LBs Ready for Spotlight

Nick Watkins says the missed assignments against A&M serves as motivation against Maryland.

What's the biggest difference in preparing for Maryland as opposed to Texas A&M?
Watkins: This week is just going to be straight up, hard-nosed football. Maryland has a good team. They are a running team. Last week was more of a perimeter game plan because you have to worry about the option and the quarterback. This week, they don't have a mobile quarterback like A&M did, but they have a nice running game. We just have to line up and play hard-nosed football. That's it

You are trying to get a conference win here this week, but now this game is also a divisional game as well. What do you think about that?
Watkins: Coach Bowden talked to us about that yesterday. He just used that as an example to help (motivate) us even more. We all know how important a game this is. It's a division game.

Can you see on film the things that you need to correct this week against Maryland.
Watkins: Most of the things that bothered us this week (during practice) were the missed assignments against Texas A&M. We did an alright job tackling. But the big thing were all the missed assignments. We gave up big plays because of those MAs. We have to cut down on those this weekend and we've been talking about that and working on that all week long.

How do you avoid a letdown this week after a big win? Some people think this is just like what you guys faced against Duke last year.
Watkins: Well really, this is a conference game, in order to get where we want to go - the ACC Championship game, we have to come out with a win Saturday. Maryland is in our conference. We shouldn't be flat. We are feeling good about the win last weekend, but we know we did a lot of things wrong and we know we can get a whole better. That's the thing, we know we can play better.

The coaching staff has talked about the fact that they were pleased with the defensive line last week, despite the big plays. Do you feel like the responsibility for those plays falls on the shoulders of the linebackers?
Watkins: Yeah, exactly. This week, Coach Blackwell was telling us, this is going to be the linebackers' game because they are more of a power I-formation team. So we're ready for that. The biggest thing for us is eliminating those missed assignments and we'll be okay.

You are from the New Orleans area, what have you heard about where you grew up?
Watkins: I have no idea. My mom and them, they haven't been back there (since the hurricane). I don't think they are going back now. They are probably moving to Atlanta sometime soon. She's in Baton Rouge right now.

What about your high school?
Watkins: It was in the same area where I grew up. I was thinking about that the other day, 'no more high school football.' It's just crazy. I can't even imagine how I would feel during my senior year if I couldn't play high school football. I got a lot of friends and family in New Orleans. I've spent my whole life down there. It's just hard to think about when you see everything on TV. I grew up in New Orleans.

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