One player on the Bearcats football team who's been asked to take a major leadership role has been Antoine Horton. Horton, a 5'11 - 190 lb. defensive back has earned two letters during his Bearcat career and is working with some of the younger defensive backs to make sure their ready for the battles that lie ahead. We spoke with Antoine about this and several other subjects on Tuesday.
Bearcat Insider: Talk about this past weekend's game against UConn and what it means to this program?
AH: This is a great win for us and helps build our confidence and instills in us that we can win. Were also undefeated at home and we take pride in that.
AH: Haruki brings a lot of physical play to the game. He makes plays. He finds the ball and makes plays. If it's causing a fumble, making an interception or making a big hit you know he's going to be there. Mike Mickens has stepped up to the challenge with him being a freshman and being so small, teams are going to pick on him. But he continues to make plays.
Bearcat Insider: Do you kind of feel like a big brother?
AH: A little bit. I talk with him (Mickens) everyday about stuff on the field and off the field. With Mike playing as a freshman we talk about the experiences I've gone through and how things are going to change as he grows. We talk about him being physical since he's playing right out of high school and hasn't had the chance to build himself up in the weight room. But he throws that 160 lbs. around and accepts the challenge.
Bearcat Insider: You come from out of state. What would you tell a kid whose looking at UC and this coaching staff?
AH: Well first off this coaching staff is excellent. This is probably the best coaching staff I've ever had in my life. Being here my first year and having so many coaches coming in and out you never gave you a chance to get to know your coach. We know our coach on personal bases now and that make you more comfortable and you don't want to let them down. As for the university, this program is on the rise. When I first got here in 2002 until now the facilities have improved all around. Like gear, when I got here we were Reebok and now were Nike. With all the upgrades being done like the weight room and around the stadium we've got the best you could ask for.
Bearcat Insider: You come from out of state. How much support do you get from your family?
AH: My family is great. I have a great family base. My mother and stepfather live in Virginia and my other family lives in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I'll always have family at the game. When we played in Texas or if I'm playing in Florida, I'll have someone from my family there to watch me play. They'll fly here if they have to or drive 4 hours here if they have to.
Bearcat Insider: What are you studying?
AH: Communications, I'm due to graduate this upcoming spring.
Bearcat Insider: Would you say time management is the hardest thing as a college football player?
AH: It's a big responsibility because you no longer have your mother to tell you to do your home work. No one here is going to tell you to do it or not, you have to make yourself do it, you have got to want to do it. In order to play football your degree comes first. That is what you come to college for, to earn your degree.
Bearcat Insider: Has this become a family?
AH: Our coaches all have families and were all like brothers and uncles and fathers on this team. So were just like their second family and they treat us that way.
Bearcat Insider: Talk about the job you feel Coach Dantonio is doing?
AH: Coach Dantonio is a great leader. He will tell you like it is, there's no beating around the bush or sugar coating with Coach Dantonio. He's going to let you know what the problem is just like your father would let you know what the problem is and he's still going to love you and care about you just like your father would. I've gone to him with things off the field like church, school and family and he will talk with you and tell you family always comes first before football because your family will always be there.
Bearcat Insider: Do you look at this week's game as just another game or is it something bigger?
AH: I look at it as just another game that we can win. It's just like last week, but I mean it's more important because they beat us last year. This win right here can set us above all the expectations people have for us and help us rise above and reach our goals. Some people may feel this game is not winnable, but it's winnable and is not a long shot just like last week wasn't.
I would like to thank Antoine for taking the time and talking with us. You can see Antoine (#5) lineup in his regular position this weekend against Louisville as he and the other defensive backs look to have a strong game against the Cardinals.