Mississippi State head football coach Jackie Sherrill, the "Dean of the SEC" coaches, brought Watts aboard along with four other new staff members to put some bite back in the Bulldogs' game plan.
A history of employing a multi-dimensional offense, Watts said being "well balanced" will be one of the objectives of the Dogs who open the 2003 campaign at home against the Oregon Ducks at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
"We want to be an offense that is balanced," added Watts. "Does that mean out of 100 plays we'll pass 50 times and run 50 times? No!
"We may throw 70 and run 30 or we may run 70 and throw 30. We'd like to spread the field and give our kids the best chance to win," added Watts, a candidate for the nation's top assistant coach in 2001 at Michigan State.
Serving as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback tutor and interim head coach of the explosive and record-shattering Spartans before joining the Mississippi State staff, Watts took time over the weekend, even with National Signing Day on the horizon, to meet with members of the media joined by the four new assistants and other members of the staff.
The Dogs' highly-regarded offensive coordinator said he has a "high regard" for the entire Mississippi State staff.
"Jackie Sherrill has been successful wherever he's been," said Watts, a native of Seneca, Mo., and a running back at the University of Tulsa.
"I have great respect for Coach Sherrill," said Watts. "He had a lot of success at Pittsburgh and Texas A&M before coming to Mississippi State.
"I believe we have a talented staff here. It's exciting to watch this staff recruit and to enjoy being around each other," said Watts, who has also worked at the NFL level with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, still celebrating their exciting 2003 Super Bowl win at San Diego. One of the Bucs key defensive linemen is Ellis Wyms of Indianola Gentry who played on MSU's 1998 SEC Western Division champions.
An engaging personality, Watts has already had some extended meetings with fellow members of the staff, including a recent "skull session" with MSU's new offensive line coach Steve Campbell, who has put his stamp of approval on a few modes of attack as well.
It seems the duo decided to talk a little football during their first few days on the job in Starkville.
"We were right here in this room for six hours, talking philosophy and schemes and going back and forth to the chalk board," explained Watts, motioning to the board while seated at the head of a conference table in his office in the sparkling Bryan Athletic Administration Building, a magnificent showcase which houses Mississippi State University football.
"I'm very impressed with Steve (Campbell)," said Watts of the 2000 Division II National Coach of the Year at Delta State after leading the Greenies to the national title.
"I'm happy to have Steve on our side. I enjoy his enthusiasm for the game. I could just see Steve's eyes light up while we were talking about football. I first got to know Steve when I was at LSU and he was still in junior college. He would come over and talk ball with us a lot.
"Steve did a great job at Delta State winning a National Championship," noted Watts, who added he's excited about working with all the coaches on the MSU staff, all the newcomers, including Guy Holliday (wide receivers), Ron Cooper (defensive coordinator) and defensive line coach John Blake.
Before his last stint with the Spartans, Watts spent four years at LSU as offensive coordinator during which time the Bayou Bengals won back-to-back Southeastern Conference titles and became three of the highest-scoring teams in Tigers history.
Michigan State led the Big Ten in passing offense in 2001, a school-record 292.5 yards per game, and total offense, 447 yards per game, while ranking third in scoring offense, 31.2 points per game with Watts wearing the headset, with highly-touted quarterback Jeff Smoker directing the attack and with tailback T.J. Duckett carrying the pigskin.
Serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when he first went to Michigan State, the Spartans racked up a pair of Big 10 titles while compiling a 37-19-3 record from 1986-1990 and made four postseason bowl appearances under Watts, who has an outstanding resume and an even more sure-fire credentials.
A play selection icon, Watts has drawn up his share of dynamite "X & O" blueprints perhaps even rivaling the "Play Station 2" mindset.
Don Foster, a veteran newspaper writer who is the Sports Editor for the Starkville Daily News, writes a weekly article for Gene's Page.