Hot Prospect Q&A: FS Antoine Bethea

Howard Universoty FS Antoine Bethea is drawing a great deal of interest for a 1-AA player, He's climbing up the draft charts and the NFL is calling. Antoine talks about his Combine and Pro Day experiences, as well as the teams that are looking to possibly take him in the draft, in this exclusive interview.

Question: Your biggest numbers came during your sophomore year when you were at strong safety. At the pro level, are you getting a feel whether you project better as a strong safety or a free safety?

Antoine Bethea: Not really. There are some teams that wonder if I can play the corner(back) position. Right now, I’m hearing more about free safety and the corner position – not really hearing anything about strong safety.

Q: Are there any specific teams that have been talking to you about playing cornerback?

AB: Yes, sir – a couple of teams. The Chiefs called, and they had seen me on film at free safety, and wondered if I could play corner, if I had any film playing corner. Couple of teams I’ve been talking to – Seattle and Minnesota – wondering if I could play corner or not.

Q: Antoine, you had seven interceptions in your collegiate career, but the only knock I’ve heard about you is that some of your deflections could have been interceptions. What have you been doing to improve in that area, and have you been able to display that improvement to pro scouts?

A: Oh, yes, sir. The only thing I’m doing at the moment is working on more ball drills looking the ball in. At my Pro Day, I caught all the balls when I did the drills. So, that’s the only thing I can do – keep working on those ball drills and my consistency.

Q: Now, you had three years as the team’s leading tackler, you made calls for your secondary…how hard is it going to be for you to accept the role of an NFL rookie after that kind of three—year stint?

A: You have to start somewhere. It happened before - when I first came to high school I had to do it, when I first came to college I had to do it. I have no problem sitting behind a veteran and learning from a veteran, and just waiting my turn to shine. When my turn comes, that’s when I have to do what I have to do. It won’t bother me at all to come in as a rookie and accept my role.

Q: You’re known as an aggressive defender. How do you keep that aggression from working against you on the field? Obviously, aggression can sometimes cause a player to overpursue on a play, or maybe jump a little early on something. How do you stay focused and keep your aggression controlled?

A: Well, my defensive backs coach was a great coach, he knows that I’m a really aggressive player and would just tell me to be patient and don’t overpursue. Because if I overpursue, it will hurt the defense as well. Mostly, it’s being patient and letting the play unfold. Just go find the ball.

Q: Did you have the opportunity to have any formal interviews with any head coaches at the Combine?

A: I had a formal interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and side interviews with a couple other teams.

Q: Did you have some teams showing interest in you personally on your Pro Day?

A: Yeah – Jacksonville came, Cincinnati, the Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins. There were a couple teams showing interest.

Q: Have you done any workouts for other teams?

A: The Seahawks and Minnesota (last Thursday, the 12th).

Q: How exciting is this visit you have with the Colts?

A: It’s really exciting. The Combine was my first time coming to Indianapolis, so this will give me the opportunity to come back out there and meet the Colts. I’m really happy to come out there.

Q: Let’s say you get selected by the Colts in this draft. You realize, of course, that means within a few months, you’re going to be trying to defend in practice against Peyton Manning.

A: Right. I would love that challenge, because he’s one of the better quarterbacks in the league right now in the way he reads coverages. Me going against him in practice every day, I’d have no choice but to get better. When gametime situations come, I’ll have probably seen the better quarterback all week, so I think I’ll do really well.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention that you think it’s important for people to know about you?

A: Just how much I love the game, and how much I realize that this is a good opportunity for me.

Ed Thompson is the Publisher of Top Stories