strong’s head coaching career, it may be tempting for Texas fans to sell their stadium spot to Notre Dame faithful.
But the always outspoken Bedford directly implored the burnt orange nation to resist the temptation.
“I know they can make a lot of money, but this is Texas. It’s oil. It’s cattle. So why would you sell your tickets? Go out and sell a cow. And you can make the same amount of money.”
Indiana already has one cow per every ten people as it is, so maybe Notre Dame fans won’t bite on buying their own Bevos from Texans instead of tickets.
But despite the jesting comments, Bedford clearly believes that home field advantage could be a deciding factor in Sunday’s season opener. If legions of blue and gold overtake the stadium, that advantage is suppressed.
And Bedford’s defense will need a surge of energy from the home crowd after a dismal 2015 season. The ‘Horns allowed 452.6 yards per game, putting them at 106th in the nation. At one point during the season finale, Chris Warren’s father even called for Bedford’s firing over Twitter.
Now in his sixth year as Strong’s defensive coordinator, Bedford enters a unique situation. He returns preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Malik Jefferson, and has two lockdown corners in Holton Hill and Davante Davis. But though the talent is cause for excitement, the question marks outnumber the exclamation points.
For example, how will Texas’ young defensive tackles deal with the Fighting Irish’s dominant offensive line?
“I hope we're going to be better than it was last year. We were awful last year. So we're going to have to be better. You look at Poona [Ford], Poona's going to be a junior, Chris Nelson a redshirt sophomore, Paul [Boyette, Jr.] is going to be a senior. Those guys need to step up for us quite a bit,” Bedford said.
While Sterlin Gilbert attempts to implement a new system on offense, Bedford will be attempting to rejuvenate his long installed defense. So what’s different this year?
“Attitude,” Bedford stated. “The attitude of the team right now — offense, defense, special teams — is something we didn't have last year in my opinion. Guys are focused, ready to go. They're ready to prove that last year was a fluke.”