Q&A with Campbell safety Brandon Chandler
By Jason Williams
Assistant Media Services Director
Brandon Chandler, a three year starter for Campbell, talks about what football means to him, his experiences so far as a Camel, and what inspires him to be the best that he can be. Chandler is the Camels' all-time leader in pass breakups, punt and kick return yardage, while standing second in career interceptions. The Kernersville, N.C. native recently surpassed the 100 career tackles milestone and is the only Campbell player in the program's modern history to return a kick for a touchdown.
Question: When did you start playing football? What attracted you to the sport?
Chandler: I started playing football when I was about six years old. What attracted me to football was, really, my uncle, who was playing at East Forsyth Middle School at the time. I was really interested in how he was playing and how the game went. So I just tried it out, and I really got into it in high school.
Q: You also played basketball, baseball and track in high school? What positions did you play and what kind of player were you in each?
Chandler: As far as basketball goes, I was more of a defensive player. I played point guard and I could control the ball, but I wasn't much of a scorer. In track I ran the 100 meters. In baseball, I was a catcher and I played center field. I played for an all-star team in little league and we almost made it to the Little League World Series. We made it to the regional finals and lost to Florida.
Q: Is there any significance to your number 34?
Chandler: Not really. I wore number 1 in high school. When I came here, I was just handed number 34. Id probably rather have number 1, but numbers don't really matter that much to me.
Q: What's your favorite thing about playing football at Campbell?
Chandler: I just love the intensity of it. I love our physical play. Being around my teammates, we have a good vibe together. It's like a brotherhood.
Q: What's it like being coached by someone who has been teaching football for over 40 years and has had so much success, going to 15 bowl games, in Greg Williams?
Chandler: It's great. He's put guys in the NFL before and knowing that he thinks good of me and that I have a lot of potential. Just getting his teaching has been a great opportunity for me.
Q: You attended Glenn High School in Kernersville with your now Campbell teammate Rashaun Brown. You've been teammates for several years now. What's that like for you guys? Do you think you have a unique bond because of it?
Chandler: It feels good to know that you have somebody with you that has come from your hometown. Josh Tate, our equipment manager, actually came from my hometown as well. So it feels really good to come from the same school as one of your college teammates and have somebody that you know well. I actually grew up with Rashaun. He's like my brother.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment as a football player at Campbell so far?
Chandler: Our first ever win at Carthage. That made us all really happy and it was a great moment for the program.
Q: You've always seemed to play with a great amount of dedication and intensity. Describe what it felt like when you stepped back on the field for the first time this season after having to take time off last year.
Chandler: It felt really good. It felt like I took two years off. When I came back I didn't feel like I was in the groove anymore, but Coach Carter (Andrew Carter, Campbell's Director of Strength & Conditioning) kept training me, and I worked hard to come back. I did everything I had to do, listening to my coaches. I had to learn the playbook over again because we do so many packages. I played extra attention, getting in the physical and the mental reps. I had to just get after it.
Q: What did that first hit feel like?
Chandler: It felt really good (smiling).
Q: When you go back for a punt or a kick return, what's going through your head?
Chandler: I'm just focused on running it back and getting as many yards as I can. My first focus is to catch the ball. There's no one around me, but there's a lot going on at the same time, so you just have to focus. I have to catch the ball, look for who's coming down to hit me, all while looking up. So I just try to help my team by being a playmaker.
Q: Is there anyone that you model your game after? Why?
Chandler: Bob Sanders. A lot of people say I look like and play like him and I look up to him a lot. I had to jump the bandwagon (when he left Indianapolis). I'm a Chargers fan now (laughs). He's a really good player and I look up to him.
Q: You've been a huge part of this program since day one, ranking very high in a number of categories, leading the program in both kick and punt return yardage, as well as pass breakups. You're also second in interceptions (as of Sept. 29). What's your secret to success?
Chandler: Just doing what Coach Williams tells me to do, being in the right place at the right time and executing. My coaches are going to put me in the right spot, I just have to go out, make plays and execute.
Q: I'm sure you watch a lot of film in preparation for your opponents from week to week. What are of things you key in on or look for?
Chandler: I mainly look at how the quarterback passes and the coverages we're going to be in. I don't have to look as much at the run game. I'm the last resort on the defense, so I really have to always be in the right place at the right time so I don't let the team down. I also look at the routes the receivers are running and I play attention to what Coach Williams is telling me to do.
Q: How do you get mentally prepared for a game? What's the process like?
Chandler: I'm a quiet guy. I don't really get hyped or anything like that. I sit back and listen to my music and just get in my zone.
Q: Are you ever nervous?
Chandler: I wouldn't say nervous. I sometimes get butterflies, but after the first hit I'm good.
Q: You played corner during your freshman season, and were moved to safety as a sophomore. What was that transition like? Had you always been a corner before that?
Chandler: I'd never played corner before coming out of high school I only played defense my senior year of high school. Before that, I was a running back. Playing corner was a big transition because I didn't know what to do and I didn't know coverages. I was just out here free, listening to Coach Williams and staying with my man. In high school, I played outside linebacker, so safety was definitely more natural.
Q: Away from football and school work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Chandler: Usually just go to the weight room, trying to get stronger. I also go out and run. If I'm not training or running, I like to play video games.
Q: What do you play?
Chandler: I play NFL 2K11.
Q: You drive an orange car. Did you have that before or after you decided to come to Campbell?
Chandler: I had a Chevy Caprice when I first got here, but I sold that. My orange car was actually green before I got it. I bought it, and then my grandmother surprised me and got it painted orange and put the orange Campbell sign on it and everything. It was a big surprise to me. It needs some work now though, and I think I'm going to have to sell it.
Q: What inspires you to do your best, not only in games, but every day in practice and in the weight room?
Chandler: I don't want to be out here for no reason. You come out here to do a job and you might as well give it your all and execute to the best of your ability.
Q: What are your aspirations after Campbell?
Chandler: My dream is to go to the NFL. I'd love to play professional football, whether that be here or overseas. If not, I'd like to being a strength and conditioning coach. I love lifting, learning about the body, and how it's supposed to work.