Watts Lost for the Season
He joins cornerback Bryan Baldwin as another key component to the defensive secondary now out with injury.
Watts was leading the team in interceptions after eight games with three picks. He blocked his first career punt and had the game-clinching interception against Oklahoma State. He has forced two fumbles while making 19 total tackles and two sacks.
Watts has been an integral part of the punt coverage team, as he and wide receiver Yamon Figurs were the two gunners (the two players who run down and try to make the initial tackle on the punt returner).
Running back James Johnson has asked coach Ron Prince if he can be the new gunner in place of Watts, and Prince said he would give him a shot at the position. Andrew Erker started the first four games of the season at free safety, and will return to those duties now that Watts is out.
On a good note, many of the players seemed upbeat about how practice has gone so far this week. Here are what they all had to say at the press conference.
Coach Ron Prince on the impact of Watts' injury
"Marcus didn't have a whole lot to prove to me because it didn't take me long to figure out he had a very good resume, he's a playmaker, and he's done very well. The fumbles, the interceptions and all that kind of stuff, those are statistical things that are easy to see.
It's really the hidden things like how dominant he and Yamon have been on the punt team. We've punted the ball more than we've liked to, but what's happened in most games is, defensively, we've been in pretty good situations because of the punt unit. Yamon and Marcus have been able to, basically, down the ball wherever it gets caught. He's so savvy and so aware; he has a very good spatial awareness of what's happening around him.
Defensive end Ian Campbell on the loss of Watts
"It's a big loss to the team. Marcus is definitely an impact guy. It's very tough to lose a guy like that. He not only does great things out on the field, but he's a very smart and intelligent guy that helps a lot of the other players. Hopefully we don't lose that from him – he'll be able to hang around and help the other guys progress along."
Defensive tackle Quintin Echols on two underachieving teams (K-State and Iowa State) facing each other this weekend
"You could say it's a 'dog game,' but not in a negative sense. It's two teams right now that are not going to give up.
There are a lot of people saying we're underachieving and they're underachieving, so if you want to call it a dog game, look at it as a dog game because we're going to fight. Football is football, and you can be down one minute and be up the next."
Defensive end Rob Jackson on if the season goals have changed
"The goals haven't really changed. We've wanted to get into a bowl game and we still have a chance of doing that, and that's what we look forward to doing."
Quarterback Josh Freeman on what he needs to improve on after watching film
"I maybe need a little more patience. There were a couple of times where I got off my first read a little too quick and he ended up being open. I need to work that out, and get the tempo with my receivers down a little better."
Linebacker Zach Diles on Monday's practice
"We had a good practice. I was just watching it on film; everybody was running around and the tempo was good. We just have to take it each game at a time and focus on Iowa State now."
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