Interview with Antuian Bradford

Tell us what you’ve been up to. I understand you are teaching at Brentwood Academy.

I am teaching 8th grade Bible and Leadership and coaching football and track at Brentwood Academy, but in the fall I will be headed back to graduate school to pursue a Masters and, perhaps, a Ph.D. in African American Studies.

Who or what inspired you to get into teaching?

I guess I just kind of fell into it. I originally came to BA to just coach and they asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class and the rest is history. I plan to continue to teach after graduate school, so I guess it was a good call.

Why did you decide to come to Vanderbilt?

Well, my mother didn’t give me much of an option. I just wanted to be somewhere that I could definitely have options after I graduated and looking at the situation, I really think I made the right choice. I also wanted to play in the SEC and play against some of my old teammates that all went to Ole Miss.

Do you keep in touch with your former teammates?

I keep in touch with a lot of the guys like Aaron McWhorter, Mike Martin, Justin Giboney, Harold Lercius, Lew Thomas, Jim May, Paul Morgan, Brian Gruber, and of course, my brother, Chris.

How special was it to play with your brother at Vanderbilt?

It was great. We played together a little in high school, but it was special when we got to college because it was a great chance to get to bond with him and just hang out with him in way that I didn’t get to do growing up. I would have to say it was one of my fondest memories at Vandy.

What are you the most proud of from your time at Vanderbilt?

Well, I don’t want to sound too cliché, but I would have to say the people that I met in college. They really made my experience at Vandy the highlight of my life. I found the best friends that I’ll ever have at there. Also, being the first in my family to graduate from college was a proud moment as well giving my younger brothers and sister something to look forward to.

Who was the hardest guy to tackle?

I would have to say the hardest person to tackle was Derek Watson from South Carolina, but a close second would have to be Travis Henry.

Aaron McWhorter told me that the Northern Illinois game in 1999 was the best game he was involved in. What do you remember about that wild game?

I would have to agree with Aaron on that one. It was one of the more exhilarating games of that season. I can remember the blocked put to set up our score in the second half to get the momentum back in our favor and the Jimmy Williams punt return was special. I still watch some highlights from that game from time to time.

The next week was another exciting come from behind win against Ole Miss in Oxford. Greg Zolman played like Joe Montana that day. What do you remember about that big road win?

I remember that game for the simple fact that I was going into my old stumping grounds. I had about 45 of my family members and friends from home and some of my old teammates playing for Ole Miss, so that win was especially sweet. It at least gave me bragging rights in Mississippi for a year.

What did you think of Coach Woody’s decision to go for a fake punt against Georgia? It was in their territory late in the game when they had all the momentum. Had it worked he would’ve been a genius but I just didn’t understand it.

Well, I was on the field at the time and I am somewhat of a risk taker myself, but that one went way beyond risk taking. We were yelling at Jonathan Shaub to call it off, but I think he was a little nervous and he stayed with the call and it failed badly. I didn’t agree with the call at all. It was just a bad game after that.

The game in Gainesville against Florida was picked up by CBS. You guys really slowed down Florida’s offense. The game was so close and we had a chance with a few seconds left in the 4th quarter to tie it up but Zolman missed Hogans in the end zone on 4th down and that was it. What were you thinking that night in a big time game on national television?

Well, to be honest I was a little shell shocked by everything. Being from small town Mississippi, that was the first game really big game that I was involved in and it got to me a little bit. I found myself a few times gazing into the stands and looking at all the people. It was a great game and that last drive really was a heartbreaker. It probably the biggest game that year other than the Kentucky game for us.

The Kentucky game from 1999 still bothers me. We were marching down the field. All we had to do was kick a field goal when all of the sudden Rodney Williams had that fumble and we missed our chance at a bowl game. What do you remember thinking as you watched all that unfold?

I was thinking initially that we might have finally gotten over the hump. Thinking that all those years of coming up short might end in these last few minutes. After the fumble, I don’t think I stuck around for the speech. I know that’s a little Randy Moss like, but I looked back and a couple of the coaches were behind me, so I didn’t feel too bad. I don’t think we talked to Rodney for about a week or so after that. It was just a miserable experience.

Your junior year we did avenge the loss to Kentucky in Lexington. What are your thoughts on that big road win? Was that a game you had circled on the calendar?

I did have that game circled on the calendar as a game we had to get back. It felt great to go to Lexington and pull out such a close game. By the time we got to the Kentucky game, there was some frustration about how the rest of the season had not gone as we planned, so it was a great feeling to put everything into winning that game and also playing UT close the next week to finish out the season.

Your senior year we started the series against MTSU. What do you remember about that game? We had so many opportunities. That’s one of those games where I had to eat a lot of crow.

Wow! You’re bringing up some tough memories. That was definitely one of the harder fought games that I played in. I knew a couple of the MTSU players and so it was one of those games that I had to play well. It was a bit of a shootout and, unfortunately, we came out on the losing end.

The Alabama game the next week was another one where we had a chance late but we missed a field goal that would’ve forced overtime. Our defense played great but we still came up short. What sticks out from that one?

I would have to say what stuck out that game was that the team was really fighting to try to win that game. It was a close game because we really wanted to win that one and came up a little short. For the seniors, it was our last time playing Alabama and we wanted to get that one. The team really rallied around us.

What was the team’s reaction to Coach Woody’s announcement in November of 2001 that he was resigning at the end of the season?

Well, there were a lot of mixed emotions from the team, as I’m sure you guessed, but for me it was hard to see him resign. I really liked Coach Woody and I know he had some things going on outside of football that he was dealing with, so I understood. I’m sure there were some frustrations about the team other things along with that as well.

Thanks again Antuian. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?

This is an awesome website. Keep it going. GO DORES!!!