Four-star rated out of N.C., Carlos Watkins’ playing time as a freshman was a mixed bag – on the field in nine games, playing just over 100 snaps. In shape and after a strong offseason, he now finds himself in DT coach Dan Brooks’ top rotation of five on the interior line. Camp so far in his words and more from the Tigers…
Breaking into the top rotation of DTs: It’s an ongoing rotation. I feel like we’re six-deep this year. Coach can plug in any of the d-tackles in and there’s no drop-off this year. There should be no fatigued guys this year (on the field).
Second year in the system: This year it’s a whole lot easier for me. Last year, I hit a wall and it was real tough last year. In the offseason, I worked hard and I don’t get as fatigued as easy. In camp, I can keep going and going.
Grady Jarrett and Stephone Anthony are ‘something special’: I’d say Stephone Anthony and Grady Jarrett (are the biggest influences). They’re right there. They are just great leaders. I look up to both of them because they’re great leaders. They always staying on me when I slack off. Those two guys are something special.
Playing as a freshman: That was a great learning experience. Just getting in the game and feeling the type of environment you’re in. Coming into this year, I know what to expect. It really was a great plus to get a little playing time.
Getting in shape: I’ve lost a lot of body fat and I actually move a lot quicker and can run longer so it’s a plus for me, especially going against our offense with such a high tempo. It should be really easy.
Secondary: The young guys are doing pretty good. They’re young and of course they’re going to make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. Just watching them play and the plays they’re making, especially against our great receivers – it’s really great to see that. All of them, there’s really no drop-off.
Thomas sticking at tackle
More tight end options (in light of Jordan Leggett's injury): (Mac Lain) can obviously do anything in our run game. He’s 300-plus. You look at a guy like (Patrick) DeStefano or somebody like that that’s very smart and knows our system in and out and moves well enough help you in the run game. Just need some depth at the position.
Tyler Shatley a ‘rock’ for Tigers’ o-line: I’m really proud of Tyler Shatley in particular. He has really become a rock for us. Brandon has been very solid. Last year he was kind of the new kid on the block. We looked at him like a leader, but he still had a lot to prove and figure out. Now, he’s very sure of himself and much more confident in his role, kind of like Dalton (Freeman) last year. I’m pleased with that whole group. Overall I think we’re going to have a group that’s going to compete on gameday and depth.
Confident in Cole: Cole is confident. He’s played. The guy’s been there and he’s a junior and he handles himself that way. He doesn’t flinch when he gets the opportunity. He knows what we’re doing. He has a real good understanding of our system and he’s a guy that I have a lot of confidence in. I know we can win with Cole.
Ryan Norton taking Dalton Freeman’s spot: It’s a little bit different because Dalton was a great leader and knew the offense. That’s a new thing trying to get a feel for Norton. I think we will with the right experience.
Tackle rotation, Isaiah Battle: He’s going back and forth between the 2s an 3s. They’re rotating tackles. We don’t really have a second and third team at tackle. I’m strictly left tackle. I’m comfortable (guard and tackle), but they’ve got me at left tackle. We’re all pushing each other. That’s the thing with this fall camp is we’re able to push each other.
Coach motivation: They’re trying to tell me all these things. It’s motivational. I know they’re not trying to hurt me, but it’s just to get me ready and I think it will help me along the way.
Team look and what he's working on: The team is looking really good. We're all getting kind of in a groove right now. Still trying to get better and better, but we're looking really good. I'm just working on the little things that I need to improve on: footwork, improving my chemistry with the receivers, just trying to get more grasp of the offense and be ready whenever I need to be ready.
Install process: We look at film pretty much every day. We have access with our iPads. We can meet together whenever and don't have to come to (the stadium). We can look at our installs, and on Georgia and our practices whenever we want.
What they're watching on tape: Just defense and coverages. Watch my footwork and watch my reads. There's a whole lot that goes into it. What play can we run out of (this formation). What reads am I making? Everyone's not perfect so you can improve on something every day. Perfection is always in front of you, but it's impossible to achieve. You just have to improve every day.