Watts angry over lack of touchdowns

For Tide quarterback Tyler Watts, simple relief over winning Bama's first game of the season and breaking a six-game losing streak in the process was hardly his dominant emotion. Sitting in the breezeway outside the visiting team locker room afterwards, the junior quarterback acknowledged another feeling as well. <br><br> "I'm mad and angry. Absolutely. I'm angry at the way we performed in the red zone."

"I'm not angry at the way anybody else performed," Watts quickly added. "I want to make that very clear. I'm angry about the couple of mistakes that I made."

The 12-7 win over Vanderbilt notched Alabama's first SEC victory and Watts' third win as a starter. But though successful between the 20s for most of the day, time after time the Tide offense was forced to settle for field goal attempts. "Frustrated, angry--a little of both," was how Watts explained his feelings. "I'm frustrated that we couldn't stick it in there.

In first-quarter action, Watts calls the signals under center.

"But we feel for our defense. We really could have separated ourselves from (Vanderbilt) and put this thing away."

Sacks, overthrown passes, incompletions and a bad spot or two combined to stop Bama cold whenever the team got close. But Watts thinks the problem comes back to the players themselves. "We've got to just get down there and really bow our necks," he said. "We've got to cut out the mental errors. But mainly, it's just not being satisfied with anything but a touchdown."

And if the junior signal-caller has anything to say about it, Bama's touchdown-averse scoring performance will change.

Soon.

Watts explained; "I'll tell you what. Everybody on this offense--especially me--we've got a bad taste in our mouths right now as a result of not being able to stick it into the endzone."

There were times in the game when Alabama played conservatively on offense, throwing the ball away rather than risking an interception or taking a sack. "We never want to settle for a field goal," Watts explained. "But at the same time, boy it sure is nice having a good field goal kicker. Neal (Thomas) has done a great job. He has really done a great job for us.

"A field goal is better than nothing, but a touchdown is better than any of it."

Critics will note that Bama stayed with the pass more than necessary in the first half, as run after run picked up significant yardage between the tackles. But by the second half the Tide offense was exploiting that weakness regularly. Explained Watts; "Depending on what the defense gave us, that's the area that we were going to attack. They were really spreading it out, which gave us an advantage up the middle. So we took it.

"We weren't hesitant, and we were going to keep doing it until they stopped it."

Watts attempts a pass. The victory was Watts' first as a quarterback under Dennis Franchione.

Watts' passing numbers were 10-of-17 for 128 yards with no interceptions and no TDs. For the game Alabama rushed for 229 yards, but in a change from last week only 16 of those yards came from the Bama quarterback. "The game didn't call for (the option) this week," Watts explained. "The defense wouldn't allow it. I think their game plan was to contain us inside the tackles, and they did a good job of that.

"We want to attack whatever their weakness is, and we felt that it was up the middle. The O-Line did a great job of opening those holes for Ahmaad (Galloway), and he just ran hard."

In a move that will surely please the fans, Watts completed three passes to the tight ends, including a key 26-yarder to Theo Sanders that set up the winning field goal. "We got a couple of throws to the tight end," Watts said. "I tell you what; we need to use them. They're great athletes. If the defense is going to allow us to get them the ball for good yardage, then we need to take it.

"But you have to take what the defense gives. That's what our offense is based on, and I think that's how most offenses work. Take what the defense is giving you."

At the final gun, despite Bama's red-zone ineptitude and his personal frustrations, the Tide and its starting QB had come away with yet another ‘ugly' win over Vanderbilt. "I have no idea what it is. I really don't," Watts said ruefully. "I know that we would like to break that little streak, or whatever you call it, of them playing us so tough. But it's just one of those things. They play their type game.

"Give them a lot of credit. They played us hard."


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