Question, BarkBoard.com: Coach Watts, how would you describe yourself as the Bulldogs’ new linebackers coach?
Answer, Bert Watts: One of the things I try to pride myself on is energy. Every day I try to bring energy to the guys and the staff and make sure I understand that those guys are a reflection of me. If you want to give one word to describe myself, it would be coach energy.
Q: What’s it been like to be here in Fresno so far?
A: It’s been great, I love the town. My wife and I and son, we were able to get used to it a little bit during the holiday break and get a feel for it. Really love the family community here and enjoying everybody supporting the Bulldogs.
Q: What was it like when Coach Tedford reached out to you?
A: I was able to work with Coach right after I got done playing. He gave me my start in the business as a graduate assistant coach. As I’ve been going through the years I’ve been fighting to try to get back with him for a long time. When we were able to connect and get this thing going, it was a real dream come true for myself and my family. We know how great Coach Tedford is as a head coach. We’ve experienced it. I’ve played under him, coached under him, so I know what he can do to a program. It’s awesome to be a part of it.
Q: How has the process gone with your new players?
A: It’s been gradual. Any time you come in and really don’t know anything about the guys - you didn’t recruit them, you don’t know their history, their backgrounds - it takes time. We just started out sitting down and talking, finding out about their lives, their family, what makes them tick a little bit, before we could even get into football. Now as we’re getting more into the football side of it, now I can feel their identities on the football field, which is different. Everybody has got kind of a different identity on the field. But it’s a great group. It’s a veteran group that really brings a lot of focus and passion everyday.
Q: What’s your goal for the linebackers this spring?
A: Our goal all the time is to be the best at everything we do - as players, as people, as students. It all starts there. As far as spring goes, we want to make sure we’re taking it day by day and getting better every single day. We want to make sure we’re picking something every single day and improving, so once we get to the end of those 15 practices, that we’ve got something built. Something that will take us into the trajectory we want to go to.
Q: There’s a familiar face working with you - Travis Brown. How’s that going?
A: It’s been great. Travis is a really bright guy, obviously being experienced in being around the tradition here. He’s my right-hand man. He helps me in every decision I make - he’s right there to help give me advice and steer me in the right way.
Q: How has recruiting gone here for you so far?
A: It’s been exciting to see how many recruits are excited about this program. As we reach out and we get in touch with guys and see their response, there’s a lot of young players out there, not just in the Valley, but everywhere in California, that are excited about the Bulldogs - that want to be a part of this group and are coming up to visit and spend time with us.
Q: What are the ideal attributes of a future Bulldog linebacker?
A: The future of Bulldogs linebackers is No. 1, we’re going to be physical players no matter what we do. We’re going to play as hard as we can no matter what.
Q: What are the key principles you coach your players?
A: We want to be the best people, the best students and the best players. We don’t believe you have to sacrifice one for the other. Our goal is to be great at everything. When we walk into a room and we ask how the guys are doing, my expectation is that their response is ‘great.’ There’s no good, we want to be great, and if you don’t feel great, find a way to feel great.