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February 21, 2013

Bedenbaugh lays out his plan for the OU line

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SoonerScoop.com continues to take a look at Bill Bedenbaugh and his philosophies as the new offensive line coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Bedenbaugh met with the OU beat writers, including SoonerScoop.com's Carey Murdock, yesterday at the Adrian Peterson Team Meeting Room inside the Barry Switzer Center. The new coach talked about toughness, schemes, evaluating the talent he has on campus, along with his first steps taken to meet with his team and get to work.

Spring football begins March 6, and Bedenbaugh on the offensive staff are already hard at work to get things ready for the start of spring practices.

Here are some selected discussions from Bedenbaugh breaking down his philosophies and thoughts on his new team since arriving in Norman.

SCOOPHD: BILL BEDENBAUGH TALKS ABOUT HIS RECRUITING PHILOSOPHY

Video by Eddie Radosevich

Bill Bedenbaugh talked about his first order of business with his new offensive line and what he wants to accomplish quickly.

Get to know them. They've got to get to know me and I've got to get to know them. I've got to understand their personality, understand what motivates them. They have to understand my expectations and what I expect from them. It's just about trust. It's getting in there and working together, Which obviously I won't have a bunch of time to do until spring ball.

There's only so many things you can do with them right now. It's going to be a process through spring and them understanding what I'm about and me understanding what each individual is all about. Kids are motived differently. It's just learning each other and trusting each other.

Bedenbaugh was asked to give his impressions of what he believes he has to work with and if he's been able to get a grasp of his roster since arriving Saturday.

Obviously I've watched them on film. I can't sit here and I'm not critiquing them based on what they did because I don't know exactly what they've been taught. I know a lot of guys were here and we're talking back and forth and I've been able to watch them workout in the field and in the weight room and I think they work extremely hard. I met with them and they want to be great.

I don't know and you don't know olinemen, really, until you get on the field and put pads on. That's when you really get to learn about an offensive lineman. Some running backs, receivers, you can see them get out there and run with no pads on and kind of have an idea of what they are. But you really find the makeup of an offensive lineman when you're on the field coaching them and things get hard.

Bedenbaugh on the overall talent level he believe he has on the offensive line.

Hard to tell. I think they're extremely athletic. Probably one of the most athletic offensive lines I've been around. I've been fortunate to be around some pretty good ones and I think just watching them move around they're athletic.

It's hard to know how smart they are until you start coaching. From everything they've said, they're smart kids. That's the thing I look for. If you're smart, you're athletic and you're tough, then it's my job to make you a good offensive lineman and that's what I'm here for. Obviously I'll find out more about their toughness as we get into practice, and those kinds of things. I think they're smart kids from the little bit I've talked to them. They're athletic kids and now it's a matter of getting out there to find out how tough they are.

Bedenbaugh on how he'll balance developing more toughness in his offensive line versus pushing kids over the edge and losing them from lack of motivation.

If they know you care about them ... In my career, I've had very few guys quit. I mean, again, I'm up front with them. Nothing I do is personal. It's all to help you become the best player you can be. I care about them. They don't know that at this second, but as I get to know them, they're gonna understand that. And if they know that you truly care about them and have their best interest, they'll do anything for you.

Bedenbaugh on his approach for instilling toughness in this group of linemen.

I think it's how you live. I think it's how you coach them. It's what's acceptable. What do you accept? What do I expect them to do? You get after it. It's how you live and it's how you work. Toughness isn't going out and beating somebody up. Toughness is mentally knowing your assignment, knowing your technique. Well how do you do that? You do it by studying tape as much as you possibly can.

Being physical, playing through pain. That's toughness. Toughess is an expectation as much as anything. You try to recruit it. You try to get to know it the best you can, and then you just coach it as much as you possibly can.

Bedenbaugh on developing a plan before spring football to implement schemes around more mobile quarterbacks and bigger running backs coming into the program.

I think that happens every year, no matter where you are. We did the same thing when I was back at West Virginia. Your personnel changes. What you are is what you're going to be. What type of runs you have, the pass concepts. Now what do you emphasize? You kind of change year-to-year based on your offensive line, quarterbacks and running backs - all those things and what they do. That's your job as a coach is to put those kids in the best position to be successful. We're doing the same things we would do every year in the offseason.

Bedenbaugh talked about developing a more consistent approach to running the ball against teams like Notre Dame, Kansas State and Texas A&M, schools OU struggled to run the ball against last year.

Obviously they want to improve in the run game just like you want to improve in everything - pass protection, running the ball, screens - I think everything you want to improve on. If you're any type of person or player you want to continue to improve and that's one of the things we're working through right now.

Do you have too much run game or do you have too little. The schemes, what fits the schemes and what schemes fit these guys. Just working through those things and getting to know them and figuring it out. Our job as coaches is to put these kids in the best position to be successful. That's what our job is to do.

Bedenbaugh talking about the wide offensive line splits like the ones Mike Leach uses versus Oklahoma having a history of fullbacks, power running game and jumbo formations with shorter splits.

We tightened our splits down when I went to Arizona. We tightened our splits down when I went to West Virginia. We're not the Mike Leach offense of before. Coach Leach does a great job and is one of the best coaches in the country. His philosophy was to spread them out and throw the ball.

We weren't going to run the ball quite a bit. When you're combination blocking or zone blocking or in zone schemes and gap schemes, you've got to have tighter splits. That wasn't his philosophy. A lot of things we did at Texas Tech were man schemes and obviously we didn't run the ball a ton.

Going to Arizona we tightened them down and going to West Virginia we tightened 'em down.

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