Swift Watts coming out of blocks

From Doug Roberson:

Brandon Watts has started six games, yet teammates and coaches have no trouble deciding which play made by the outside linebacker is their favorite.

On fourth and four in Georgia Tech’s win last Saturday against Presbyterian, Watts chased down a receiver, stopping him one yard short of the first down.

“It showed everything about him, his smarts, his speed,” fellow outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu said. “He’s just so fast, he was on a beeline.”

There are actually lots to choose from, including a blocked field goal earlier in the game, because Watts has the size (6-2, 238) and speed to play in almost every defensive package and on most of the special teams. Watts has started a few games the past two years, but this may be the coming-out party for the redshirt junior. He leads the team in tackles (14), is tied for the lead in sacks (one), has the blocked kick and a pass breakup while playing every snap on defense through the season’s first seven quarters. Because of his versatility, he figures to feature in many packages in this week’s game against Virginia at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m very comfortable,” Watts said of being a starter and his role in coordinator Al Groh’s 3-4 defense. “I’m picking up on everything very well,” finishing with a soft, drawling “yeeeeah” that he uses to end most sentences.

Coach Paul Johnson said Watts may be the fastest player on the team in pads, an unofficial title usually reserved for a wide receiver or defensive back. Attaochu said Watts challenges him, but Attaochu, who is fast, won’t race him.

“There’s football speed and there’s track speed,” Johnson said. “He’s got football speed. He’s a really good starter and can go zero from 60 really fast.”

Watts won’t say how fast he is, only “I’m fast enough to catch whoever’s in front of me.” He says the speed comes from hard work and good genes. His mother ran track and his father played football in the Marines.

Watts’ favorite play this season didn’t come in a passing situation. He said his best came against Presbyterian on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. He used his speed to get up field and his strength to take on a blocker, forcing the running back to turn back inside where his teammates “cleaned him up” for a loss.

It’s fitting that Watts chose a running play because he said that’s what he expects to see a lot of from the Cavaliers on Saturday. Virginia ran over Georgia Tech last year, rushing for 272 yards in a 24-21 victory in Charlottesville, Va.

In addition to playing in the base defense against the Cavs, Watts will likely see time in Tech’s nickel packages, giving them the needed size to shed blockers if the Cavs try to switch things up by running in passing situations.

“They are very physical up front,” Watts said. “They have good athletes, good backs, nice receivers, nice tight ends. They are going to try to run the ball.”

Watts is far from a finished product. Groh said he wants to see him improve how he uses his hands and his coverage skills. But Groh said Watts has a good football acumen appreciates that his versatility allows him to be highlighted from almost anywhere on the field.

“He’s got a good pretty good feel for the game,” Groh said.

26 comments Add your comment

buzzy

September 13th, 2012
2:58 pm

GT Fan

September 13th, 2012
3:06 pm

Hope he becomes a game-breaking LB similar to ones AG coached at UVA. If opposing OC’s are having to gameplan for a player like what Watts is purported to be it only helps JA, and the DLine.

GTfan2012

September 13th, 2012
3:15 pm

So far the LBs are showing out this year in Al Groh’s 3-4. The 4 LBs in a 3-4 should be the leading tacklers. This week will tell us a lot about where this defense really is.

Tech Troll 13

September 13th, 2012
3:17 pm

I really like our linebacking corp. Nealy is solid and Days is going to be good along with JA this is a good set of linebackers.

crackbaby

September 13th, 2012
3:19 pm

#11 is definitely the new Sheriff in town. He’s all over the field disrupting the opposing offense.

crackbaby

September 13th, 2012
3:22 pm

Would like to think these LBs are carrying the torch for Julian Burnett. Kinda like we run a 3-5 out there. #40 brought it every day, every play.

GT Lee

September 13th, 2012
3:47 pm

I like Watts. He had no trouble taking down the VT quarterback on his sack.

909

September 13th, 2012
4:04 pm

Roberson ??

Aw sh** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Born2Buzz

September 13th, 2012
4:29 pm

Our LB talent is starting to kick in. Between Watts, Attachou and Hunt-Days, that’s some large dudes that can bring it. And with Gotsis and Kallon, our DL is starting to get some talent as well.

Speaking of which, did anyone notice Christopher Crenshaw last week. There is another DE that looks to be in the rotation.

Now if we can just get some safety play, that is where we are weak on D….uh, oh, I might have spurred WnE to rant.

chas_jacket

September 13th, 2012
6:46 pm

Love the LB’s this year even without JB. Our D should be dominant next year, although think we will miss Cross.

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
8:14 pm

@chas_jacket
cross, barnes, and sweeting graduate. With the talent on the team or redshirted we should/could be better.

Ol'JacketFan

September 13th, 2012
8:15 pm

It’s a collection of LBs that were recruited for the 3-4 and we’re beginning to see the results. All of them can run to the ball and deliver a load when they arrive. And ALL of them will be back next year :-)

BLT

September 13th, 2012
8:23 pm

GTAA, Mr. Watts! Whoops, GATA Mr. Watts! Nice write up Ken. Thank you and keep them coming!

Go Jackets! Beat the Wahoos!

chas_jacket

September 13th, 2012
8:25 pm

I have noticed that when the LB’s hit someone – including Logan Thomas at 260, they go down hard . This is the biggest difference I see this year on the D and it bodes well for the rest of the schedule. JH Days has missed a few plays but he is only going to get better and will be a star sooner rather than later.

BLT

September 13th, 2012
8:26 pm

Sorry, I’m taking some liberty with Erk’s quote. It still applies.

chas_jacket

September 13th, 2012
8:34 pm

Fuzzy , of the three you mentioned i think Cross is having a breakout year. Hope Kallon and Gotsis can fill the gap.

Assume you graduated in 78? I was recalling the game against Pitt to someone the other day when Tony Dorsett ran all over us and Pitt beat us something like 42-7. I believe it was a Thursday night game – I should remember it because it was one of the few games I had a date. The ratio at Tech back then was pretty bad and I was broke without transportation so dates were few and far between!

South GA Jacket

September 13th, 2012
8:39 pm

He “can go zero from 60 really fast.” Like running into a brick wall or something?

GTfan2012

September 13th, 2012
8:40 pm

chas_jacket,
Don’t tell us that your story ends with you marrying that girl :)

chas_jacket

September 13th, 2012
8:43 pm

Nope – married a Gator later in life. Just celebrated our 31st so things turned out well.

Ol'JacketFan

September 13th, 2012
9:11 pm

The young D lineman (Kallon, Gotsis, Gamble & Chungong this year’s freshmen, Commissiong, Robbins & Akin 2013) coming into the pipeline are ones to look forward to as well. A year in weight room for Gamble & Chungong and a year of practice and film for Kallon bode well for the future.

1 4 GT

September 13th, 2012
9:40 pm

You will see the “International Wrecking Crew” in 2013!!!! GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

Jacket Time

September 13th, 2012
9:53 pm

Watts’ favorite play is occupying a blocker so his teamates can make a play. Love this team spirit!!!

Jacket Time

September 13th, 2012
10:09 pm

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 13th, 2012
10:28 pm

After this Saturday’s game I hope he has a bunch more good plays to choose from as his favorite! Go get ‘em BW!

juvenal

September 14th, 2012
9:17 am

always good to see your work, Doug-see we’re playing some pistol now? Gunners!!

www

September 14th, 2012
10:36 am

thanks for the article, doug.