Preseason Football Q&A: Kellen Brantley

Senior Kellen Brantley has started every game at linebacker since his sophomore year, the first season under coach Jim Grobe -- one of just three current Deacons able to make that claim. Now as a senior, he is a veteran among a veteran defense. On Monday, after the team's first session of two-a-days this fall, Kellen took his turn in the hot seat, answering some questions for

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Q: What did you do this summer?
KB: Mostly, I spent my summer working out and going to school. I got to travel a little bit.

Q: Where did you go?
KB: I got home to Miami and also went to New York for Nick Burney's family reunion. Actually, the reunion was in New Jersey but we stayed in New York.

Q: This is your third year as a starter. How does this defense stack up to your two previous years?
KB: I think we're a little faster. With all the experience, we're a little smarter. So many guys have started before or seriously been in the rotation. Everyone talks about the line being young and inexperienced but a lot of those guys have played before. So far, they've been better than what everyone expected. We're all working hard and if we keep up this pattern, I think we'll have the best defense we've had in Coach Grobe's tenure.

Q: You're from Miami so this heat and humidity probably doesn't bother you much.
KB: It hasn't been that bad. Today was probably the hottest day (84 degrees) but it wasn't that bad. In high school, we did two-a-days in August in Miami. That was hot. That's okay with me, though, because I'd much rather play when it's hot than when it's cold. I'm not a fan of the cold.

Q: We've been getting lots of rain everyday in the last week and the practice fields are pretty muddy. Who on the team gets the dirtiest?
KB: Daryl Shaw. He always ends up on the ground. Every time I look at him he's covered in mud.

Q: Who has the cleaner uniforms, the quarterbacks or the kickers?
KB: The kickers, by far. Although I saw (Matt) Wisnosky take a spill while kicking a field goal today.

Q: What goals have your set for yourself this season?
KB: First, I'd like to make the All-ACC team. As a team, I'd like to see in the top 25 nationally - at least. I'd also like to his the century mark in tackles because I haven't done that yet. That pretty much covers it.

Q: From a team perspective, you've had a lot of success in the Jim Grobe era including back-to-back winning seasons, a Seattle Bowl win and you've defeated almost every team in the ACC at some point in the last two years. And yet, the Deacons are picked sixth in the preseason ACC poll. Have you talked about that and does it put a chip on your shoulder?
KB: We like that. We've gotten used to it. I think it puts us in a good mindset. Each of the last two years, we've surprised everyone with our success. We don't mind being the underdogs because we've proven it's not always about talent. It's about heart and determination. Our team has that. We play like we're on fire.

We don't get the respect before the season. But hopefully, we're paving the way for future teams to get that respect. We come in and play hard every week.

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